From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : CoP, UNFCCC
Mains level : Paris Agreement
The UK will host the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference from October 31 to November 12.
Conference of Parties (CoP): A Backgrounder
- The CoP comes under the United Nations Climate Change Framework Convention (UNFCCC) which was formed in 1994.
- The UNFCCC was established to work towards “stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.”
- It laid out a list of responsibilities for the member states which included:
- Formulating measures to mitigate climate change
- Cooperating in preparing for adaptation to the impact of climate change
- Promoting education, training and public awareness related to climate change
- The UNFCCC has 198 parties including India, China and the USA. COP members have been meeting every year since 1995.
COP1 to COP25: Key takeaways
COP1: The first conference was held in 1995 in Berlin.
COP3: It was held in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997, the famous Kyoto Protocol (w.e.f. 2005) was adopted. It commits the member states to pursue limitation or reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
COP8: India hosted the eighth COP in 2002 in New Delhi. It laid out several measures including, ‘strengthening of technology transfer… in all relevant sectors, including energy, transport and R&D, and the strengthening of institutions for sustainable development.
COP21: it is one of the most important that took place in 2015, in Paris, France. Here countries agreed to work together to ‘limit global warming to well below 2, preferably at 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.’
Significance of COP26
- The event will see leaders from more than 190 countries, thousands of negotiators, researchers and citizens coming together to strengthen a global response to the threat of climate change.
- It is a pivotal movement for the world to come together and accelerate the climate action plan after the COVID pandemic.
According to the UNFCCC, COP26 will work towards four goals:
- Secure global net-zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach
- The UNFCCC recommends that countries ‘accelerate the phase-out of coal, curtail deforestation, speed up the switch to electric vehicles and encourage investment in renewables’ to meet this goal.
- Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats
- Countries will work together to ‘protect and restore ecosystems and build defences, warning systems and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives.’
- Mobilise finance
- To deliver on first two goals, developed countries must make good on their promise to mobilise at least $100bn in climate finance per year by 2020.
- Work together to deliver
- Another important task at the COP26 is to ‘finalise the Paris Rulebook’. Leaders will work together to frame a list of detailed rules that will help fulfil the Paris Agreement.
What India could do to reach its targets?
- Update NDCs: It is time for India to update its Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs. (NDCs detail the various efforts taken by each country to reduce the national emissions)
- Effective planning: Sector by sector plans are needed to bring about development. We need to decarbonise the electricity, transport sector and start looking at carbon per passenger mile.
- Energy transition: Aggressively figure out how to transition our coal sector
- Robust legal framework: India also needs to ramp up the legal and institutional framework of climate change.
Try answering this PYQ:
With reference to the Agreement at the UNFCCC Meeting in Paris in 2015, which of the following statements is/are correct?
- The Agreement was signed by all the member countries of the UN and it will go into effect in 2017.
- The Agreement aims to limit the greenhouse gas emissions so that the rise in average global temperature by the end of this century does not exceed 2 degree Centigrade or even 5 degree Centigrade above pre-industrial levels.
- Developed countries acknowledged their historical responsibility in global warming and committed to donate dollar 1000 billion a year from 2020 to help developing countries to cope with climate change.
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1 and 3 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Post your answers here.