Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

India to ratify High Seas Treaty

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: What is the High Seas Treaty?

Mains level: Comparison with the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change

Why in the News? 

India has chosen to endorse and formally adopt the High Seas Treaty, a global accord aimed at conserving and safeguarding biodiversity in the oceans.

  • This treaty is frequently linked to the 2015 Paris Agreement due to its extensive scope and potential influence.

What is the ‘High Seas Treaty’ agreement?

  • The agreement being referred to is the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) Agreement, also known as the High Seas Treaty.
  • Aim: To address the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, which constitute about 64% of the ocean surface.
  • Objective:  To establish a framework for governing activities in these high seas areas to ensure environmental protection, regulate resource extraction, and promote equitable sharing of benefits from marine genetic resources.
    • It operates within the framework of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and aims to strengthen international cooperation and governance for the preservation of marine biodiversity.

Significance of the Treaty:

  • Conservation of Marine Biodiversity: It covers a vast portion of the global ocean- these areas are crucial for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem functions that are vital for global marine health.
  • Governance and Regulation: The treaty establishes a framework for governing human activities in the high seas, such as fishing, mining, and bioprospecting. It seeks to regulate these activities to ensure they are sustainable and do not cause irreversible harm to marine ecosystems.
  • Global Environmental Protection: Similar to the Paris Agreement on climate change, the BBNJ Agreement represents a global effort to protect and manage resources that are essential for the well-being of present and future generations.
    • Addressing threats like overfishing and habitat destruction, it contributes to global efforts towards sustainable development and environmental conservation.
  • Equitable Sharing of Benefits: The treaty includes provisions such as pharmaceutical developments. This ensures that benefits derived from these resources are shared fairly among countries and communities, promoting global equity and access to valuable resources.
  • International Collaboration: It fosters international cooperation and collaboration in ocean governance.
    • By bringing together countries it strengthens the rule of law and promotes transparency and accountability in global ocean management.

Comparison with the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change

Dimensions  High Seas Treaty- Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) 2015 Paris Agreement 
Scope and Focus Marine biodiversity conservation in the case of BBNJ Focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate impacts
Legal Framework It integrates with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) Paris Agreement operates under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Approach to Governance Promotes governance structures that facilitate cooperation among nations to achieve common environmental goals. same
Implications for Global Cooperation Underscore the importance of multilateralism and collective action in addressing global environmental challenges. same

 

Conclusion: Need to establish robust mechanisms for implementing and monitoring the BBNJ Agreement at national and international levels. This includes setting up effective reporting systems, conducting regular assessments of biodiversity conservation measures, and ensuring compliance with regulations on resource extraction and marine genetic resources.

Mains PYQ: 

Q Describe the major outcomes of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). What are the commitments made by India in this conference? (UPSC IAS/2021)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

67th Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council meet

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: 67th Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council

Why in the News?

  • The 67th meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) was recently held in Washington DC. It concluded with the approval of $736.4 million in funding for 34 nature protection and renewal projects.

About Global Environment Facility (GEF) 

Details
Establishment
  • A pilot program in 1991 by the World Bank
  • Restructured after the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.
Objective Grants and blended finance for environmental projects
Funding
  • Over $1 billion annually; $22 billion grants to date
  • World Bank serves as the GEF Trustee
Replenishment $5.33 billion pledged for 2022-2026
Member Countries 184 countries
Main Governing Bodies
  • Assembly: Composed of all 184 member countries, meets every 3-4 years at ministerial level. Reviews policies, and operations, and approves amendments.
  • Council: Main governing body with 32 members from member countries (14 developed, 16 developing, 2 economies in transition). Meets biannually to develop policies, approve projects, and evaluate operations.
    • India, Bhutan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh have together formed a Permanent Constituency in the Executive Council of the GEF.
  • Secretariat: Based in Washington, D.C., reports to Council and Assembly, oversees project implementation and policy adherence.
  • STAP (Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel): Provides scientific advice on policies, strategies, and projects, consisting of six internationally recognized experts.
  • GEF IEO (Independent Evaluation Office): Reports to the Council, evaluates GEF’s impact and effectiveness, and shares best practices and lessons learned.
Operational Agencies 18 agencies including UNDP, UNEP, World Bank
Financial Mechanism for
  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (1994)
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (1991)
  • United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) (1994)
  • Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (2001)
  • Minamata Convention on Mercury (2013)
  • Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (1987)
Focus Areas Biodiversity, Climate Change (Mitigation & Adaptation), Chemicals & Waste, International Waters, Land Degradation, Sustainable Forest Management
Additional Initiatives Circular Economy, Capacity Development, Debt-for-Nature Swaps, Gender Equality, Indigenous Peoples

Outcomes of the 67th GEF Council Meeting

[1] Funding Approval:

  • A total of $736.4 million was approved for 34 projects worldwide.
  • These projects span various environmental sectors and include initiatives under the GEF Trust Fund, Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF), Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), and a Multi-Trust Fund project.

[2] GBFF Initiatives:

  • The GBFF approved its first work programme, allocating $37.8 million specifically for enhancing protected area management in Brazil and Mexico.
  • This initiative aims to support sustainable practices across more than 30 million hectares of protected areas, with a focus on indigenous-led conservation efforts.

[3] GEF Trust Fund Projects:

Several projects were funded under the GEF Trust Fund, including:

  1. Sustainable Cities Integrated Program.
  2. Initiatives targeting chemical and waste pollution in Bolivia’s cement, textile, brick, and glass sectors, as well as Brazil’s cement industry.

[4] Projects in India:

India secured funding for two significant projects:

  1. Enhancing biodiversity conservation to meet global targets, focusing on expanding protected areas and community-led conservation practices with a funding of $6.7 million.
  2. Conservation and sustainable management of wetlands, forests, and grasslands along the Central Asian Flyway, receiving $10.7 million.

[5] Global Impact and Targets:

  • Several projects aligned with the Global Biodiversity Framework’s 30X30 target (conservation of 30% of Earth’s land and sea by 2030), including initiatives in Argentina, Central Asia, and Namibia.
  • These projects aim to reduce ecosystem degradation, combat biodiversity loss, and strengthen protected area management.

[6] Future Plans (GEF-9):

  • The Council discussed plans for the ninth replenishment funding cycle (GEF-9) from 2026 to 2030.
  • This period aligns with global environmental goals and targets set under international agreements like the Biodiversity Plan.

PYQ:

[2014] With reference to ‘Global Environment Facility’, which of the following statements is/are correct?

(a) It serves as financial mechanism for ‘Convention on Biological Diversity’ and ‘United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’.

(b) It undertakes scientific research on environmental issues at global level.

(c) It is an agency under OECD to facilitate the transfer of technology and funds to underdeveloped countries with specific aim to protect their environment.

(d) Both (a) and (b).

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

The last continent must remain a pristine wilderness

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: 46th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM-46)

Mains level: Gaps in the Antarctics' Regulatory Framework

Why in the news?

The 46th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM-46), held in Kochi, Kerala last month, brought attention to the ongoing debate regarding Antarctic tourism.

Highlights of the 46th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM-46) in Kerala

  • Focus on Developing a Regulatory Framework: ATCM-46 emphasized the need for a comprehensive, flexible, and dynamic framework for regulating tourism and non-governmental activities in Antarctica. A new working group was established to lead this effort over the next year, highlighting a renewed commitment to addressing tourism challenges in the region.
  • Recognition of Environmental Concerns: The meeting acknowledged the significant environmental impacts of increasing tourism, including disruptions to wildlife, ecosystem damage, and pollution. There was a consensus on the urgency of mitigating these impacts through stronger regulatory measures and enhanced monitoring programs.
  • India’s Proactive Stance: India played a crucial role in emphasizing the importance of monitoring tourism impacts on Antarctic research, conservation, and the environment. India supported measures against constructing tourism-related structures with significant environmental impacts and showcased its commitment by enacting its own Antarctic Law in 2022 to regulate activities and protect the Antarctic environment.

Gaps in the Regulatory Framework

  • Lack of Specific Regulations: The current governance framework for Antarctic tourism is fragmented and lacks specific regulations. The Antarctic Treaty (1961) prioritises peaceful use and scientific research, while the Madrid Protocol offers broad environmental guidelines but lacks detailed tourism regulations.
  • Self-Regulation by IAATO: The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), a self-regulatory industry body, is primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of tourism. Many believe that IAATO’s guidelines are inadequate to address the growing environmental pressures.
  • Consensus Rule Limitations: The requirement for unanimous agreement from all consultative parties often slows down decision-making and allows national interests to impede progress. This has resulted in non-binding guidelines rather than comprehensive regulation.
  • Failed to make consensus on tourism: Discussions on tourism regulation have been ongoing since the 1960s. A proposed tourism annexe in 1991 failed to gain consensus, leading to the current reliance on IAATO’s self-regulation. Despite the increasing frequency of discussions since a 2004 expert meeting, comprehensive regulation has remained elusive.

India’s Stand on Tourism Issues

  • Emphasis on Monitoring: India has consistently emphasised the importance of monitoring the impacts of tourism on Antarctic research, conservation, and the environment. This was highlighted at ATCM 44 (2022) and reinforced at ATCM-46.
  • Opposition to Environmental Impact: India supported Resolution 5 (2022), which advised against building tourism-related structures with significant environmental impacts. This stance reflects India’s commitment to minimising the environmental footprint of tourism in Antarctica.
  • Call for Comprehensive Debate: Between ATCM 44 and ATCM 45, India continued to call for a comprehensive debate on Antarctic tourism, stressing the need for governance action.
  • Enactment of Antarctic Law: Despite the lack of international consensus, India took proactive steps by enacting its own Antarctic Law in 2022. This law aims to regulate activities and safeguard the Antarctic environment from the impacts of tourism.
  • Focus on Sustainable Future: At ATCM-46, India advocated for a multi-pronged approach to ensure a sustainable future for Antarctic tourism. This includes strengthening environmental protection, implementing robust monitoring programs, and fostering international cooperation to preserve Antarctica’s pristine wilderness.

Conclusion: Countries need to work together to create a robust international regulatory framework that addresses the unique challenges of Antarctic tourism. This involves building on the efforts initiated at ATCM-46 and ensuring that the newly established working group develops comprehensive, binding regulations that all parties can agree upon and implement.

Mains PYQ:

Q The states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are reaching the limits of econological carrying capacity due to tourism. Critically evaluate.(UPSC IAS/2015)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

EU Environmental Council adopts nature restoration law in historic win for continent’s environment

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Nature Restoration Law (NRL)

Mains level: About the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030

Why in the news?

On June 17, 2024, the EU Environmental Council approved the Nature Restoration Law (NRL), marking a significant victory for environmental conservation across the continent.

Nature Restoration Law (NRL):

  • Objective and Scope: The NRL aims to restore and preserve biodiversity and ecosystem health across Europe. It targets a wide range of habitats including terrestrial, coastal, freshwater, forest, agricultural, and urban areas. Specific ecosystems such as wetlands, grasslands, forests, rivers, lakes, and marine environments like seagrass beds and coral reefs are covered.
  • Targets and Timelines: Member states are required to restore at least 20% of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030. This includes all ecosystems identified as in need of restoration. The law sets a longer-term goal for the complete restoration of all degraded ecosystems in Europe by 2050.

About the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030

Objective:

  • The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 aims to halt biodiversity loss and restore ecosystems across Europe. It sets ambitious targets to ensure that biodiversity is conserved, valued, and restored for its intrinsic value and for the benefits it provides to people and the planet.

Targets and Actions:

  • The strategy includes specific targets for 2030, such as protecting at least 30% of EU land and sea areas, with 10% under strict protection, restoring degraded ecosystems, and integrating biodiversity considerations into agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and urban planning.
  • It emphasizes the importance of promoting green infrastructure, sustainable land use, and enhancing ecosystem services to support biodiversity.

Policy Instruments and Implementation:

  • The strategy integrates biodiversity considerations into key EU policies and sectors, including agriculture, fisheries, forestry, climate action, and regional development.
  • It encourages the use of innovative financing mechanisms, partnerships with stakeholders, and international cooperation to achieve its goals.

Monitoring and Review:

  • The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 includes a robust monitoring framework to track progress towards its targets and assess the effectiveness of actions taken.
  • Regular reviews and updates are planned to ensure that the strategy remains relevant and adaptive to new challenges and scientific knowledge..

Challenges in Nature Restoration Law (NRL)

  • Implementation Complexity: One of the primary challenges is the complexity of implementing the NRL across diverse ecosystems and landscapes within EU member states. Each country may have varying capacities, resources, and existing environmental conditions, making uniform implementation challenging.
  • Cost and Funding Requirements: Restoring 20% of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030 requires significant financial resources. The NRL involves costs related to restoration projects, monitoring, enforcement, and stakeholder engagement. Securing adequate funding and ensuring sustained financial support over the long term is crucial but challenging.

Conclusion: Create dedicated funding mechanisms or expand existing EU funds specifically for biodiversity restoration under the NRL. This could include grants, subsidies, and low-interest loans tailored to support restoration projects across member states.

Mains PYQ:

Q Environmental Impact Assessment studies are increasingly undertaken before a project is cleared by the Government. Discuss the environmental impacts of coal-fired thermal plants located at coal pitheads. (UPSC IAS/2014)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

A push for more Climate Action

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS)

Mains level: New Elements in the ITLOS Advisory Opinion on Climate Change

Why in the news?

On May 21, 2024, ITLOS issued an advisory opinion for COSIS, clarifying UNCLOS obligations for climate change mitigation and marine pollution control.”

About International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS)

  • The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) is an independent judicial body established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to adjudicate disputes arising out of the interpretation and application of the Convention. 

Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law (COSIS)

  • It was established in 2021. COSIS was formed as an association of small island states, which are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. COSIS aims to address and mitigate the unique challenges that small island states face due to climate change.
  • It seeks to leverage international law to advocate for stronger climate action and protection measures.

New Elements in the ITLOS Advisory Opinion on Climate Change

  • Broad Interpretation of Obligations: The ITLOS extended its interpretation of obligations under UNCLOS to include not just parties to the COSIS Agreement but all states, emphasizing that climate change mitigation responsibilities apply universally.
  • Recognition of GHG Emissions as Marine Pollution: The Tribunal explicitly recognized anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, especially carbon dioxide, as a form of marine pollution under Article 194(1) of UNCLOS, necessitating measures to prevent, reduce, and control these emissions.
  • Adoption of the 1.5°C Temperature Goal: The Opinion aligned necessary climate actions with the more ambitious 1.5°C global temperature goal, reflecting the latest scientific consensus and international climate commitments, thus raising the standard for state obligations under UNCLOS.

Legal Significance

  • Principle of Prevention and Collective Interest: The Opinion embraces the principle of prevention, typically applied bilaterally, in a collective context for addressing climate change.
  • Stringent Due Diligence Obligation: The ITLOS describes the obligation to take necessary measures to mitigate climate change as a due diligence obligation. However, the standard of conduct is stringent due to the high risks of serious and irreversible harm to the marine environment from GHG emissions.
  • General Obligation to Mitigate Climate Change: While the Opinion outlines a general obligation under Article 194(1) of the UNCLOS, it is somewhat general in nature, allowing for measures that gradually reduce GHG emissions over time. This underscores that states do not have unrestricted discretion in their climate actions.
  • Equity and State Capabilities: The Opinion incorporates the principle of equity, recognizing that the necessary measures for GHG reduction are subject to states’ means and capabilities. This acknowledges differences in states’ capacities to address climate change and ensures that obligations are realistic and fair.
  • Political Influence Despite Lack of Legal Force: Although the advisory opinion lacks binding legal force, it holds substantial political influence as an authoritative judicial pronouncement. This can guide future legal interpretations and state actions in international climate change law.

Conclusion: ITLOS plays a critical role in the interpretation and application of the law of the sea, providing a judicial forum for resolving maritime disputes and offering authoritative guidance on emerging global issues like climate change. The recent advisory opinion underscores the Tribunal’s capacity to address complex and pressing environmental challenges, contributing to the evolving landscape of international environmental law.

Mains PYQ:

Q Describe the major outcomes of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). What are the commitments made by India in this conference? (UPSC IAS/2021)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Bonn Climate Conference 2024: 3rd Glasgow dialogue flags need for loss & damage cooperation

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Glasgow Dialogue

Mains level: Key highlights of the Conference

Why in the News?

