From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Emissions Gap
Mains level : IPCC Emissions Gap report
The UN’s Emissions Gap Report comes as a sharp warning to countries preparing to meet in Madrid in December.
- No more inaction – the report proves that every year of inaction is jeopardizing the main goal of the Paris Agreement: to keep the rise in global temperature over pre-industrial times below 2°C at 1.5°C.
- Emissions gap – the UN report estimates that there would have to be a 2.7% average annual cut in emissions from 2020 to 2030 for temperature rise to be contained at 2°C. The more ambitious 1.5° C target would require a 7.6% reduction.
- More risk for high emissions nations – countries with large emissions, such as the U.S., China, the European Union (EU) nations and India, will face more challenging demands if corrective measures to decarbonize are not implemented now.
Action on ground
- EU is considering an emergency declaration, and the British Parliament adopted a resolution earlier this year.
- If sufficient action is not taken, hundreds of millions of people could face extreme impacts.
- In the U.S., the Trump administration has initiated the process of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement.
- The EU is working on legislation to bring about net-zero emissions.
- The U.K., which is responsible for a large share of historical emissions, has turned its net-zero 2050 goal into a legal requirement.
Rich – poor divide
- Innovation – For these rich nations, the road to lower emissions is mainly through innovation and higher efficiencies in energy use.
- Development needs – China and India have to reconcile growing emissions with development needs.
- Innovations needed – They should scale up investments in renewable energy, leapfrog to clean technologies in buildings and transport, and greater carbon sequestration.
Role of India
UN report points out that India could do much more.
- Renewable – It needs to provide more consistent support for renewable energy.
- Coal – India should have a long-term plan to retire coal power plants.
- Other steps – enhance ambition on air quality, adopt an economy-wide green industrialization strategy, and expand mass transport.
- Buildings – the energy conservation code of 2018 needs to be implemented under close scrutiny.
India could use green technologies to galvanize its faltering economy, create new jobs and become a climate leader.
It represents the difference between current actions to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) and what is needed to meet the target.