From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : ‘Race to Zero’ campaign, Carbon offset
Mains level : Not Much
The UN has launched the “Race to Zero” campaign ahead of delayed COP 26 Climate Talks.
Possible question for prelims:
The ‘Race to Zero’ campaign often seen in news is related to zeroing: Global Hunger/Carbon Emission/HR violations/None of these.
‘Race to Zero’ campaign
- The campaign aims to codify commitments made via the Climate Ambition Alliance (CAA), which launched ahead of last year’s COP25 in Madrid.
- It encourages countries, companies, and other entities to deliver structured net-zero greenhouse-gas emission pledges by the time the talks begin.
- This messaging for the campaign — carried out under the aegis of the UNFCCC— seeks to emphasise the potential for non-state actors to raise climate ambition.
- The campaign refers to these as ‘real economy actors’, noting they “cover just over half the gross domestic product, a quarter of global CO2 emissions and over 2.6 billion people”.
About the Climate Ambition Alliance
- The CAA currently includes 120 nations and several other private players that have committed to achieving zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
- Signatories are responsible for 23 per cent of current greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide and 53 per cent of global GDP.
What Are the Criteria?
- The minimum criteria for establishing a recognized pledge were developed through dialogues coordinated by Oxford University.
- The pledges must include a clear net-zero target date no later than 2050, they must also begin immediately and include interim targets.
- Much like the Paris Agreement itself, the criteria are designed to strengthen over time, but they begin at a level that reflects current best practices.
Issue over offsetting
- Offsets are emission-reductions generated outside a company’s own operations, and they are used in both compliance programs to meet mandated emission caps (“cap and trade”) and involuntary programs to reduce a company’s overall impact (voluntary carbon markets).
- The Race to Zero criteria emphasizes that if offsets are ultimately recognized, they must only be used to neutralize residual emissions that can’t be eliminated internally – at least not immediately.