This week, the Third Glasgow Dialogue on Loss and Damage occurred during the 60th Session of the Subsidiary Bodies (SB60) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bonn, Germany.

Key highlights of the Conference:

  • Dialogue on Loss and Damage (L&D): The conference focused on discussions around the mechanisms under the UNFCCC, including the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage (SNLD), the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM), and the recently operationalized Loss and Damage Fund (LDF).
The SNLD was established at COP25 in 2019 to catalyze technical assistance for developing countries in implementing approaches for averting, minimizing, and addressing loss and damage

The WIM was established at COP19 in 2013 to promote approaches for averting, minimizing, and addressing loss and damage associated with climate change impacts

The LDF was operationalized at COP27 in 2022 to provide financial support to developing countries for averting, minimizing, and addressing loss and damage

  • Progress in Mechanisms: The co-chairs of each mechanism highlighted the progress made in addressing L&D in the UNFCCC negotiations. This includes positive steps taken in forming the Board of the LDF and formalizing its institutional arrangements and additional rules.
  • Global South Concerns: Countries from the Global South, including the African Group of Negotiators (AGN), the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), and the Arab Group, emphasized the growing cases of L&D in developing nations. There were calls for better cooperation and coordination between countries and mechanisms to address L&D more effectively.
African Group of Negotiators (AGN): It is a coalition of African countries that work together to coordinate their positions and negotiate on various international issues, such as climate change, sustainable development, and human rights.

Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS): It is a coalition of small island developing states that work together to address common challenges and promote their interests in international forums.

Arab Group: It is a coalition of Arab states that work together to promote their collective interests and coordinate their positions on various international issues.

  • Need for Clarity and Coordination: There were calls for a clear relationship between the SNLD, WIM, and LDF, as they each continue to have separate discussions despite having the same goal of addressing L&D. Coordination between these mechanisms would address gaps and improve resource mobilization for developing nations.

About Article 6 and its structural mandate:

  • Article 6 of the UNFCCC deals with cooperative approaches for the implementation of climate action. It provides a framework for international cooperation in areas such as emissions trading, sustainable development, and the transfer of mitigation outcomes. 
  • The structural mandate of Article 6 aims to facilitate cooperation between countries to enhance climate action and achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  • Article 6.2: Authorisation is the formal approval process where emission reductions (Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes or ITMOs) are sanctioned by the host country for transfer to another country.
  • Article 6.4 of the Paris Agreement focuses on operationalising market mechanisms for emission reduction units (6.4ERs), addressing issues like authorisation, carbon removal activities, and the role of the supervisory body in developing market procedures.

Key Goals and Objectives:

  • Raised Ambition: International cooperation under Article 6 aims to raise ambition by enabling countries to achieve more ambitious emission reduction targets.
  • Supporting Sustainable Development: The cooperation mechanisms must support sustainable development, addressing not only climate change but also other sustainability issues.
  • Ensuring Environmental Integrity: The mechanisms must ensure environmental integrity by preventing emission reductions from being counted more than once and ensuring that countries do not circumvent their climate action efforts

Way Forward:

  • Clarity and Coordination: There is a need for clarity on the framework of L&D as a whole, with a defined relationship between its key mechanisms. This would ensure better coordination and cooperation in addressing L&D effectively.
  • Enhanced Technical Interventions: Countries emphasized the importance of technical interventions such as Early Warning Systems and timely provision of finance to improve responses to L&D. Implementing these interventions could minimize the impacts of extreme weather events and facilitate faster recovery.
  • Tailored Responses: Responses to L&D must be tailored to the unique contexts of each country, with individual vulnerability and needs assessments being a priority. This would ensure that assistance and support are provided where they are most needed.
  • Trigger-based Funding Mechanisms: Suggestions were made for trigger-based funding mechanisms or timeline-based provision of funds for countries facing devastating impacts and remaining most vulnerable. Such mechanisms would ensure timely and adequate support for those in need.

Mains PYQ:

Q Explain the purpose of the Green Grid Initiative launched at the World Leaders Summit of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November 2021. When was this idea first floated in the International Solar Alliance (ISA)? (UPSC IAS/2021)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: SIDS Mapping; Barbados Programme of Action (1994); Mauritius Strategy (2005); and SAMOA Pathway (2014)

Why in the News?

The 4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS-4) is underway in Antigua and Barbuda.

What are Small Island Developing States (SIDS)?

  • SIDS encompass 39 States and 18 Associate Members of United Nations regional commissions, facing unique social, economic, and environmental vulnerabilities.
  • SIDS are situated across three regions:
  1. the Caribbean,
  2. the Pacific
  3. the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, and South China Sea (AIS).
  • Their distinctive challenges were acknowledged at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

SDGs supporting SIDS

  • Small island development states are mentioned in several of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • For example, Target 7 of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (“Life below Water“) states-

“By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism”.

Challenges Faced by SIDS:

  • Remote geography and reliance on external markets due to narrow resource bases contribute to high import/export costs.
  • Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), substantially larger than landmasses, provides vital resources but poses challenges like high transportation costs and vulnerability to economic shocks.

Biodiversity and Economic Significance:

  • Biodiversity sustains key industries like tourism and fisheries, often constituting over half of SIDS’ GDP.
  • Beyond economic benefits, biodiversity holds aesthetic and spiritual value, providing essential services like food supply, erosion prevention, and protection from natural disasters.

UN Programmes Supporting SIDS:

  • The Barbados Programme of Action (1994), Mauritius Strategy (2005), and Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway (2014) outline specific actions to achieve sustainable development and address gaps in implementation.
    • Barbados Programme of Action (1994): It prescribed actions enabling SIDS to achieve sustainable development.
    • Mauritius Strategy (2005): It addressed remaining gaps in implementing the Barbados Programme of Action.
    • SAMOA Pathway (2014): It emphasises challenges like climate change and biodiversity loss, outlining priorities for sustainable development.
  • These programmes underscore the ongoing commitment to supporting SIDS’ development and resilience.

Priority areas defined by SAMOA Pathway:

  1. Economic Growth: Promote sustainable, inclusive economic growth, sustainable consumption/production, and transportation.
  2. Climate Action: Mitigate climate change, and implement sustainable energy, and disaster risk reduction programs.
  3. Biodiversity Protection: Safeguard biodiversity, mitigate invasive species, manage chemicals/water, and protect oceans/seas.
  4. Human Health and Social Development: Enhance food security, and water/sanitation, reduce non-communicable diseases, and promote gender equity.
  5. Partnerships: Foster collaborations among SIDS, UN Agencies, development partners, and stakeholders to achieve sustainable development goals.

 

PYQ:

[2021] Describe the major outcomes of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). What are the commitments made by India in this conference?

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

[pib] 26th Meeting of the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP)  

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Climate Change; Madrid Protocol; Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP);

Mains level: NA

Why in the News? 

The 26th Meeting of the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP) is set to be held in Kochi, Kerala.

26th CEP Agenda

  • Review of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (the Madrid Protocol).
  • Evaluation of the effectiveness of existing Environmental Protection Measures.
  • Identification of areas for potential enhancement or amendment to strengthen environmental conservation efforts.

What is the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP?

    • It was formed as part of the Environmental Protocol (Madrid Protocol, 1991) to the Antarctic Treaty, which came into force in 1998.
    • Aim: To advice and formulate recommendations on environmental protection measures in the Antarctic region.
    • Composition: It consists of representatives from the consultative parties to the Antarctic Treaty, which includes countries active in Antarctic research and governance.
  • Functions:

  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA): The CEP oversees the EIA process for activities conducted in the Antarctic region to ensure they minimize environmental impacts.
  • Site Inspections: It conducts inspections of Antarctic facilities and activities to verify compliance with environmental regulations.
  • Scientific Research: The CEP promotes scientific research on Antarctic ecosystems and advises on measures to conserve biodiversity.
  • Waste Management: It develops guidelines for waste management and pollution prevention in the Antarctic, aiming to minimize human impact on the environment.
  • Policy Formulation: The CEP formulates policies and guidelines related to environmental protection in the Antarctic Treaty.

Back2Basics:  Madrid Protocol, 1991

  • The Madrid Protocol refers to the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.
  • It is an international agreement that was adopted in 1991 and entered into force in 1998.
  • Key aspects of the Madrid Protocol include:
  1. Environmental Principles: The Protocol outlines principles for the protection of the Antarctic environment, including the conservation of living resources, the prevention of pollution, and the protection of wilderness and scientific values.
  2. Designation of Protected Areas: It designates certain areas of Antarctica as specially protected areas (SPAs) and sites of special scientific interest (SSSI), where specific environmental protection measures apply to safeguard their ecological, scientific, and aesthetic values.
  3. Waste Management: It establishes guidelines and regulations for waste management and pollution prevention in Antarctica, aiming to minimize human impact on the environment and prevent pollution of the Antarctic ecosystem.
  4. Prohibition of Mineral Resource Activities: The Protocol prohibits all mineral resource activities, including exploration and exploitation, in Antarctica. This provision aims to preserve the pristine and fragile nature of the Antarctic environment and prevent the potential environmental damage associated with mineral extraction.
  5. Consultative Mechanisms: The Protocol establishes mechanisms for consultation and cooperation. This includes the CEP, which provides advice and recommendations on environmental matters to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM).

 

PYQs:

[2021] How do the melting of the Arctic ice and glaciers of the Antarctic differently affect the weather patterns and human activities on the Earth? Explain.

[2011] The formation of ozone hole in the Antarctic region has been a cause of concern. What could be the reason for the formation of this hole?

(a) Presence of prominent tropospheric turbulence; and inflow of chlorofluorocarbons.

(b) Presence of prominent polar front and stratospheric clouds; and inflow of chlorofluorocarbons.

(c) Absence of polar front and stratospheric clouds; and inflow of methane and chlorofluorocarbons.

(d) Increased temperature at polar region due to global warming.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

What is the New Collective Quantitative Goal?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Climate Change; New Collective Quantitative Goal; Evolutions in Global Climate Finances;

Mains level: NA

Why in the News?

At the upcoming COP29 in Baku in November this year, Azerbaijan, the primary discussion will center on the New Collective Quantitative Goal (NCQG) for climate finance.

Recent Climate Conferences and Decisions:

  • 2022 Sharm el-Sheikh Conference: A Loss and Damage Fund was established to assist developing countries in recovering from climate disasters.
  • Dubai Conference: The focus was on the Global Stocktake (GST) of climate actions, acknowledging the need to transition away from fossil fuels and tripling global renewable energy capacity by 2030.

What is the New Collective Quantitative Goal (NCQG)?

      • All the parties of the Paris Agreement participate and review the implementation of the Agreement and make decisions. CMA is held once a year.
  • This goal will start with a target of at least $100 billion per year, focusing on the requirements and priorities of developing countries.
  • It will replace the previous commitment of USD 100 billion per year that developed nations had pledged in 2009 but never delivered.

NCQG: A timeline

  • In 2009: The developed countries agreed to provide approximately $30 billion in ‘new and additional’ financial resources to developing countries from 2010 to 2012.
      • Additionally, these countries committed to collectively raising $100 billion annually by 2020 to support climate action in developing countries.
  • In 2015: It was decided to continue this collective goal of mobilizing $100 billion yearly by developed countries up to 2025.
  • A new climate finance target is to be set before 2025, maintaining at least $100 billion per year and considering the needs and priorities of developing countries. This is referred to as the NCQG or the new goal for post-2025.

Financial Requirements for Effective Climate Action:

  • Current Funding Gaps: The scale of annual climate finance has consistently fallen short of the $100 billion promised by developed countries.
  • Projected Needs: Developing countries require about $6 trillion annually until 2030 to implement their climate action plans, according to a 2021 UN Climate Change report. An updated version of this report is expected to raise this figure even higher.
  • Global Transition Costs: A global transition to a low-carbon economy is estimated to require about $4-6 trillion every year until 2050.
  • Renewable Energy Expansion: Tripling renewable energy capacity, as agreed in Dubai, is estimated to cost $30 trillion until 2030, per the International Renewable Energy Association (IRENA).

Prospects for Meeting Financial Targets:

  • Realistic Expectations: Discussions are ongoing, with India suggesting a target of at least $1 trillion per year, primarily through grants and concessional finance.
  • Challenges: Developed countries have historically fallen short of even lesser goals, and achieving trillions in finance is seen as ambitious.

Back2Basics: Global Initiatives for Financing Climate Action

Established Purpose How it Works
Green Climate Fund (GCF) 2010 To support developing countries in adaptation and mitigation to counter climate change. Mobilizes funding from developed to developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance climate resilience. Operates under the UNFCCC financial mechanism.
Global Environment Facility (GEF) 1991 To tackle global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development. Provides grants for projects related to environmental conventions (biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, ozone layer, organic pollutants). Functions as a financial mechanism for multiple conventions including the UNFCCC.
Climate Investment Funds (CIF) 2008 To bridge funding and learning gaps for cleaner technology transformations. Offers scaled-up financing to middle-income countries to initiate cleaner technology transformations. Includes funds like the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) and the Strategic Climate Fund (SCF).
Adaptation Fund 2001 To finance concrete adaptation projects in developing countries party to the Kyoto Protocol. Financed by a share of proceeds from CDM project activities, it supports concrete adaptation projects in vulnerable communities.
Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) 2001 To finance projects in adaptation, technology transfer, and various management sectors. Managed by the GEF, supports projects in sectors not directly funded through other funds such as energy, transport, and waste management.
Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) 2001 To support the least developed countries (LDCs) in their climate change initiatives. Finances the preparation and implementation of National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) which identify priority activities for LDCs to adapt to climate change.
Carbon Pricing Mechanisms NA To internalize the cost of GHG emissions, incentivizing emission reductions. Involves setting a price on carbon emissions either through carbon taxes or emissions trading schemes (ETS), encouraging businesses to reduce emissions.
Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) Partnership 2016 To enhance cooperation to achieve NDC goals under the Paris Agreement. Facilitates technical and financial support to help countries implement and enhance their NDC commitments for reducing emissions.

 

PYQ:

[2016] With reference to the Agreement at the UNFCCC Meeting in Paris in 2015, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. The Agreement was signed by all the member countries of the UN, and it will go into effect in 2017.
  2. 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 2ºC or even 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels.
  3. Developed countries acknowledged their historical responsibility in global warming and committed to donate $ 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

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4) Meeting in Ottawa

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

  • The fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4) is happening in Ottawa, Canada.
  • The goal is to finalize a global agreement on plastic pollution by November this year.

What is the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC)?

  • INC is a committee that aims to develop a legally binding international instrument to end plastic pollution by 2025, as mandated by United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) Resolution 5/14.
  • It began working in November 2022 at Punta del Este, Uruguay (INC-1).
    • The second meeting (INC-2) took place in May-June, 2023 at Paris, France.
    • The INC-3 met in Nairobi in December 2023.
  • INC is scheduled to complete its work by the end of 2024.

Key Points from INC-4:

  • Previous meetings (INC-1, INC-2, INC-3) paved the way for this one.
  • They’re focusing on cutting out unnecessary plastic use while still using it for important things like renewable energy.

Future Prospects:

  • INC-5 will happen in Busan, South Korea, and it’s meant to finalize everything.
  • After that, leaders from different countries will sign the agreement.

 

PYQ:

[2014] With reference to ‘Global Environment Facility’, which of the following statements is/are correct?

(a) It serves as financial mechanism for ‘Convention on Biological Diversity’ and ‘United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’

(b) It undertakes scientific research on environmental issues at global level

(c) It is an agency under OECD to facilitate the transfer of technology and funds to underdeveloped countries with specific aim to protect their environment.

(d) Both A and B

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

  • The recent gathering of major funders and promoters of the carbon offsets market in London raised concerns about the role of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) in limiting the market’s growth.
  • SBTi’s stringent criteria for net-zero plans have made it a gold standard in emissions accountability, but some argue it hinders the potential of carbon offsets in combating climate change.

What is Carbon Offset?

  • A carbon offset broadly refers to a reduction in GHG emissions – or an increase in carbon storage (e.g., through land restoration or the planting of trees) – that is used to compensate for emissions that occur elsewhere.
  • A carbon offset credit is a transferrable instrument certified by governments or independent certification bodies to represent an emission reduction of one metric tonne of CO2, or an equivalent amount of other GHGs.

What is Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)?

