[op-ed snap] Spirit of Paris: on the climate change meet in Bonn

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Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Paris Agreement,  greenhouse gases (GHGs), Emissions Gap Report

Mains level: Climate change and its impacts


News

23rd conference of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change underway in Bonn

  1. The conference faces the challenge of raising the ambition of the world’s leaders and giving practical form to the provisions of the Paris Agreement
  2. The Agreement has a benchmark of raising $100 billion a year by 2020
  3. The Trump administration in the U.S., one of the top emitters of greenhouse gases (GHGs), has announced it will withdraw from the pact

Positives

  1. China, which has achieved rapid economic growth and leads in GHG emissions, is firmly behind the pact to reduce the risk of climate change
  2. There is steady progress in the growth of renewable energy sources as they become cheaper and the efficiency of solar, wind and energy storage technologies improves

Major risks from climate change

  1. Extreme weather phenomena
  2. Loss of agriculture
  3. Water stress
  4. Harm to human health
  5. For some countries, such as Fiji, and other small island-states, the future is deeply worrying because of the fear that sea levels may rise sharply due to climate change

What is needed now?

  1. The recent Emissions Gap Report from the UN underscores the terrible mismatch between the voluntary pledges made by countries for the Paris Agreement and what is necessary to keep a rise in global average temperature below 2º C
  2. All major countries, especially those that have depleted the global carbon budget by releasing massive amounts of GHGs since the Industrial Revolution, have to respond with stronger caps in their updated pledges under the Paris Agreement
Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols
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