  • The SBTi is a collaborative effort spearheaded by four international organizations:
  1. Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP),
  2. United Nations Global Compact (UNGC),
  3. World Resources Institute (WRI), and
  4. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
  • The SBTi focuses on assisting companies in setting ambitious and scientifically sound greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets.
Details
Purpose To drive ambitious corporate action on climate change by providing a framework for setting science-based targets aligned with the Paris Agreement goals.
Launch Year 2015
Founding Organizations
  1. Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP),
  2. United Nations Global Compact (UNGC),
  3. World Resources Institute (WRI), and
  4. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Methodologies SBTi offers guidelines and methodologies for companies to set targets that are consistent with the latest climate science and contribute to limiting global warming.
Global Reach Engages with companies worldwide, collaborating with partners across sectors, regions, and industries to promote adoption of science-based targets.
Recognition
  • Recognized as a leading platform for corporate climate action;
  • Companies comply to set science-based targets and reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Updates and refines its methodologies and verification processes to reflect advances in climate science and best practices in emissions reduction.

 

PYQ:

[2021] The ‘Common Carbon Metric’, Supported by UNEP, had been developed for:

(a) Assessing the carbon footprint of building operations around the world.

(b) Enabling commercial farming entities around the world to enter carbon emission trading.

(c) Enabling governments to assess the overall carbon footprint caused by their countries.

(d) Assessing the overall carbon footprint caused by the use of fossil fuels by the world in a unit time.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

How much should developed countries pay for climate action?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: New Collective Quantitative Goal (NCQG)

Mains level: money is required to ensure effective climate action?

Why in the news? 

As the climate bomb ticks, Global Climate negotiators are working on a new global climate finance budget ahead of COP29 in Baku this November.
  • In 2009, developed countries committed to paying $100 bn every year. However, they failed to do so.

Context:

  • The 2022 climate change conference (COP 28) held in Sharm el-Sheikh decided to establish a Loss and Damage Fund
  • These funds would work as a “transition away” from fossil fuels, and a promise to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030.
  • On March 22, a two-day meeting was concluded in Copenhagen, Denmark, the first minister-level climate meeting for this year, and a ‘New Collective Quantitative Goalwas finalized.

What is the New Collective Quantitative Goal (NCQG)?

  • NCQG represents the yearly sum that developed countries must gather from 2025 onward to finance climate action in developing nations.
  • It has to be higher than the $100 billion that developed countries, collectively, had promised to raise every year from 2020, but had failed to deliver.

 

Collective Funds need to ensure effective Climate Action:

  • UN Climate Change Report (2021): According to a report by UN Climate Change, developing countries would need approximately $6 trillion annually between 2021 and 2030 to implement their climate action plans.
  • Estimation in Sharm el-Sheikh Agreement: The final agreement at Sharm el-Sheikh included estimates suggesting that a global transition to a low-carbon economy could require about $4-6 trillion annually until 2050.
  • Global GDP Percentage: While these estimates vary, an approximate range of $5-7 trillion annually is suggested to effectively address climate change. This would require deploying about 5-7% of the global GDP towards climate action.
  • Renewable Energy Capacity: Meeting the target of tripling renewable energy capacity, as agreed in Dubai, is estimated to cost $30 trillion by 2030, according to the International Renewable Energy Association (IRENA).

Prospects for a Realistic New Annual Climate Finance Target:

  • Current Funding Shortfall: The UNFCCC, responsible for organizing climate meetings and facilitating the implementation of climate agreements, is facing a severe shortage of funds. Its budget is currently less than half funded, which hampers its ability to fulfill its mandate effectively.
  • Call for Increased Climate Finance: There is a call for developed countries to commit to significantly higher levels of climate finance. India, for instance, has called for the New Collective Quantitative Goal (NCQG) to be set at least at $1 trillion per year 
  • Need of Innovative Funding Sources: Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, emphasized the need for innovative funding sources to meet the substantial financial requirements for climate action.  
  • Dependence on Contributions: The UNFCCC relies heavily on contributions from countries and voluntary organizations to carry out its work. 

How will this money be used?

  • On-time Delivery: Ensuring effective delivery of the new funding is essential for achieving meaningful impact.
  • Transparent and Inclusive Monitoring: Developing countries emphasize the need for a transparent and inclusive process to monitor and measure the agreed-upon amount.  
  • Distribution Across Needs: The new funding is distributed across different climate action areas such as mitigation, adaptation, and addressing loss and damage as per need 

Conclusion: Developed countries must commit to higher climate finance, possibly $1 trillion annually, for effective action. Innovative funding sources and transparent monitoring are crucial for impactful distribution across climate action areas.


Mains PYQs

Clean energy is the order of the day.’ Describe briefly India’s changing policy towards climate change in various international fora in the context of geopolitics.(UPSC IAS/2022)

Q ‘Climate change’ is a global problem. How India will be affected by climate change? How Himalayan and coastal states of India will be affected by climate change? (UPSC IAS/2017)

 

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

IPEF: India to join US-led Co-operative Program on Carbon Market

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), Members and Agenda

Mains level: Carbon Trading Mechanism, Moves towards its Formalization

What is the news-

  • India has decided to participate in one of the four cooperative work programmes initiated under the ‘Clean energy pillar’ of the US-led Indo Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).
  • India will join the cooperative working group on carbon markets, with the Ministry of Power leading the initiative.

What are Carbon Markets?

 

  • Carbon markets, also known as emissions trading systems or cap-and-trade programs, are market-based mechanisms designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Article 6 of the Paris Agreement (2015) provides for the use of international carbon markets by countries to fulfil their Nationally Determined Contributions.
  • A regulatory authority, typically a government or regional organization, sets an overall limit or cap on the amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted by covered entities within a specific jurisdiction or sector.
  • Entities get permits for emissions. They can trade these permits with others.
  • Entities must have enough permits to cover their emissions. If they don’t, they buy more.

 What is the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)?

  • It is a US-led initiative that aims to strengthen economic partnerships among participating countries to enhance resilience, sustainability, inclusiveness, economic growth, fairness, and competitiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The IPEF was launched in 2021 with a dozen initial partners who together represent 40% of the world GDP.
  • The IPEF is NOT a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) but allows members to negotiate the parts they want to.

Four main “Pillars” of IPEF

 

  1. Trade that will include digital economy and emerging technology, labour commitments, the environment, trade facilitation, transparency and good regulatory practices, and corporate accountability, standards on cross-border data flow and data localisations;
  2. Supply chain resilience to develop “a first-of-its-kind supply chain agreement” that would anticipate and prevent disruptions;
  3. Clean energy and decarbonization will include agreements on “high-ambition commitments” such as renewable energy targets, carbon removal purchasing commitments, energy efficiency standards, and new measures to combat methane emissions; and
  4. Fair Economy Agreement, with commitments to enact and enforce “effective tax, anti-money laundering, anti-bribery schemes in line with [American] values”.

Members Countries include:

  • Currently, India and 13 countries other located in the Pacific Ocean are its members: Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, United States, and Vietnam.

How is IPEF different from other trade deals?

  • No market access or tariff reductions have been outlined in the IPEF, although experts say it can pave the way to trade deals.
  • It’s not a take-it-or-leave-it arrangement, like most multilateral trade deals are.
  • Since the IPEF is not a regular trade pact, the members so far are not obligated by all the four pillars despite being signatories.

PYQ:

Q.Regarding “carbon credits”, which one of the following statements is not correct? (2011)

  1. The carbon credit system was ratified in conjunction with the Kyoto Protocol
  2. Carbon credits are awarded to countries or groups that have reduced greenhouse gases below their emission quota
  3. The goal of the carbon credit system is to limit the increase of carbon dioxide emission
  4. Carbon credits are traded at a price fixed from time to time by the United Nations Environment Programme.

 

Practice MCQ:

Regarding the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), consider the following statements:

  1. It is a US-led initiative launched in 2021.
  2. It is basically a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
  3. India is not a member of IPEF.

How many of the given statements is/are correct?

  1. One
  2. Two
  3. Three
  4. None

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Insights from UNEA-6

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: UNEA-6, Membership of UNEA

Mains level: NA

In the news

  • The Sixth Assembly session of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEA-6) was convened at its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • It focussed on the pivotal role of multilateralism in addressing the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.

Abut United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA)

Details
Purpose Highest-level decision-making body on environmental matters within the United Nations system.
Establishment Established in 2012 during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).
Frequency Typically convenes every two years in Nairobi, Kenya.
Membership Consists of all 193 UN Member States and representatives from observer countries and organizations.
Decision-Making Adopts resolutions and decisions on global environmental issues.

 

UNEA-6: Theme and Focus

  • Theme: Effective, inclusive, and sustainable multilateral actions to tackle climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.
  • Focus: Planning the role of multilateralism in shaping global environmental policy to combat the pressing challenges facing our planet.

Key Outcomes

[A] Environmental Multilateralism

  • High-Level Dialogues: UNEA-6 dedicated a day to discussing cooperation and convergence with multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), emphasizing effective implementation at both national and global levels.
  • Importance: MEAs play a critical role in addressing specific environmental issues at national, regional, and global levels, providing essential frameworks for international environmental governance.

[B] Energy Transition to Renewable Sources

  • Rapid Adoption of Renewable Energy: The session emphasized the need for three times the current renewable energy capacity by 2030 to foster a nature and people-positive planet.
  • Global Standards Development: Efforts are underway to establish globally acceptable standards for renewable energy, ensuring environmental sustainability and responsible sourcing of minerals.

[C] Plastic Pollution

  • Call for Action: Discussions centered on a legally binding treaty on plastic pollution, aiming to introduce strong reuse provisions and harmonize definitions of reuse and circularity.
  • Current Scenario: More than half of global plastic production comprises single-use plastics, with significant leakage into the environment.

[D] Role of Nature-Based Solutions

  • Potential: Nature-based solutions, including reforestation and land restoration, offer promising avenues to combat the climate crisis and restore biodiversity.
  • Financial Constraints: Despite their potential, nature-based solutions receive only a fraction of the required funding, highlighting the need for increased investment and innovative financing mechanisms.

Conclusion

  • As UNEA-6 unfolds, stakeholders worldwide are poised to collaborate and drive actionable solutions to safeguard our planet for future generations.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) by IPCC

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs)

Mains level: Read the attached story

In the news

  • This newscard is an excerpt from an original article published in the TIE.

What are Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs)?

  • The Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) were rolled out as part of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the IPCC in 2014.
  • These are basically emission scenarios that depict pathways of greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions resulting from human activities over time, crucial for climate modelling and forecasting.
  • These pathways were introduced to provide a consistent set of GHGs concentration trajectories for climate modelling and research purposes.
  • The RCPs were officially selected and defined based on their total radiative forcing levels in the year 2100.

These pathways describe various climate change scenarios based on the amount of greenhouse gases emitted.

  1. RCP 2.6: Limits global warming to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels while also attempting to keep ocean acidification under control. Greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced significantly compared to current levels.
  2. RCP 4.5: Reflects an intermediate scenario where emissions peak around 2040 and then gradually decrease. Global mean temperature rise is projected to reach approximately 2°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100.
  3. RCP 6: Stabilizes radiative forcing at 6 watts per square meter (W/m²) after 2100 following peaking around mid-century. It aims to achieve a lower level of global warming but does not exclude temporary overshoots beyond 2°C.
  4. RCP 8.5: Presents a high-emission scenario characterized by increasing radiative forcing throughout the century. By 2100, it results in a global mean temperature increase of over 4°C above pre-industrial levels.

Back2Basics: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Description
Establishment Established in 1988 by WMO and UNEP
Membership 195 member countries.
Objective Assess scientific info on human-induced climate change, impacts, and mitigation/adaptation options.
Main Activity Prepares assessment, special, and methodology reports, crucial for international climate negotiations.
Scientific Research Relies on global scientific community for literature review and conclusions.
Working Groups Comprises three groups:

  1. I (climate physics),
  2. II (impacts/adaptation), and
  3. III (mitigation)
Reports Each group issues reports, compiled into a synthesis report.

Try this PYQ from CSP 2018:

“Momentum for Change: Climate Neutral Now” is an initiative launched by:

(a) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

(b) UNEP Secretariat

(c) UNFCCC Secretariat

(d) World Meteorological Organisation

Post your answers here.
0
Please leave a feedback on thisx

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Cameroon adopts Nagoya Protocol

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Nagoya Protocol, CBD

Mains level: NA

Introduction

  • Cameroon’s recent adoption of the Nagoya Protocol marks a significant step towards harnessing its rich biodiversity for sustainable development.

Cameroon’s Biodiversity Wealth

  • Biodiversity Hotspot: Cameroon hosts approximately 11,000 species, offering immense genetic resources for research and development.
  • Traditional Knowledge: Indigenous communities possess invaluable traditional knowledge associated with biodiversity, contributing to bioprospecting (search for useful products derived from bioresources including plants, microorganisms, animals, etc.).
  • Bioprospecting Potential: Bioprospecting projects, such as those focusing on species like Irvingia wombulu, present opportunities for sustainable resource utilization.

About Nagoya Protocol

Details
Purpose Implements access and benefit-sharing obligations of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
Adoption October 2010
Entry into Force October 12, 2014
Legal Status Legally binding global agreement
Objective Ensures fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the utilization of genetic resources
Membership India is a member
Benefits
  • Establishes a framework for accessing genetic resources for research
  • Provides certainty for investment in biodiversity-based research
  • Ensures fair sharing of benefits from resource use
  • Recognizes the value of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources
Scope
  • Genetic resources covered by the CBD
  • Benefits arising from their utilization
  • Traditional knowledge (TK) associated with genetic resources covered by the CBD and benefits from their utilization

 

Key Facts about Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD):

Description
Adoption Date Opened for signing in 1992 at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro
Objectives Conservation of biological diversity,

Sustainable use of biological diversity,

Fair and equitable benefit sharing

Membership 196 contracting parties
Scope Covers biodiversity conservation at all levels:

Ecosystems, Species, and Genetic resources

Decision-Making Body Conference of the Parties (COP)
Secretariat Based in Montreal, Canada
Supporting Agreements
  • Cartagena Protocol (2000) for regulating LMOs movement,
  • Nagoya Protocol (2010) for access and benefit sharing

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Dubai Consensus for ‘transition away’ from Fossil Fuels

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Dubai Consensus , COP 28

Mains level: Read the attached story

dubai consensus

Central Idea

  • The Dubai Consensus, a significant resolution towards reducing fossil fuel dependency, was adopted in COP 28, Dubai.

Dubai Consensus

  • Key Clause: The resolution emphasizes transitioning away from fossil fuels to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, aligning with scientific recommendations to limit global temperature rise.
  • Balance between Countries: The text reflects a compromise between developed and developing nations on climate action and responsibility.
  • Dilution of Language: Earlier drafts with terms like ‘phase-out’ were softened due to opposition from oil-dependent countries.
  • Coal Usage: The final text moderated its stance on coal, crucial for countries like India, calling for a phase-down rather than a rapid phase-out.
  • Methane Emissions: The consensus introduces a focus on reducing methane emissions by 2030, a potent greenhouse gas.
  • Natural Gas as a ‘Transition Fuel’: The text’s reference to natural gas as a transitional fuel could favor gas-producing countries and overlook the need for developed countries to close the finance gap in climate adaptation.

New Funding Commitments and Future Goals

  • Diverse Opinions: While some nations expressed dissatisfaction with the agreement’s scope, others highlighted the lack of financial support for developing countries.
  • Financial Pledges: COP 28 saw commitments to the Loss and Damage Fund and pledges to decarbonize the global economy.
  • Focus on Renewable Energy: The resolution signals a move towards phasing out fossil fuels and boosting renewable energy and efficiency.

India’s Historical Position on Climate Change

  • Emission Statistics: India, a major developing country, has historically contributed 3% of greenhouse gases (1850-2019), compared to higher percentages from the US and EU.
  • Per Capita Emissions: India’s per capita emissions are below the global average, but its development needs and population growth have made it the third-largest emitter.
  • Balancing Development and Emissions: India has been navigating the pressure to reduce emissions while addressing its developmental needs, particularly its reliance on coal.

India’s Commitments and Challenges

  • Net Zero by 2070: India has committed to achieving a net-zero state by 2070, alongside expanding its renewable energy capacity.
  • Glasgow COP 2021 Agreement: Under pressure, India agreed to a ‘phase-down’ of coal use, highlighting the need for equitable treatment of all fossil fuels, including oil and gas.
  • Import Dependency: As a net importer of oil and gas, India has raised concerns about the focus on coal while other fossil fuels remain under-addressed.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

What does Unabated Fossil Fuels mean?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Unabated Fossil Fuels

Mains level: Read the attached story

Central Idea

  • At the ongoing COP28 climate summit, the term “unabated” fossil fuels has become a focal point in discussions about climate change mitigation.
  • The draft climate agreement mentions phasing down unabated coal, and US climate envoy John Kerry emphasized the need to phase out all unabated fossil fuels.

Understanding ‘Unabated’ Fossil Fuels

  • Definition: “Unabated” fossil fuels refer to the use of coal, oil, and natural gas without reducing the associated CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Contrast with ‘Abated’: “Abated” fossil fuels involve efforts to decrease emissions to an acceptable level, though the specifics of this level are not clearly defined.
  • IPCC’s Definition: The UN IPCC defines unabated fossil fuels as those without substantial reduction interventions for greenhouse gas emissions, suggesting capturing significant percentages of CO2 and methane.

Role of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Technologies

  • CCS Technologies: These technologies capture emissions from power stations or industrial facilities and store them underground.
  • Polarized Views: Oil and gas producers view CCS as essential for emission reduction, while climate activists and experts argue its effectiveness is limited.
  • EU and Nations’ Stance: The EU and several nations stated that CCS should not replace significant fossil fuel cuts and must not be overused.

Effectiveness of Carbon Capture and Storage

  • IEA Report: The International Energy Agency reports that modern CCS technologies can capture about 90% of CO2.
  • IEEFA Study: A study by the IEEFA found that many flagship CCS projects underperformed or failed.
  • Climate Analytics Analysis: This analysis indicated that reliance on CCS could lead to substantial greenhouse gas emissions, potentially doubling CO2 emissions in 2023 if capture rates are lower than expected.

Cost and Sustainability of CCS

  • High Costs: CCS technologies are expensive, with alternatives like wind, solar, and batteries being more cost-effective than retrofitting coal plants with CCS.
  • Sustainability Concerns: Scenarios achieving the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit show a near-complete phase-out of fossil fuels by 2050, with minimal use of fossil CCS.

Implications for COP28 and Beyond

  • Potential COP28 Declaration: The summit’s final declaration might include phasing out or down of unabated fossil fuels, raising concerns about continued fossil fuel use with CCS.
  • Risks of ‘Abated’ Fossil Fuels: Experts like Claire Fyson from Climate Analytics warn that promoting ‘abated’ fossil fuels could misdirect climate finance and greenwash emissions from fossil fuel use.

Conclusion

  • Balancing Act: The COP28 discussions highlight the complexities of balancing fossil fuel use, technological solutions like CCS, and achieving climate targets.
  • Need for Caution: The debate underscores the need for cautious approaches to fossil fuel use and CCS, ensuring they align with broader climate goals and do not undermine efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Global Cooling Pledge at COP28 

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Global Cooling Pledge

Mains level: NA

Global Cooling Pledge

Central Idea

  • At the COP28 climate summit on November 6, 63 countries, including the US, Canada, and Kenya, signed the world’s first pledge to reduce cooling emissions.

Global Cooling Pledge

  • Term: This pledge aims to cut cooling emissions by at least 68% by 2050, addressing a significant source of greenhouse gases.
  • Current Contribution to Global Emissions: Cooling emissions, primarily from refrigerants and cooling energy, currently constitute 7% of global greenhouse gases.
  • Projected Increase: These emissions are expected to triple by 2050 due to rising global temperatures and increased demand for cooling appliances like ACs and refrigerators.

Role of Refrigerants in Global Warming

  • Transition from CFCs to HFCs and HCFCs: Initially, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were used in cooling appliances but were phased out by the 1987 Montreal Protocol due to ozone depletion concerns. They were replaced by hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).
  • Greenhouse Gas Potency: Although HFCs and HCFCs don’t harm the ozone layer, they are potent greenhouse gases, with some forms like HFC-134a having a global warming potential 3,400 times that of CO2.

Sources and Effects of HFC and HCFC Emissions

  • Leakage from Appliances: These gases often leak from damaged appliances or car air conditioning systems, especially at the end of their life cycle.
  • Contribution to Warming: The leakage of these gases contributes significantly to global warming, with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) highlighting their potency.

Challenge of Cooling Energy

  • Electricity for Cooling: A significant portion of cooling emissions comes from the electricity used to power cooling appliances.
  • Fossil Fuel Dependence: Much of this electricity is generated from fossil fuels, particularly in developing countries, contributing to climate change.

Vicious Cycle of Cooling Demand and Global Warming

  • Feedback Loop: Rising global temperatures increase the demand for cooling, which in turn contributes to more warming.
  • Growing Cooling Device Market: The number of cooling devices is expected to rise from 3.6 billion to 9.5 billion by 2050, with a potential need for 14 billion devices if cooling access is expanded globally.

Solutions and Strategies

  • Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol: Over 150 countries agreed in 2016 to reduce HFC consumption by 80% by 2047, potentially avoiding over 0.4 degrees Celsius of global warming by 2100.
  • Promoting Climate-Friendly Refrigerants: The use of natural refrigerants with lower or zero global warming potential is being encouraged.
  • Proper Disposal and Management: Effective management and disposal of refrigerants could significantly reduce CO2 emissions.
  • Alternative Cooling Methods: Focusing on building designs that reduce the need for air conditioners, such as improved insulation and ventilation, is crucial.

Conclusion

  • The Global Cooling Pledge represents a significant step in addressing a key contributor to climate change.
  • This initiative underscores the need for global cooperation in combating the escalating challenges posed by climate change.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

INC-3: Global Efforts to Combat Plastic Pollution

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: INC-3

Mains level: Global consesnsu on curbing Plastic Pollution

Central Idea

  • The Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) met in Nairobi for its third round of negotiations under the UN Environment Programme.

About Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC)

  • INC is a committee that aims to develop a legally binding international instrument to end plastic pollution by 2025, as mandated by UNEA Resolution 5/14.
  • It began working in November 2022 at Punta del Este, Uruguay (INC-1).
  • The second meeting (INC-2) took place in May-June, 2023 at Paris, France.
  • INC is scheduled to complete its work by the end of 2024.

Overview of INC-3

  • Event: The Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) met in Nairobi for its third round of negotiations under the United Nations Environment Programme.
  • Objective: To develop an international legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution worldwide, as mandated by UNEA Resolution 5/14.
  • Deadline: The INC is tasked with delivering a global plastics treaty by 2025.

Significance of INC-3

  • Critical Stage: INC-3 was pivotal in negotiating the ‘zero draft’ text, which offered various options for core obligations and control measures.
  • Progress: Compared to INC-2 in Paris, INC-3 made substantive discussions on the treaty’s content.

Key Aspects of the ‘Zero Draft’

  • Initial Strength: The zero draft proposed strong options for a legally binding treaty.
  • Dilution of Obligations: During negotiations, member states weakened core obligations, especially on primary polymer production, chemicals of concern, and trade.
  • Controversial Elements: The draft faced controversy over its scope and objectives, particularly regarding the production of primary polymers and lifecycle definitions.

Financial Mechanism Discussions

  • Proposals: The draft included options like a plastic-pollution fee and reducing financial flow into high carbon footprint projects.
  • Opposition: Some countries, particularly those with vested economic interests, opposed these financial provisions.

Trade in Plastics

  • Trade Restrictions: The treaty aims to address gaps left by the Basel Convention, but faced opposition regarding trade restrictions.
  • Misinterpretation of WTO Rules: Some countries misconstrued WTO rules to oppose trade restrictions, despite legal allowances for health and environmental protection.

Challenges in Negotiations

  • Advocacy for Strong Provisions: African countries and Small-Island Developing States advocated for binding provisions, representing marginalized voices and emphasizing human rights and public health.
  • Rules of Procedure: INC-2’s unresolved debate on rules of procedure continued, affecting decision-making at INC-3.
  • Industry Influence: The presence of industry lobbyists indicated significant industry influence on the negotiations.
  • Stalling Tactics: Some countries used stalling and blocking tactics, delaying progress and expanding the draft text with national interest-driven changes.

Outcomes and Takeaways from INC-3

  • Lack of Consensus: The meeting ended without consensus on intersessional work, hindering progress towards INC-4.
  • Exposure of Opposition: INC-3 highlighted the countries and industries opposed to a strong binding treaty.
  • Future Challenges: The lack of mandate adoption for the first draft development indicates significant challenges ahead in achieving a robust and effective global treaty on plastic pollution.

Conclusion

  • INC-3’s outcomes underscore the complexities and challenges in formulating a global treaty on plastic pollution.
  • The divergent interests of member states, influenced by economic and industry considerations, pose significant hurdles.
  • The upcoming negotiations will be crucial in balancing these interests with the urgent need for effective global action to tackle the plastic pollution crisis.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

India pitches for Green Credit Scheme at COP28

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Green Credits Scheme

Mains level: NA

Central Idea

  • India introduced the Green Credits Scheme at COP28 in Dubai. PM Modi emphasized that this program goes beyond the commercial nature of carbon credits, offering a broader environmental impact.

What is Green Credits Programme?

  • Objective: The initiative aims to generate Green Credits through plantation on degraded wasteland.
  • Inception: Launched in October by the Environment Ministry, it is designed to incentivize various environment-positive actions.
  • Action Areas: Includes tree plantation, water management, sustainable agriculture, waste management, air pollution reduction, mangrove conservation, ecomark label development, and sustainable building.
  • Scope beyond Carbon: Unlike existing carbon credit systems, this program extends incentives to actions beyond carbon emission reductions, such as water conservation and soil improvement.

Distinctive Features

  • Market-Based Approach: The program aims to create a market for trading green credits, similar to carbon credits, where companies can earn credits for environmental actions and trade them.
  • Development Stage: Methodologies and standards for measuring and verifying such actions are under development, and the market for these credits is yet to be established.
  • Initial Buyers: It is anticipated that private companies might purchase these green credits to fulfill their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) obligations.
  • Wider Beneficiaries: Unlike carbon markets, which primarily target industries and corporations, the green credit program can benefit individuals and communities as well.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Private: COP28 turns attention to potent Methane Emissions

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Methane Pollution

Mains level: Read the attached story

methane

Central Idea

  • Greenhouse Gas: Methane (CH4) is a significant contributor to climate change, second only to CO2.
  • Potency and Lifespan: Although short-lived (about 10 years in the atmosphere), methane’s warming effect is 28 times greater than CO2 over 100 years, and 80 times over 20 years.
  • Uncertain Emissions: Despite advancements in monitoring, the exact amount of methane released into the atmosphere remains uncertain.

Methane Emissions

  • Human Activity: Around 60% of methane emissions are linked to human activities, with agriculture being the largest contributor.
  • Natural Sources: Approximately 40% of emissions come from natural sources, mainly wetlands.
  • Agricultural Emissions: Livestock and rice cultivation are significant sources of agricultural methane.
  • Energy Sector: The second-largest human-caused source, with leaks from coal, oil, and gas infrastructure.
  • Waste Decomposition: Discarded household waste in landfills also releases methane.

Strategies for Methane Reduction

  • Fossil Fuel Sector: Rapid cuts in methane emissions from this sector could prevent up to 0.1 degrees Celsius of warming by mid-century.
  • Infrastructure Repair: Fixing leaky infrastructure and eliminating routine flaring and venting can significantly reduce emissions.
  • Agricultural Practices: Modifying animal diets and changing water management in rice fields can help reduce emissions.

Global Methane Pledge

  • Initiative: Launched in 2021 by the EU and US, aiming to reduce global methane emissions by 30% by 2030 compared to 2020 levels.
  • Participation: Over 150 countries have joined, but major emitters like China, India, and Russia are absent.
  • Calls for Strengthening: Experts urge COP28 to formalize a stronger reduction target, especially in the energy sector.

Methane Action Plan globally

  • Inclusion in Climate Plans: Both the US and China have included methane in their climate action strategies.
  • China’s Approach: China has announced a plan to control methane emissions but lacks a quantified target.
  • Impact Assessment: The effectiveness of China’s plan remains to be seen due to the absence of specific reduction goals.

Oil and Gas Industry Commitments

  • Industry Initiatives: The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative aims for zero emissions from their activities by 2030.
  • Effectiveness: The impact of these commitments will depend on their implementation and adherence.

Conclusion

  • Critical Climate Talks: Methane will be a key focus at the COP28 meeting in Dubai, with potential for significant impact on climate change mitigation.
  • Need for Global Commitment: A global commitment to substantially reduce methane emissions could be a major success in the fight against climate change.
  • Challenges Ahead: Achieving meaningful reductions will require concerted efforts from countries and industries, along with effective monitoring and enforcement mechanisms.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Private: Climate Club launched at COP28

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Climate Club

Mains level: NA

Central Idea

  • At the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28), leaders gathered to launch the Climate Club, focusing on decarbonizing the industrial sector.

About Climate Club

  • Led by Germany and Chile, the Club includes 36 members, representing 55% of the global economy.
  • Aim: To facilitate the decarbonization of industries, align methodologies and standards, and improve finance and assistance for both emerging and developed economies.
  • Focus on Hard-to-Abate Sectors: Targeting sectors like steel, cement, and chemicals, which account for about 70% of global industrial CO2 emissions.
  • Work Programme 2024: Outlines programmatic activities under 3 pillars:
  1. Advancing climate change mitigation policies,
  2. Transforming industries, and
  3. Boosting international cooperation and partnership.

Key Priorities and Actions

  • Standardization: Developing standardized emission calculations for CO2 intensities of products like steel and cement.
  • Net-Zero Definitions: Strategic discussions on defining net-zero emissions for these sectors.
  • Financing Platform: Establishing a platform to match member needs with financing from public and private sectors.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF)

Mains level: Read the attached story

ibef

Central Idea

  • Since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the global community has struggled to secure adequate funding for biodiversity conservation.
  • However, on August 27, 2023, a significant step was taken as countries established the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF).

GBFF: A New Hope for Biodiversity Funding

  • Inception: The GBFF was officially established on August 27, 2023, at the 7th Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in Vancouver, Canada.
  • KMGBF Integration: The GBFF’s primary objective is to support countries in achieving the 23 targets outlined in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KMGBF), which was adopted at the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • Funding Needs: COP15 determined that at least $200 billion per year until 2030 is required to fund biodiversity protection programs worldwide.
1990: GEF launched with ~US$1 billion; 46% funds for biodiversity.

1996: GEF becomes financial mechanism for the Convention at COP3, Argentina.

2002: GEF’s 3rd replenishment: $3 billion, 30% for biodiversity (2002-06).

2010: COP10 in Japan sets Aichi targets; 5th GEF replenishment: $4.34 billion, $1.15 billion for biodiversity.

2014: GEF’s 6th cycle: $4.43 billion, 6.3% for biodiversity.

2019: IPBES report shows 1 million species at extinction risk.

2023: 7th GEF Assembly ratifies GBFF with $200 million seed capital; $1.92 billion for biodiversity in 8th cycle.

1992: CBD signed at Earth Summit, effective 1993; COP1 in Bahamas.

1998: First GEF Assembly in New Delhi; $418 million allocated for biodiversity.

2006: 4th GEF replenishment: $3.13 billion, 26% for biodiversity.

2012: COP11 in India; IPBES to assess biodiversity status.

2018: COP14 in Egypt assesses Aichi targets; GEF’s 7th cycle: $4.1 billion, 21.8% for biodiversity.

2022: COP15 in Montreal adopts Kunming-Montreal Framework; $200 billion/year needed, Global Biodiversity Framework Fund proposed.

What makes GBFF unique?

  • Diverse Funding Sources: Unlike the GEF, which relied on a limited number of donors, the GBFF will source funds from private, philanthropic, and government investments.
  • GEF’s Role: The GEF will manage the GBFF, making it a more robust and versatile funding mechanism.
  • Budget Allocation: The GBFF has a cumulative budget of $5.25 billion for 2022-26, with 36% allocated for biodiversity. The remaining funds are dedicated to projects addressing climate change, pollution, land, and ocean health.
  • Enhanced Impact: Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Chairperson of GEF, emphasizes the need not only for increased funds but also for strategic utilization to maximize impact.
  • Multilateral Fund Potential: GBFF might receive contributions from a proposed multilateral fund generated from fees related to digital genetic sequence information, potentially generating over $15 billion annually.

Challenges Ahead

  • Funding Gap Persists: Despite GBFF’s establishment, the financial gap for biodiversity conservation remains significant. In 2019, global spending on biodiversity conservation was far below the estimated need.
  • Domestic Financing Struggles: Relying on domestic funds has been challenging, especially for developing countries.
  • Long-Term Funding Concerns: The world faces a projected financing gap of $4.1 trillion for biodiversity by 2050, underscoring the need for sustainable funding mechanisms.

Importance of Domestic Funding

  • Diverse Solutions: KMGBF’s Target 19 suggests various nature-based solutions such as payment for ecosystem services, green bonds, and benefit-sharing mechanisms to mobilize domestic funding.
  • Challenges of Blended Finance: Blended financing, where public resources catalyze private investment, may not be an ideal solution and takes time to implement.
  • Biodiversity Credits: Similar to carbon credits, biodiversity credits (biocredits) have gained popularity. They have the potential to generate the funds needed to meet KMGBF targets.
  • Biocredits Challenges: Biocredits are in their infancy, and their implementation, including regulation, certification schemes, and policy systems, is still being discussed.

Challenges in Achieving KMGBF Targets

  • Protecting 30% of Land and Waters: Achieving the 30×30 target faces challenges, considering existing protected areas’ effectiveness and the inclusion of OECMs (other effective area-based conservation measures).
  • Data Gap: The effectiveness of existing protected areas is unclear due to limited available data.
  • Debate over OECMs: OECMs are not fully understood, and there are concerns that they might be designated without proper evaluation.

Way forward

  • Inclusion in KMGBF Targets: Indigenous peoples and local communities play a crucial role in conservation. KMGBF explicitly emphasizes the need to respect their rights in achieving targets.
  • Funding Allocation: The GEF Assembly has allocated up to 20% of donor funds to support indigenous communities in conservation efforts.
  • Capacity Building: To avoid human rights violations, there is a need for substantial investment in building the capacity of indigenous communities.
  • Strict Norms: Stricter norms should ensure that biodiversity-rich areas are not diverted for other purposes, such as plantations, which cannot replace old-growth forests.

Conclusion

  • The establishment of the GBFF represents a significant step towards addressing the long-standing financial challenges in biodiversity conservation.
  • However, challenges, such as securing adequate funds and ensuring equitable conservation practices, persist.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

What the OECD Report says of Climate Finance ahead of COP 28?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: OECD

Mains level: Read the attached story

Central Idea

  • A recent report published by the OECD reveals that economically developed countries failed to fulfill their commitment to jointly mobilize $100 billion per year for climate mitigation and adaptation in developing countries in 2021, missing the 2020 deadline.
  • The report’s findings have significant implications for the upcoming COP 28 climate talks in the United Arab Emirates, where climate finance is expected to be a contentious issue.

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

 

  • Establishment: Founded in 1961, succeeding the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC) which was established in 1948 to help administer the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II.
  • Members: Initially European-focused, it now includes 38 member countries from across the globe, including many of the world’s most advanced economies and some emerging economies.
  • Purpose: To stimulate economic progress and world trade. It’s a forum where governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems.
  • Key Functions: Provides a platform for comparing policy experiences, seeking answers to common problems, identifying good practices, and coordinating domestic and international policies of its members.
  • Major Publications: Includes the OECD Economic Outlook, the OECD Employment Outlook, and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) report.

Key Findings of the OECD Report

  • Shortfall in Climate Finance: Developed countries mobilized $89.6 billion in climate finance in 2021, falling short of the $100 billion target.
  • Decline in Adaptation Finance: The report highlights a 14% decrease in financing for climate adaptation in 2021 compared to the previous year.

Significance of the OECD Report

  • Representation of Developed Nations: The OECD consists of affluent countries such as the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Switzerland, and Canada, providing insights into their climate finance priorities before the COP 28 talks.
  • COP 26 Pledge: The report follows a commitment by developed nations at COP 26 in 2020 to double adaptation finance and acknowledges their failure to meet the $100 billion goal on time.

Issues related to Climate Finance Accountability

  • Composition of Climate Finance: The report reveals that a significant portion of public climate financing comes in the form of loans, raising concerns about debt stress in developing countries.
  • Loan Classification: The report’s treatment of loans without considering grant equivalents can exacerbate the burden on poorer nations, as loans may require repayment with interest.
  • ‘Additionality’: The UNFCCC mandates that developed countries provide “new and additional” financial resources for climate purposes, preventing the diversion of funds from other essential sectors like healthcare.
  • Lack of Defined Criteria: Developed countries have resisted efforts to establish a clear definition of climate finance, allowing ambiguity in classifying various types of funding.
  • Double-Counting: Some developed countries have been accused of double-counting development aid as climate finance, leading to the misallocation of resources.

Climate Finance Needs and Future Projections

  • The OECD report suggests that $100 billion was likely met in 2022, but this data remains preliminary and unverified.
  • Developing countries are projected to require approximately $1 trillion annually for climate investments by 2025, escalating to $2.4 trillion per year from 2026 to 2030, highlighting the inadequacy of the $100 billion goal.

Conclusion

  • The OECD report on climate finance underscores the gap between promises made by developed nations and their actual contributions.
  • Issues of loan classification, additionality, and a lack of clear criteria for climate finance need to be addressed for greater transparency and accountability.
  • As developing countries face growing climate-related challenges, public funding from governments and multilateral development banks remains crucial to meeting their needs.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

COP28 in Dubai: What to expect from Climate meeting

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: COP28

Mains level: Read the attached story

COP28

Central Idea

  • The upcoming COP28, scheduled to be held in Dubai from November 30 to December 12, faces the daunting challenge of addressing the urgent climate crisis.
  • Despite decades of negotiations, current global commitments to combat climate change are deemed insufficient.
  • With temperatures rising at an alarming rate, the need for substantial action has never been more critical.

What is COP?

  • The word ‘COP’ is an acronym for ‘Conference of the Parties. The ‘parties’ are the governments around the world that have signed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a treaty agreed upon in 1994.
  • Every year, the COP is hosted by a different nation and the first such COP meeting – ‘COP1’ – took place in Germany in 1995.
  • The conferences are attended by world leaders, negotiators, and ministers, and also by representatives from civil society, business, international organisations, and the media.
  • The last COP-27 edition convened in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt with the theme “Together for Implementation” and to renew and extend the agreements reached in the historic Paris Agreement.

Climate Action So Far: Crisis and Inadequate Responses

  • Rising Temperatures: 2023 is poised to become the warmest year ever recorded, with monthly warming records continually broken.
  • Response Lag: Global efforts to combat climate change have not kept pace with the rapid temperature increase.
  • Assessment: Recent reports indicate that current climate action plans, even in an optimistic scenario, would only achieve a 2% reduction in emissions by 2030, far from the 43% reduction recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • Financial Gap: Despite increasing climate risks, financial resources allocated for adaptation measures in developing countries are insufficient, with a vast disparity between the required and actual funding.

Expectations from COP28

COP28 aims to address these pressing climate challenges and achieve significant outcomes:

(1) Tripling of Renewable Energy:

  • Objective: Triple the global installed capacity of renewable energy by 2030, resulting in 70% of electricity generation from renewables.
  • Potential: This initiative could reduce 7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by 2030, making it a substantial step toward emission reduction.
  • Support: The proposal has garnered endorsement from G20 countries and explicit support from 60 others.

(2) Delivery of $100 Billion:

  • Background: Developed countries pledged to mobilize $100 billion annually in climate finance from 2020, a commitment that remains unfulfilled.
  • Progress: Developed nations are expected to claim fulfillment of this promise at COP28, though it remains inadequate compared to the trillions required for climate action.
  • Challenge: The greater challenge lies in negotiating additional funding beyond the $100 billion annually, commencing from next year.

(3) Funding for Loss and Damage:

  • Fund Creation: The establishment of a loss and damage fund, designed to assist countries affected by climate change impacts, was a notable outcome of the previous climate meeting in Egypt.
  • Funding Flow: COP28 is expected to witness financial contributions to the loss and damage fund, signaling progress in addressing concerns, especially for small island nations.

(4) Global Stocktake:

  • Mandate: As per the Paris Agreement (2015), COP28 will present findings from the first global stocktake exercise. This assessment evaluates countries’ progress in combating climate change and outlines necessary actions for the next five years.
  • Informing Action: The stocktake findings will inform discussions and actions during the conference, providing a roadmap for more effective climate action.

(5) Phase-down of Fossil Fuels:

  • Challenge: Controversial debates on the scheduled phase-down or phase-out of fossil fuels, particularly coal, persist among nations.
  • Contentious Issue: Resolving the disagreement over fossil fuel reduction is expected to be a complex and unresolved matter at COP28.

Conclusion

  • COP28, set to be held in Dubai, represents a critical opportunity to address the climate crisis.
  • With expectations of tripling renewable energy, fulfillment of $100 billion climate finance commitments, funding for loss and damage, and global stocktake findings, the conference aims to push climate action forward.
  • However, the contentious issue of fossil fuel phase-down remains a challenge for the conference.
  • The world eagerly anticipates the outcomes and progress toward mitigating climate change.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Loss and Damage Fund (LDF) talks leave developing nations at new disadvantage 

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Loss and Damage Fund (LDF)

Mains level: Read the attached story

loss and damage fund

Central Idea

  • In the escalating climate crisis, the terms “adaptation” and “loss and damage” (L&D) have taken center stage.
  • While the concept was embraced at COP 27, recent meetings of the Transitional Committee (TC) to operationalize the fund have encountered major roadblocks.

Birth of the L&D Fund

  • Historic Pollution Accountability: The call for affluent nations to acknowledge their historical pollution accountability dates back over 30 years.
  • COP 19 Agreement: In 2013, at COP 19 in Warsaw, Poland, member countries formalized the creation of the L&D fund. It aimed to provide financial and technical support to economically developing nations grappling with L&D due to climate change.
  • Subsequent Developments: COP 25 introduced the Santiago Network for L&D, and COP 26 established the Glasgow Dialogue on finance for L&D. COP 27 in November 2022 saw the creation of the L&D fund and a Transitional Committee (TC) tasked with operationalizing the fund.

Challenges in Creation of the L&D Fund

  • Contentious Issues: TC meetings have grappled with contentious issues such as hosting the fund at the World Bank, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR), climate reparations, and eligibility criteria for developing nations.
  • Developed vs. Developing Nations: These disagreements have deepened the divide between developed and developing nations, hampering progress.

Outcome of TC4 and TC5 Meetings

  • TC4 Impasse: The fourth meeting of the TC concluded without a consensus on how to operationalize the L&D fund, reflecting divisions on key issues.
  • TC5 Draft Recommendations: An impromptu fifth meeting of the TC led to draft recommendations forwarded to COP 28. Developing nations conceded to the fund being hosted by the World Bank temporarily, but developed nations, including the U.S., remained non-committal regarding primary donor status and rejected references to CBDR, equity, and liability in the draft.
  • Lack of Clarity: The draft does not specify the fund’s size due to pressure from certain developed nations.

A blow to climate multilateralism

  • Erosion of Trust: The outcome underscores a severe trust deficit between affluent and emerging economies concerning historical responsibilities, deepening the rift between wealthy and impoverished nations.
  • Failure to Fulfill Commitments: The unwillingness of wealthy nations to fulfill intended commitments undermines global climate negotiations, cooperation, and climate justice.
  • Humanitarian Consequences: The watering down of the L&D fund can lead to humanitarian crises, food shortages, displacement, conflict, and exacerbate the suffering of vulnerable communities.
  • Economic and Environmental Impact: It also has economic consequences, with potential financial crises and environmental degradation, exacerbating global economic instability.
  • Security Implications: Climate-induced instability may lead to security implications as conflicts emerge in vulnerable nations, threatening to spill across borders.

L&D as Part of Climate Justice

  • Balancing Adaptation and L&D: Adaptation and L&D are not mutually exclusive but coexist on the continuum of climate resilience.
  • Moral and Financial Responsibility: Addressing L&D is a moral and financial responsibility of affluent nations, ensuring climate justice, equity, and solidarity.
  • Global Climate Action: Failure to meet these obligations can derail global climate action, adding pressure to future COP talks.

Conclusion

  • The protracted impasse surrounding the Loss and Damage fund reflects a troubling lack of consensus and trust between nations, hindering climate justice and cooperation.
  • As the world grapples with the consequences of climate change, balancing adaptation and addressing L&D remains paramount.

 

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

CBAM will kill EU Manufacturing: Commerce Minister

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM)

Mains level: Read the attached story

cbam

Central Idea

  • Commerce and Industry Minister has strongly criticized the European Union’s (EU) proposed Carbon Tax on imports, deeming it “ill-conceived” and warning of potential consequences for the EU’s manufacturing sector.
  • He asserted that even if the plan, set to take effect in 2026, proceeds, India will counter it by imposing its own carbon tax.

What is the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM)?

Proposed by European Union (EU)
Purpose To reduce carbon emissions from imported goods and prevent competitive disadvantage against countries with weaker environmental regulations
Objectives Reduce carbon emissions from imported goods

Promote a level playing field between the EU and its trading partners

Protect EU companies that have invested in green technologies

How does CBAM work?

Coverage Applies to imported goods that are carbon-intensive
Integration Covered by the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS), which currently covers industries like power generation, steel, and cement
Implementation CBAM taxes would be imposed on the carbon content of imported goods at the border, and the tax rates would be based on the carbon price in the EU ETS
Exemptions Possible exemptions for countries that have implemented comparable carbon pricing systems
Revenue Use Revenue generated from CBAM taxes could be used to fund the EU’s climate objectives, such as financing climate-friendly investments and supporting developing countries’ climate efforts

Who will be affected by CBAM?

Details
Countries Non-EU countries, including India, that export carbon-intensive goods to the EU
Items Initially covers iron and steel, cement, aluminium, fertilisers, and electric energy production
Expansion The scope of the CBAM may expand to other sectors in the future

Advantages offered

  • Encourages non-EU countries to adopt more stringent environmental regulations, reducing global carbon emissions.
  • Prevents carbon leakage by discouraging companies from relocating to countries with weaker environmental regulations.
  • Generates revenue that could be used to support EU climate policies.

Challenges with CBAM

  • Difficulty in accurately measuring the carbon emissions of imported goods, especially for countries without comprehensive carbon accounting systems.
  • Potential for trade tensions with the EU’s trading partners, especially if other countries implement retaliatory measures.

Consequences for EU Manufacturing

  • Auto Sector Impact: The minister suggested that the European auto sector could be one of the first casualties, particularly affecting steel and aluminum usage.
  • Opportunity for India: Goyal saw this as an opportunity for India to develop a robust auto sector, leveraging cost advantages in the global market.

India’s Response and Carbon Tax Strategy

  • Counteractive Measures: India intends to neutralize the impact of the EU’s carbon tax by imposing its own.
  • Investing in Green Energy: Revenue from the Indian carbon tax would be channelled into the country’s green energy transition, which, indirectly, could help exporters transition to cleaner energy and reduce their carbon footprint.
  • Negotiations with EU: The government is engaged in dialogues with EU counterparts regarding the levy’s fairness and pricing disparities.

Conclusion

  • The EU’s proposed Carbon Tax and India’s counterstrategy highlight the complexities of international trade, environmental concerns, and the potential consequences for various industries.
  • India’s strong stance underscores its commitment to safeguarding its economic interests while engaging in constructive negotiations with the EU to ensure a fair and mutually beneficial outcome.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Climate finance needs private funding too

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Paris Pact for People and the Planet

Mains level: Paris Pact for People and the Planet, private-sector funding and India's Role in the Global Sustainable Financial Landscape

What’s the news?

  • The Paris Pact for People and the Planet signifies a milestone in the global commitment to sustainable development.

Central idea

  • June saw more than 100 countries converge in Paris with a shared vision: no nation should be torn between combating poverty and preserving the planet. This led to the establishment of the Paris Pact for People and the Planet, crafted with invaluable insights from India.

A Transformative Shift in Global Investments

  • The debate around developed countries’ commitment to furnishing USD 100 billion a year for climate finance from 2020 to 2025 has been heated.
  • The target is set to be achieved by 2023.
  • France surpassed its share, contributing €7.6 billion in 2022 for climate financing.
  • Since 2012, the French Development Agency has invested over €2 billion in India for sustainable ventures.

India’s Role in the Global Sustainable Financial Landscape

  • Leadership in Global Forums: India co-chaired the summit for the Paris Pact for People and the Planet.
  • Collaboration with France: India and France jointly act to bridge global financial divides.
  • G20 Presidency: India led significant progress in sustainable finance discussions under its G20 Presidency.
  • Regional Debt Management: India collaborated with the Paris Club for debt restructuring in Sri Lanka.
  • Championing Cohesion: India, with France, emphasizes unity and cooperation in the global financial landscape.

Debt Challenges in Developing Nations

  • Public Sector Limitations: Public sector financing is not enough to address global challenges.
  • Regulatory Impacts: Post-2008 financial regulations may hinder the flow of OECD savings towards non-OECD countries.
  • Green Finance Framework: Misunderstandings between developed and developing countries on aligning finance with the Paris Agreement’s objectives
  • Debt Vulnerabilities: Many low- and middle-income countries are on unsustainable debt trajectories.

Proposed actions to unlock more private-sector funding

  • Reviewing Global Climate Funds: Start an in-depth analysis of global vertical climate funds to make better use of resources and encourage greater cooperation among climate finance ecosystem stakeholders.
  • Expanding the Green Finance Framework: Further develop the green finance framework to align the financial sector with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. This entails leveraging private finance to support low-carbon and resilient pathways worldwide, using mitigation costs as a guiding principle.
  • Promoting Just Energy Transition Partnerships: Encourage country-led, multi-actor partnerships, such as the Just Energy Transition Partnerships already operational in countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, South Africa, and Senegal, to attract investments for phasing out coal from electricity production.
  • Engaging Credit Rating Agencies: Include credit-rating agencies in the reform agenda of multilateral development banks (MDBs) to ensure that these institutions are not penalized due to reforms aimed at enhancing their effectiveness. Rating agencies should consider innovative blended finance schemes and data on defaults, revealing the resilience of projects with multilateral guarantees.

Conclusion

  • The global community, with India at its helm, is making strides towards reshaping the financial landscape in favor of sustainable development. Harnessing both the public and private sectors, and with partnerships like the non-French collaboration, there’s hope for a balanced planet where poverty alleviation and environmental preservation coexist.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

The Indian Himalayan Region needs its own EIA

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: EIA

Mains level: vulnerability of the Indian Himalayan Region and need for EIA

What’s the news?

  • In light of the recent Teesta dam breach in Sikkim and floods in Himachal Pradesh, the potential negative impact of developmental activities on our ecology, especially in the mountains, is evident.

Central idea

  • The recent Teesta dam breach in Sikkim and devastating floods and landslides in Himachal Pradesh have underscored the destructive consequences of our current development model. It is crucial to evaluate the environmental repercussions of significant human endeavors in order to strike a balance between development and ecological preservation.

What is EIA?

  • Definition: EIA, or Environment Impact Assessment, is a process defined by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to gauge the environmental, social, and economic impacts of a project before implementation.
  • Functions: It contrasts various project alternatives, predicts environmental consequences, and suggests appropriate mitigation strategies.

EIA’s Historical Development in India

  • 1976–77: A precursor to EIA began with an evaluation of river valley projects.
  • 1994: The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change introduced the first EIA notification.
  • 2006: The 2006 notification decentralized the process, allowing states to issue EC (Environmental Clearance) in specific cases. This policy was later amended for refinement.
  • The 2020 draft EIA was criticized as favoring industries while neglecting ecological concerns.

EIA 2006 Notification’s Scope and Limitations

  • It establishes the procedure for giving EC.
  • Only specific projects listed in the attached schedule require an EC.
  • It categorizes projects (e.g., mining, power generation). However, the threshold limits for requiring an EIA remain consistent nationwide.

The Potential of EIA for Sustainable Development

  • Informed Decision-Making: EIA provides data for informed choices that balance development with environmental concerns.
  • Early Risk Identification: EIA identifies and mitigates potential environmental harm, promoting sustainable project designs.
  • Public Participation: EIA’s public consultations enhance transparency and inclusive decision-making.
  • Legal Framework: EIA is part of the legal framework for environmental protection, ensuring adherence to standards.
  • Long-Term Focus: EIA emphasizes long-term sustainability by assessing projects’ lasting impacts.

Ignoring the Himalayan region

  • Inconsistency: Despite understanding the unique needs of the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR), its vulnerabilities aren’t addressed separately in the EIA.
  • Issue: Both the old and 2020 draft notifications don’t differentiate the IHR from the rest of India in terms of development needs.
  • Impact: This oversight results in the Himalayan States facing yearly devastation from extreme weather conditions.

Flaws in the Graded Approach

  • The current approach differentiates risk based on location (e.g., reserved forest, national park). But the IHR, despite its ecological significance, is treated the same as other regions.

Proposed Solutions

  • Differentiate environmental standards for projects in the IHR.
  • Address IHR-specific concerns at all EIA stages.
  • Include provisions about the IHR in general conditions for all projects.

Existing Issues with the EIA

  • Lack of Oversight: There is no national regulator for transparent project appraisal and monitoring.
  • Reactive Nature: EIA currently reacts to proposals rather than preempting them.
  • Biased Assessments: Often, EIAs are in favor of projects because they’re funded by the project proponent.
  • Limited Scope: The current process doesn’t adequately consider the cumulative impacts of multiple projects in a region.

Conclusion

  • The EIA process, especially concerning the IHR, requires a comprehensive review. Exploring tools like strategic environmental assessment can be more effective in addressing the cumulative impact of development in regions like the IHR. Policymakers should prioritize the environment and ecology in their developmental plans.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Hottest September ever and climate change

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Climate change

Mains level: Climate change, Rising Temperatures, solutions and actions

What’s the news?

  • September 2023 stands out as it recorded a remarkable 1.75-degree Celsius increase compared to the pre-industrial baseline of 1850–1900, making it a month with an unprecedented temperature deviation.

Central idea

  • In the relentless march of climate change, 2023 has emerged as a year of unprecedented heatwaves. Each passing month seems to shatter temperature records, leaving us with grim prospects for the remainder of the year. As September, the hottest on record, draws to a close, we must confront the sobering reality that 2023 may become the warmest year ever recorded.

2023: On Track to Be the Warmest Year

  • 2023 is poised to claim the dubious distinction of being the warmest year on record. The average temperature for the first nine months of the year already surpasses the corresponding period of 2016, the previous record holder.
  • In 2016, the average temperature was 1.28 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial times, and 2023 may breach the 1.5-degree Celsius mark for the first time.

Rising Temperatures Predicted

  • The remarkable string of record-breaking temperature events in 2023 was not entirely unexpected. Scientists had foreseen this year’s warmth, primarily due to the development of El Niño in the Pacific Ocean.
  • While specific events couldn’t be predicted, the overall trend was ominous. Forecasts indicate that the last three months of the year will continue to be warmer than usual.

Record-Breaking Months

  • The record-breaking temperatures in September follow a pattern of extraordinary warmth throughout the year. July, in particular, stood out as the warmest month ever recorded, setting a new global monthly temperature high.
  • Multiple days in July broke daily temperature records. Preceding this, June claimed the title of the warmest June ever, and February, March, April, and May all ranked among the top five hottest for their respective months.

Lack of immediate solutions

  • Despite the alarming rise in temperatures and the string of record-breaking events in 2023, there has been a noticeable lack of immediate policy responses from countries to combat climate change.
  • Addressing climate change in the short term is challenging, and there are limitations to what can be done to lower temperatures or prevent future warming events on an immediate timescale.
  • Only a global disruption on the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic could bring about significant deviations from the current trend of increasing temperatures.

Way forward: Urgent action is needed

  • There is an urgent need for decisive action in response to the unprecedented heatwaves and their associated impacts.
  • The world is rapidly approaching critical climate thresholds, including the 1.5-degree Celsius target set by the Paris Agreement.
  • The lack of immediate solutions and policy responses to mitigate climate change is a pressing concern.
  • Nations need to acknowledge the stark reality of climate change’s relentless advance and take immediate, robust, and meaningful measures to address the crisis.
  • Decisive action is required now to prevent irreversible consequences associated with global warming.

Conclusion

  • As nations prepare for the annual climate change meeting in Dubai, it is imperative that they acknowledge the stark reality of climate change’s relentless advance. The stock-take exercise must reveal the gaps in global climate action and serve as a wake-up call for more robust and immediate measures.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

India’s National Framework for Climate Services (NFCS)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NFCS and the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS)

Mains level: National Framework for Climate Services (NFCS) and its significance, global best practices

NFCS

What’s the news?

  • India is embarking on a significant endeavor to launch its maiden national-level framework for providing climate services and information.

Central idea

  • Spearheaded by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the National Framework for Climate Services (NFCS) aims to create a seamless platform for users of climate information and services. It will play a crucial role in mitigating climate risks across key sectors such as agriculture, energy, disaster management, health, and water.

What is the NFCS?

  • The NFCS is India’s response to the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), a global partnership established to enhance the production and utilization of climate information and services.
  • The GFCS fosters collaboration between researchers and users to make informed decisions for long-term climate resilience.
  • The NFCS will be tailored to India’s specific weather patterns and stakeholder requirements, with the IMD serving as the nodal agency.

Why is it significant?

  • Bridging Functional Gaps: The NFCS will address gaps in the coordination between various agencies that rely on climate services, including hydrology, power, renewable energy, transportation, dams, irrigation, and health. It will ensure better integration and data sharing among these sectors.
  • Expanding Sectoral Focus: While initially targeting key sectors like agriculture, energy, health, water, and disaster risk reduction, India can incorporate other relevant sectors like transportation and tourism as needed.
  • Enhancing Data Collection: The NFCS will strengthen India’s observational network on land and sea, improving data inflow. This data will be used to run weather and climate models for more accurate climate predictions.
  • Tailored Climate Information: Climate data and information products will be customized to meet the needs of users. This will help in identifying trends in agriculture, health, population distribution, infrastructure planning, energy generation, and more.
  • Climate Resilience: NFCS will support efforts to prepare for and adapt to new climate conditions, helping mitigate impacts on various sectors, including water supplies, health risks, extreme events, farm productivity, and infrastructure development.

All you need to know about the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS)

  • The National Framework for Climate Services (NFCS) is based on the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS).
  • Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS): The GFCS is an international initiative that brings together governments and organizations at a global level. Its primary objective is to enhance the production and utilization of climate information and services. The GFCS was officially established following the announcement made during the third World Climate Conference held in Geneva in 2009.
  • Partnerships and Collaboration: GFCS emphasizes partnerships and collaboration among various stakeholders, including governments, meteorological and hydrological services (NMHS) at the national level, researchers, policymakers, planners, investors, and vulnerable communities or sectors.
  • User-Friendly Format: GFCS recognizes the importance of presenting climate information and services in a user-friendly format.
  • Data Generation: GFCS aims to generate high-quality climate data from both national and international sources. This data includes information on critical weather parameters such as temperature, rainfall, wind, soil moisture, ocean conditions, and more.

Major components:

  • Observations and Monitoring: This component focuses on collecting and monitoring climate-related data from various sources.
  • Research: Research activities contribute to the development of climate models and prediction tools.
  • Modeling and Prediction: Climate models and prediction systems are crucial for generating forecasts and long-term projections.
  • Climate Services Information System: This system facilitates the collection and management of climate data and information.
  • User Interface Platform: User-friendly platforms and tools are designed to make climate information accessible to a broad audience.

How India plans to implement NFCS?

  • Global Examples: India acknowledges the successful implementation of NFCS in countries like Switzerland, China, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Learning from their experiences, India can adapt and refine its own NFCS.
  • Advanced Stages: Several countries in Africa, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Guinea, Madagascar, Moldova, Niger, Senegal, Chad, Togo, Tanzania, Vanuatu, and South Africa, have made significant progress in NFCS implementation. India can draw lessons from these nations’ experiences.
  • Workshops and Consultations: India has taken an active role in organizing workshops related to NFCS, such as the one held in Pune. It is also planning national consultation workshops in collaboration with countries like Cuba, Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo-Brazzaville, and Ethiopia. These forums facilitate knowledge sharing and the exchange of best practices.
  • Historical Perspective: While the idea of NFCS in India dates back to 2008, its actual implementation faced delays. Given the increasing frequency of climate-related events, India now understands the urgency of accelerating NFCS implementation.
  • Mission-Mode Approach: To expedite NFCS, India is adopting a mission-mode approach. This approach involves a focused, time-bound, and high-priority effort, often driven by the highest decision-making offices in the country.
  • Statement Release: India is preparing to release an official statement on NFCS. This statement will outline the objectives, strategies, and expected outcomes of NFCS in India.

Conclusion

  • As climate variability and extreme events become increasingly common, India’s NFCS comes at a critical juncture. By involving key stakeholders and leveraging global partnerships, India can harness climate information to make informed decisions for a sustainable and climate-resilient future.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

China, US and India absent at Climate Ambition Summit

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Climate Ambition Summit (CAS)

Mains level: NA

 

Central Idea

  • The Climate Ambition Summit (CAS) held in New York during the United Nations General Assembly concluded.
  • China, the United States, and India, together responsible for about 42% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and ranking as the top three emitters, were missing.

Climate Ambition Summit (CAS)

Purpose Strengthen global climate action and increase climate ambition.
Anniversary of Paris Agreement Typically held on December 12th, coinciding with the Paris Agreement’s anniversary.
Linked to Paris Agreement Connected to the international treaty aiming to limit global warming to well below 2°C or 1.5°C.
Hosts and Participants Hosted by countries/regions; attended by heads of state, officials, organizations, and stakeholders.
Commitments and Pledges Platform for announcing climate commitments, NDCs, funding, and policy measures.
Climate Finance Discussions on financing mitigation and adaptation in developing countries.
Global Cooperation Emphasizes collective efforts and solidarity in addressing climate change.
Outcome Results in declarations and announcements reflecting increased ambition.
Subsequent COPs Contributions influence discussions at future UN Climate Change Conferences.
Climate Emergency Acknowledges climate emergency and the need for urgent, transformative action.
Non-State Actors Provides a platform for businesses, cities, and civil society to showcase actions.
Long-Term Goals May include goals like achieving net-zero emissions by mid-century.

India’s Involvement

  • India last updated its climate commitments in 2022, aiming to reduce emissions intensity (the volume of emissions per unit of GDP) by 45% from 2005 levels by 2030, a 10% increase from its 2015 commitment.
  • India also pledged to fulfill 50% of its electricity needs with renewable, non-fossil fuel energy sources and create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2-equivalent by 2030.
  • In 2021, PM Modi pledged that India would achieve net-zero emissions by 2070.
  • However, experts suggest these commitments may not be enough to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Disentangling the 2030 global renewable energy target

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Renewable energy targets. COP28

Mains level: Global renewable energy transition, regional disparities and equity in responsibility

What’s the news?

  • The 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) of the UNFCCC is scheduled to take place in Dubai from November 30 to December 12.

Central idea

  • The upcoming COP28 of the UNFCCC has put forth a bold proposal to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030. This aspiration is echoed in the G-20 declaration, albeit in a less committed manner. While the idea of such a target is appealing, a deeper examination raises significant concerns.

Current State of Renewable Energy Capacity

  • As of 2021, renewable energy sources (RES) accounted for 39% of the global installed capacity for electricity generation, totaling 3026 gigawatts (GW). However, their contribution to total electricity generation stood at only 28%.
  • Among RES, hydropower constituted over half, with solar and wind energy contributing about 36%.
  • To achieve the goal of tripling renewable energy capacity by 2030, we would need to add approximately 6,000 GW of RES capacity, primarily from solar and wind sources.

Regional Disparities

  • Electricity demand growth varies significantly among countries at different stages of development.
  • Developing nations like China and India experience rapid electricity demand growth, with annual consumption rates of 6.6% and 6.3%, respectively, between 2010 and 2019.
  • In contrast, the European Union (EU) saw a decline of 0.3%, and the United States experienced minimal 0.12% growth.
  • Only 21% of electricity in the U.S. is sourced from RES, including hydro and biomass. In the EU, 37% of electricity comes from RES.
  • The U.S. would need only about 26 GW of new RE capacity to meet additional demand. Its share of the global tripling target of 6000 GW by 2030 would be a mere 0.4%.
  • In contrast, India would require about 717 GW of RE capacity, constituting a 12% share of the target.

Challenges in achieving the goal of tripling global renewable energy capacity

  • Timeline for Capacity Addition: Tripling renewable energy (RE) capacity by 2030 presents a significant challenge in terms of the timeline for constructing and operationalizing renewable energy projects.
  • Scale of Electricity Generation: Achieving the target of tripling RE capacity would require generating approximately 13,000 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity from renewable sources alone.
  • Global Electricity Demand Growth: Global electricity demand has been growing at an average rate of 2.6% (pre-COVID-19 decade average). Meeting the tripling target implies that renewable energy would need to account for 38% of total global electricity production. Sustaining such growth in renewable energy production in line with demand is a complex task.

What are the issues with the global RES target?

  • Lack of Transparency in Origin: The origin of the global RES target proposed at COP28 lacks transparency. It appears to draw inspiration from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), but without clear documentation.
  • Inequitable Regional Distribution: The proposed target, as per the IRENA analysis, suggests that most of the non-RES capacity to be added by 2030 would be in developing regions.
  • Absolute Projections vs. Relative Targets: Absolute projections of installed RES capacity may not align with the growth in energy demand. Relative targets, which are less dependent on demand growth matching expectations, are considered more flexible and robust.
  • Dependency on Non-RES Capacity: Achieving a substantial increase in RES capacity may require corresponding non-RES capacity for grid stability and reliable energy supply.
  • Lack of Viable Storage Options: There is currently a lack of viable storage options at the scale envisioned by ambitious RES targets. Energy storage is essential to ensuring a stable energy supply when renewable sources are not generating electricity.
  • Challenges in Building National Grids: Scaling up RES capacity to such high levels would require extensive national grid development. Finding the necessary resources for these grids is challenging, particularly given the existing difficulties in meeting climate finance targets.
  • Targets for Developed Nations: The most vocal proponents of the global RES target do not have corresponding domestic targets. For instance, while India has committed to ambitious goals internationally, countries like the United States and the European Union lack absolute targets domestically. Their targets are often market signals rather than government-intervened commitments.

Way forward

  • Transparent Origin of Targets: Ensure transparency in the origin and basis of global renewable energy targets, such as those proposed at COP28. Clearly communicate how and why these targets were formulated.
  • Equitable Distribution of Responsibility: Advocate for an equitable sharing of responsibility among nations. Developed countries should commit to absolute domestic targets that align with their global climate commitments.
  • Relative Targets: Consider using relative targets alongside absolute targets. Relative targets are less dependent on specific demand growth projections, providing greater flexibility.
  • Support for Developing Nations: Provide financial and technical assistance to developing countries to help them meet their renewable energy targets. This includes support for grid development, energy storage, and renewable energy infrastructure.
  • Fossil Fuel Phase-Out: Encourage developed nations to accelerate the phase-out of fossil fuel-based electricity production. This step is vital for reducing carbon emissions and creating space for renewable energy capacity.
  • Investment in Energy Storage: Invest in research, development, and deployment of energy storage solutions at the scale required by ambitious renewable energy targets. Reliable energy storage is essential for grid stability.
  • Climate Finance Commitments: Commit to fulfilling climate finance targets, including the annual $100 billion target, to support climate-related projects across sectors, including renewable energy.
  • Policy Alignment: Align domestic policies with international climate agreements, such as the Paris Agreement. Governments should implement policies that promote renewable energy growth and the phase-out of fossil fuels.

Conclusion

  • As COP28 approaches, developing nations, especially India, should endorse the global tripling of the RES capacity target only if developed nations commit to absolute, equitable, and commensurate targets domestically. Achieving equity in responsibility is crucial to the success of the global renewable energy transition.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

GEF Assembly ratifies Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF)

Mains level: Not Much

Central Idea

  • The Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF) has been officially ratified and inaugurated during the Seventh Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) held in Vancouver, Canada.

Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF)

Key Points
Establishment Ratified and inaugurated during the Seventh Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
Purpose Channels financial resources to achieve goals of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework established by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), by the year 2030.
Financial Contributions Canada: 200 million Canadian dollars, United Kingdom: 10 million pounds.
Alignment with Framework Accelerates progress towards halting biodiversity decline by 2030.
Inclusivity and Indigenous Initiatives Allocates up to 20% for projects led by Indigenous communities.
Focus on Vulnerable Nations Over a third of resources dedicated to support Small Island Developing States.
Fulfilling Targets Contributes to commitment of $200 billion annually by 2030.
Funding Requirements Approximately $40 million needed for operationalization by end of 2023.
Future Contributions Dependent on domestic fiscal processes of key donors.
Council Meetings First meeting in January 2024, aims to approve inaugural work program in June.
Impact and Action Timely disbursement crucial for launching projects under the fund.

 About Global Environment Facility (GEF)

  • Establishment: The GEF was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, also known as the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).
  • Purpose: The GEF serves as an international financial institution that funds projects to address global environmental challenges, including biodiversity loss, climate change, land degradation, and pollution.
  • Funding Mechanism: It operates as a financial mechanism for several international environmental conventions, including:
  1. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD),
  2. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and
  3. United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
  • Structure: It has a governing body known as the GEF Council. The GEF is structured as a partnership between three main institutions:
  1. the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP),
  2. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and
  3. World Bank.
  • Funding Sources: The GEF is funded by contributions from its member countries, known as “donors.” Donors include both developed and developing nations, as well as international organizations.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organisation (ACTO)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: ACTO, Amazon Basin

Mains level: Not Much

amazon acto

Central Idea

  • In a landmark move, 8 South American countries have joined forces to address the critical issue of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest at the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organisation (ACTO) summit, hosted by Brazil.
  • It is intriguing to know that this summit is the first gathering of its kind in 14 years since the group was established.

What is ACTO?

  • Formation: ACTO is an international organization established to safeguard the Amazon basin and facilitate its sustainable development through international collaboration.
  • Founding Treaty: The Amazon Cooperation Treaty was crafted and signed on July 3, 1978, by Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela.
  • Evolution into ACTO: In 1995, these countries formalized their commitment by founding ACTO to actively pursue the objectives set forth in the original treaty.
  • Multilingual Platform: ACTO operates in four official languages: Dutch, English, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Need for ACTO

  • Deforestation: Clearing of land for agriculture, logging, mining, and infrastructure development leads to extensive deforestation, reducing the forest’s size and disrupting ecosystems.
  • Climate Feedback Loop: Deforestation disrupted the Amazon’s role as a carbon sink, potentially turning it into a carbon source and exacerbating climate change.
  • Illegal Logging: Unregulated and unsustainable logging practices contribute to deforestation, habitat destruction, and loss of biodiversity.
  • Indigenous Land Encroachment: Encroachment on indigenous lands and territories disrupts traditional ways of life and cultural practices, impacting both communities and ecosystems.
  • Forest Fire: Uncontrolled fires, often intentionally set for land clearance, can spread rapidly, destroying vast areas of forest and releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

ACTO’s Conservation and Development Initiatives

  • Amazonian Management: The ACTO member nations recognize that effective management of the Amazon basin is pivotal for advancing the well-being of its inhabitants.
  • Programs and Agreements: Collaborative programs and agreements have been established to ensure biodiversity preservation, promote conservation efforts, and manage the region’s resources.
  • Project GEF Amazonas: Funded by the Global Environment Facility, this program aims to secure agreement on a renewable and integrated water supply for sustainable development.
  • ACTO Biodiversity Program: This program focuses on maintaining a harmonious biological equilibrium to prevent fragmentation of Amazonian ecosystems.

Key Milestone: The Manaus Declaration (2004)

  • Purpose: ACTO played a pivotal role in formulating the Manaus Declaration in 2004, which coordinated the development of the vast rainforest area covering approximately 2.9 million square miles.
  • Commitment Reiteration: The declaration reaffirmed member countries’ dedication to fostering social and economic development in the Amazon while preserving its unique cultures.

Back2Basics: Amazon Rainforest

  • The Amazon Rainforest is a tropical rainforest situated in South America, primarily covering the Amazon Basin.
  • It extends across nine countries: Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana.
  • Renowned for its unparalleled biodiversity, the Amazon Rainforest harbors around 10% of Earth’s known species, making it one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet.
  • Encompassing approximately 5.5 million square kilometers, the Amazon Rainforest constitutes over half of the world’s remaining tropical rainforests.
  • Often referred to as the “lungs of the Earth,” the Amazon Rainforest plays a crucial role in global climate regulation by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen through photosynthesis.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Climate targets are becoming outdated: India needs its own

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Climate change mitigation efforts

Mains level: Climate change impact, mitigation targets, efforts and challenges, way forward

Climate

What’s the news?

  • The media’s attention has been focused on the 1.5 degrees Celsius warming target and the influence of El Niño this year. While crossing this temperature threshold is a cause for concern, the hyperbolic end-of-the-world messaging around the climate crisis deserves revaluation.

Central idea

  • The target in the Paris Agreement, to keep the planet’s surface from warming by 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, has been touted as a monumental goal. However, despite negotiations for more than two decades, global carbon emissions have not slowed. Also, the target was not derived scientifically. Instead of fixating on alarming scenarios, it is crucial to approach the climate challenge with a balanced perspective.

What is 2 Degrees Celsius Target?

  • In 2015, during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris, the Paris Agreement was adopted by nearly all countries of the world.
  • The central aim of the agreement is to keep global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
  • The 1.5 degrees Celsius target was introduced to address concerns raised by vulnerable nations, particularly small island states.
  • To achieve the 2 degrees Celsius target, countries are required to make nationally determined contributions (NDCs) that outline their planned efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The Paris Agreement emphasizes the importance of global cooperation and collective action to tackle climate change

What is Earth System Models (ESM’s)?

  • ESM’s are complex computational models used by climate scientists to simulate the Earth’s climate system.
  • These models are designed to represent the interactions and feedbacks between various components of the Earth system, including the atmosphere, oceans, land surface, ice, and biogeochemical processes.
  • These models use numerical methods to solve these equations over a grid covering the entire globe, allowing scientists to simulate climate processes and changes over both short and long-time scales.

Key concerns regarding 2 Degrees target

  • The 2 degrees Celsius target was not established based on robust scientific evidence or a comprehensive understanding of the potential impacts of such warming.
  • Despite the international efforts and commitments made under the Paris Agreement, global carbon emissions have not shown signs of significant reduction.
  • The 2 degrees Celsius target may not adequately address the regional variations in climate impacts.
  • ESM’s used for climate projections struggle to accurately simulate regional-scale climate variations, especially in places like the Indian subcontinent.
  • There are doubts about the ability to distinguish between the consequences of 1.5- and 2-degrees Celsius warming and to design region-specific climate adaptation policies.

Uncertainties for India

  • Uncertainties in ESM’s make it difficult to accurately predict regional climate impacts at the scale of the Indian subcontinent.
  • Climate change affects water availability, precipitation patterns, and glacial melt in the Himalayas. Unpredictability of these factors can have significant implications for India’s overall water security.
  • Uncertainties in climate projections impact India’s agricultural sector, making it challenging to predict crop yields and plan for food security.
  • Coastal areas in India, including major cities like Mumbai and Kolkata, are vulnerable to the impacts of rising sea levels, leading to increased risks of flooding and coastal erosion.
  • Climate change can exacerbate health issues, including heat-related illnesses, vector-borne diseases, and air pollution. Uncertainties in how climate change affects disease patterns make it challenging to plan and implement effective public health responses.

Way forward

  • Set ambitious and science-based climate targets that align with the latest climate research and international commitments.
  • Revisit the 2 degrees Celsius warming target and consider more stringent goals to limit global warming.
  • Invest in climate science and research to enhance the accuracy of regional climate projections and improve understanding of climate impacts on India.
  • Strategies should focus on sectors like agriculture, water resources, infrastructure, and health to build resilience against the impacts of climate change.
  • Accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydropower.
  • Develop and implement measures to protect coastal areas from sea-level rise and extreme weather events.
  • Strengthen public health systems to address health challenges related to climate change. This includes heatwave preparedness, disease surveillance, and measures to reduce air pollution.
  • Foster climate education and empower citizens to participate in climate mitigation and adaptation efforts.

Conclusion

  • The 2 degrees Celsius target, while widely accepted and seen as a significant milestone in addressing climate change, is not without its flaws and uncertainties. Going forward, it is essential for the global community to reassess and update climate targets based on the best available scientific evidence and consider the specific needs of different regions to effectively combat the climate crisis.

Also read:

Climate Change: Mission Adaptation A Comprehensive Measure

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

EU Nature Restoration Law faces backlash from Farmers

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Nature Restoration Law

Mains level: Not Much

eu nature restoration

Central Idea

  • The EU Parliament’s approval of a nature restoration law has sparked backlash and debate over plans to protect endangered ecosystems.
  • The law is a crucial part of the European Green Deal and aims to address the extinction of species and restore damaged habitats.

Nature Restoration Law: Why in news?

  • Objectives: The law aims to restore 30% of terrestrial, coastal, freshwater, and marine habitats by 2030, which are currently in poor condition.
  • Resistance: Farmers and conservative lawmakers strongly oppose the legislation, particularly concerning plans to restore drained peatlands. They argue that valuable agricultural land may be lost, leading to economic and social consequences and potential food security risks.

Importance of Peatlands and Environmental Impact

  • Peatland Carbon Storage: Peatlands, wetland ecosystems formed over thousands of years, store more carbon than any other ecosystem. They absorb nearly twice as much carbon dioxide as all of the Earth’s forests combined.
  • Drained Peatlands: When peatlands are drained for agriculture or other purposes, they transition from being carbon sinks to significant greenhouse gas sources, contributing to emissions.
  • European Peatlands: More than half of Europe’s peatlands have been permanently damaged, leading to approximately 7% of the continent’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Calls for Rewetting and Paradigm Shift

  • Rewetting Peatlands: The proposed legislation includes plans to rewet 50% of former peatlands in Europe, aiming to restore their environmental functions and mitigate climate change.
  • Paradigm Shift in Agriculture: Experts advocate for a paradigm shift in agriculture, moving away from farming on drained peatlands and investing in paludiculture (farming on wetlands), which is agriculture on rewetted peat soil. This approach would stop carbon emissions while improving soil and water quality.

Political Challenges and Compromises

  • Opposition by Conservative Groups: Conservative groups, including the European People’s Party, seek to reduce the scope of wetland restoration plans and oppose the conversion of agricultural land.
  • Concerns and Dissemination of Misinformation: Critics claim that villages could be cleared for wetland restoration, leading to economic and social fallout. However, these claims have been labeled as misinformation and populist.

Economic and Environmental Benefits

  • Long-Term Economic Return: The European Commission estimates that every euro invested in restoring natural resources would yield at least eight times the economic return over the long term.
  • Sustainable Land Use: While rewetted land may not support traditional monocultures, it could enable the growth of other crops, such as timber, grasses, and reeds for insulation materials and organic plastic substitutes. Revitalized areas could also become grazing grounds for alternative livestock.

Conclusion

  • The approval of the EU nature restoration law has sparked a debate between environmental conservation and agricultural interests.
  • While farmers express concerns over the potential loss of agricultural land and economic impact, environmentalists argue for the restoration of threatened ecosystems and the long-term benefits of sustainable land use.
  • The implementation of the law will play a crucial role in achieving the ambitious climate and biodiversity targets set by the European Green Deal.

 

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

A Stocktake before the Global Stocktake

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Climate finance mechanism, COP's etc

Mains level: Importance of Climate Finance, challenges and way forward

Central Idea

  • The recently concluded Bonn Climate Change Conference marked a significant milestone in global climate negotiations, setting the stage for the upcoming Global Stocktake at COP28 in Dubai. The outcomes of the Global Stocktake will guide countries in updating and enhancing their climate action plans

Relevance of the topic

  • Mobilizing climate finance is crucial to support climate mitigation and adaptation measures.
  • Developing countries, particularly those most vulnerable to climate impacts, require financial resources to implement projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, build resilience, and adapt to changing climatic conditions.
  • Questions on Climate change mitigation efforts, conferences and outcomes have been asked multiple times. Negotiations on Climate finance is often in the headlines.

What is The Global Stocktake?

  • The Global Stocktake mandated under Article 14(1) of the Paris Agreement, aims to assess collective progress towards long-term global climate goals, including greenhouse gas reduction, building climate resilience, and securing adequate finance.

key aspects of the Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement

  • Assessment of Progress: The primary purpose of the Global Stocktake is to assess collective progress made by countries in achieving the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement. This includes evaluating the implementation of countries’ nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and assessing the overall effectiveness of global climate actions.
  • Review of Mitigation Efforts: The Stocktake examines the mitigation efforts undertaken by countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It evaluates the adequacy and ambition of these efforts limiting global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • Assessment of Adaptation Measures: The Stocktake also considers the progress and effectiveness of adaptation measures implemented by countries to address the impacts of climate change. It assesses the extent to which countries are building resilience and adapting to the changing climate conditions.
  • Evaluation of Climate Finance: It examines the mobilization and allocation of financial resources to support climate actions, particularly from developed to developing countries. The Stocktake reviews progress towards the commitment of developed countries to jointly mobilize $100 billion annually by 2020 to support climate mitigation and adaptation efforts in developing nations.
  • Technology Transfer and Capacity Building: The Stocktake reviews the efforts made in technology transfer and capacity-building activities to support developing countries in their climate actions. It assesses the provision of technology, knowledge, and technical assistance to enhance the capabilities of developing nations in implementing climate solutions.
  • Transparency and Reporting: Transparency and accountability are integral components of the Stocktake process. The Stocktake ensures that countries provide accurate and reliable information to facilitate an objective assessment of global progress.
  • Informing Future Climate Action: It provides guidance for countries to set more ambitious targets in their subsequent rounds of NDCs. The Stocktake also identifies areas where additional efforts and support are required to bridge the emissions gap and accelerate progress towards the Paris Agreement goals.

Outcomes of the Bonn Conference

  • Progress on Just Transition Pathways: Negotiators at the Bonn Conference made advancements in the development of ‘just transition pathways.’ The pathways will be further refined and finalized at COP28, with a focus on sectors such as energy and transport.
  • Emphasis on Ambitious Emission Reduction Efforts: The Bonn Conference highlighted the need for developing countries to enhance their emission reduction efforts. It emphasized that ambitious actions are crucial for achieving the goal of limiting global temperature rise.
  • Integration of Socio-economic Considerations: The conference underscored the importance of integrating socio-economic components into climate strategies. This approach recognizes the specific needs and priorities of each country, allowing for the alignment of low-carbon development pathways with broader sustainable development objectives.
  • Review of Climate Finance: The Bonn Conference brought attention to the issue of climate finance. The conference emphasized the need for improved accounting mechanisms and universal metrics to accurately track and allocate climate finance. It also highlighted the importance of involving institutions like the World Bank in climate finance discussions to enhance transparency and accountability.
  • Advancement of Mitigation Work Programme: The conference discussed the Mitigation Work Programme, which aims to scale up mitigation efforts in this decade. The work programme aligns with the goals of the Global Stocktake and aims to accelerate global mitigation actions

Challenges in Mobilizing Climate Finance

  • Insufficient Funds: One of the main challenges is the insufficiency of funds dedicated to climate finance. The commitment made by developed countries to mobilize $100 billion annually by 2020 for climate finance has not been fully met. Many observers argue that only a fraction of this target has been realized.
  • Accounting and Transparency: There is a need for improved accounting mechanisms and transparency in climate finance. Ensuring accurate tracking, reporting, and verification of financial flows for climate action is essential.
  • Adaptation Finance Gap: Adaptation finance, which supports efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change, lags behind mitigation finance. While there is a growing recognition of the importance of adaptation, the provision of financial resources for adaptation projects and programs remains limited
  • Complexity of International Financial Flows: The complexity of international financial flows poses a challenge in effectively channeling climate finance to where it is needed most.
  • Accountability and Conditionality: The conditionality of climate finance can also be a challenge, as the terms and conditions attached to financial assistance may not always align with the priorities and circumstances of the receiving countries.

Way forward

  • Fulfilling Financial Commitments: Developed countries must fulfill their commitment to jointly mobilize $100 billion annually for climate finance, as agreed upon at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. Efforts should be made to ensure that the committed funds are effectively mobilized and channeled.
  • Improving Accounting and Transparency: There is a need for improved accounting mechanisms and transparency in climate finance. Developing universally agreed-upon metrics for tracking climate finance will enhance transparency and ensure that financial resources are allocated and utilized effectively.
  • Bridging the Finance Gap: While mitigation finance has received significant attention, adaptation finance needs to be prioritized. Developing countries, particularly those vulnerable to climate impacts, require increased financial support to build resilience and adapt to changing climate conditions.
  • Mobilizing Public and Private Finance: Mobilizing climate finance requires a combination of public and private sector involvement. Governments should create an enabling environment for private investment in climate-friendly projects by providing policy certainty, risk reduction mechanisms, and incentives.
  • Enhancing Technology Transfer: Facilitating the transfer of climate-friendly technologies from developed to developing countries is essential. Developed countries should support technology transfer through financial and technical assistance, capacity building, and knowledge sharing.
  • Strengthening International Cooperation: Strengthening international cooperation and collaboration is crucial to mobilize climate finance effectively. Collaboration between governments, international financial institutions, and stakeholders is essential for scaling up climate finance.
  • Prioritizing Climate Finance in Global Agendas: Climate finance should be prioritized in global agendas and discussions. Ensuring adequate financial resources for climate action should be a key consideration in international negotiations, such as the Global Stocktake and COP meetings.

Conclusion

  • The Bonn Climate Change Conference served as a critical milestone in climate negotiations, setting the stage for the Global Stocktake at COP28. The integration of socio-economic components in climate strategies and the involvement of the World Bank were also highlighted as essential elements in addressing the climate crisis. Moving forward, it is imperative to prioritize equity, justice, and fairness in climate action to ensure a sustainable and resilient future for all

 

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) in Climate Financing

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG)

Mains level: Not Much

bonn climate

Central Idea

  • The New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) has emerged as a significant commitment in global climate financing at the recently-concluded Bonn climate conference in Germany.
  • The conference, which sets the stage for the upcoming Conference of Parties-28 (COP28) in Dubai, has exposed significant gaps in funding for climate action.

Conference of Parties (COP)

  • The Conference of Parties (COP) is a key international event where countries come together to address the urgent challenges posed by climate change.
  • It is the supreme decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • The COP brings together representatives from various countries to assess progress, negotiate agreements, and establish international climate policies and commitments.
  • The first COP took place in 1995 in Berlin, Germany, following the adoption of the UNFCCC in 1992.
  • Since then, the COP has been held annually, with each event designated by a specific number (e.g., COP21, COP22) indicating the sequential order.

 

What is New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG)?

  • The commitment of $100 billion per year till 2020 to developing nations by developed countries was set at the 2009 COP.
  • The cost estimates for addressing climate change indicate that billions, and possibly trillions, of dollars are required.
  • The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement emphasized the need for a NCQG for climate financing before 2025.
  • The NCGQ aims to account for the needs and priorities of developing nations and has been termed the “most important climate goal.”
  • It should reflect scientific evidence, respond to increased funding requirements for Loss and Damage, and involve developed countries increasing their commitments.

Need for NCQG

  • Developed countries provided $83.3 billion in 2020 out of the promised $100 billion per year.
  • However, an analysis by Oxfam suggests that these figures may be inflated by as much as 225% due to misleading and dishonest reporting.
  • The $100 billion target set in 2009 lacked clarity in terms of the definition and source of ‘climate finance.’

Challenges and Concerns

(A) Accessibility and Sustainability of Climate Finance

  • While the funds for climate finance have increased, they remain largely inaccessible to developing countries.
  • The majority of climate finance comes in the form of loans and equity, burdening developing nations with a debilitating debt crisis.
  • Only around 5% of climate finance is provided as grants, which severely limits the capacity of countries in need.

(B) Developed Countries’ Perspective

  • Developed countries argue that the NCQG should be seen as a collective goal for all countries.
  • This perspective places the burden of mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage on developing countries.
  • Experts raise concerns that developing nations may struggle to bear the costs while also ensuring sustainable infrastructure development.
  • Developed countries advocate for mobilizing private-sector investments and loans as a critical component of climate finance.

Future roadmap

  • A deadline looms for countries to agree on the NCQG before 2024.
  • While there is no official figure yet, estimates suggest that transitioning to a low-carbon economy requires annual investments of $4 trillion to $6 trillion.
  • Some propose setting separate targets or sub-goals for focus areas like mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage instead of a single aggregate figure.
  • The focus should be on scaling up concessional financing, halting debt creation, and transforming the NCQG into an equitable and people-led transition process.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM): A Flawed Approach to Climate Finance

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: CBAM and Climate finance Mechanism

Mains level: Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, challenges, implementation and

CBAM

Central Idea

  • The historical responsibility for climate change has primarily rested with advanced economies and their industrialization processes, while the poorer countries of the Global South have made negligible contributions. The Kyoto Protocol acknowledged the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities,” and the Paris Agreement emphasized voluntary emission targets for countries while requiring wealthier nations to provide financial transfers to developing economies.

Insufficient Climate Finance and Empty Promises by Industrialized Countries

  • Inadequate Financial Transfers: Despite the commitment made under the Paris Agreement to transfer $100 billion annually to developing economies for climate change mitigation and adaptation, the actual financial transfers have been far from sufficient. In 2020, out of the $83 billion deposited into the climate finance fund, less than $25 billion was transferred as grants.
  • Limited Support for Developing Countries: The Global South, comprising poorer nations, has been disproportionately affected by climate change, despite contributing minimally to the problem. These countries often lack the necessary resources and infrastructure to address the adverse effects of climate change
  • Empty Promises: The track record of empty promises regarding the flow of funds to the Global South casts doubt on the credibility of commitments made by wealthier nations. The failure to deliver on financial pledges raises questions about the sincerity and commitment of industrialized countries in addressing climate change and supporting developing economies in their climate action initiatives.
  • Impact on Climate Change Mitigation: Insufficient climate finance directly affects global efforts to mitigate climate change. Developing countries require financial resources to invest in clean technologies, renewable energy infrastructure, and sustainable development practices.
  • Equity and Climate Justice Concerns: Insufficient climate finance exacerbates existing inequities and injustices. The burden of climate change impacts falls disproportionately on vulnerable communities in developing countries who have contributed the least to the problem.
  • Loss and Damage: In addition to mitigation and adaptation efforts, financial support is crucial for addressing loss and damage caused by climate change impacts. Loss and damage refer to the irreversible and long-term damages, including economic losses and the displacement of communities, resulting from climate change.

CBAM

What is The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM)?

  • The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism is a proposed policy measure aimed at addressing the issue of carbon-intensive production methods in other countries. It involves imposing tariffs on imports from countries that are seen as utilizing carbon-intensive practices in their production processes.

The Objectives of the CBAM

  • Reducing Emissions: One of the primary objectives of the CBAM is to contribute to the reduction of the European Union’s (EU) emissions. By imposing tariffs on carbon-intensive imports, the mechanism aims to incentivize foreign producers to adopt cleaner and more sustainable production methods.
  • Preserving Competitiveness: The CBAM seeks to prevent carbon leakage, which refers to situations where industries move their production to countries with less stringent environmental regulations to avoid higher costs associated with carbon pricing.
  • Encouraging Carbon Intensity Reduction: The CBAM aims to motivate targeted countries, particularly major exporters to the EU, to decrease the carbon intensity of their exports. By imposing tariffs on carbon-intensive goods, the mechanism creates an economic incentive for these countries to transition towards cleaner and more sustainable production practices.

CBAM

Challenges and Legal Implications for Implementing CBAM

  • Measurement Challenges: One of the significant challenges of the CBAM lies in accurately measuring the carbon intensity of imported goods. Determining the exact carbon footprint of a product can be complex, especially when considering indirect emissions embodied in inputs or production processes.
  • Arbitrary Coverage and Product Selection: Deciding which products and sectors should be included in the CBAM’s coverage can be challenging. The mechanism’s effectiveness heavily depends on selecting the right products that have high carbon exposure and significant trade volumes. The process of determining coverage may involve some arbitrariness and requires careful consideration to avoid unintended consequences and trade distortions.
  • Compliance with WTO Rules: The CBAM raises legal implications in terms of compatibility with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. The mechanism’s unilateral nature, aiming to impose tariffs based on the carbon intensity of production processes, can be seen as a potential violation of WTO principles, including non-discrimination and national treatment.
  • Protectionism Concerns: There is a risk that the CBAM could be used as a form of protectionism by imposing tariffs on imports to shield domestic industries from international competition. This can undermine the principles of free trade and create tensions among trading partners. Careful design and implementation of the CBAM are necessary to ensure it does not become a tool for protectionist trade practices.
  • Incomplete Global Coverage: The effectiveness of the CBAM could be limited if not implemented globally. As of now, only a few countries have mechanisms in place for pricing carbon. The absence of a comprehensive global approach to carbon pricing and emission reduction may result in uneven playing fields and limited impact on overall global emissions.
  • Equity Considerations: The CBAM may have equity implications, particularly for developing countries. While it aims to incentivize carbon intensity reduction, the burden of adjustment falls primarily on countries that may lack resources and capacity to adopt cleaner technologies or transition rapidly.

Way Forward

  • Strengthen Climate Finance: Industrialized countries must fulfill their commitments to provide adequate climate finance to developing nations. Increasing financial transfers and grants to support climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts in the Global South is crucial. This includes honoring the $100 billion annual target set under the Paris Agreement and exploring innovative financing mechanisms.
  • Enhance Global Cooperation: International collaboration is essential to address climate change comprehensively. Governments, organizations, and stakeholders need to foster dialogue, share best practices, and collaborate on climate initiatives. Multilateral platforms, such UNFCCC, can serve as forums for cooperation, knowledge exchange, and collective decision-making.
  • Develop Comprehensive Carbon Pricing Mechanisms: Implementing comprehensive and robust carbon pricing mechanisms can incentivize emission reductions and promote the transition to low-carbon economies. Governments should explore carbon pricing mechanisms at both domestic and international levels, considering factors such as fairness, effectiveness, and economic feasibility.
  • Support Technology Transfer and Capacity Building: Developing countries require support in adopting and implementing clean technologies and building their capacity to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Enhanced technology transfer, knowledge sharing, and capacity-building initiatives can empower nations to address climate challenges effectively.
  • Promote Equity and Climate Justice: Efforts to combat climate change must prioritize equity and climate justice. It is essential to ensure that the burden of mitigation and adaptation does not disproportionately fall on vulnerable communities and developing countries. Equity considerations should be integrated into policy frameworks, financing mechanisms, and decision-making processes.
  • Strengthen International Trade and Climate Governance: The relationship between international trade and climate change needs to be addressed coherently. Collaborative efforts should be made to reconcile trade rules and climate objectives. Strengthening the World Trade Organization (WTO) and exploring ways to integrate climate considerations into trade agreements can foster synergies and avoid conflicts between trade and climate policies.
  • Encourage Innovation and Research: Investing in research and innovation is vital to develop and scale up transformative technologies and solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Governments, private sectors, and academia should collaborate to promote research and innovation in clean energy, sustainable agriculture, circular economy, and other climate-related fields.

CBAM

Conclusion

  • While the CBAM attempts to address carbon-intensive production methods and climate finance, it falls short in several areas. The inadequacy of climate finance transfers to the Global South and the history of unfulfilled promises undermines the potential success of future financing initiatives. A more comprehensive and equitable approach is required to effectively combat climate change while ensuring the burden is shared responsibly among nations.

Also read:

Transforming Global Financing for Sustainable Development: A Call for Concrete Action

 

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Inclusive Climate Leadership: Engaging All Parties for a Sustainable Future

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Climate change and related forums

Mains level: Climate change, challenges faced by climate vulnerable countries and Clean Energy Solutions

Climate

Central Idea

  • In recent weeks, a growing movement has emerged to remove Minister Sultan Al Jaber, the President-Designate of COP28 and CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, from his position. As representatives of climate-vulnerable developing nations like Bangladesh and the Maldives and as the leaders of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, underscore the urgency of the climate challenge. They argue that their economies have suffered staggering climate-related losses, amounting to $500 billion in the last two decades alone.

Campaign to Unseat the President-Designate of COP28

  • CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC): Sultan Al Jaber serves as the CEO of ADNOC, which is a national oil company. Critics argue that his role in an oil company creates a conflict of interest, as the fossil fuel industry is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
  • Concerns about Clean Energy Transition: Some argue that as the CEO of ADNOC, Sultan Al Jaber may not prioritize or advocate for a rapid and ambitious transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. They believe that his leadership in COP28 could hinder progress in achieving global climate goals.
  • Advocacy for Inclusive Approach: Those calling for his removal argue for a more inclusive approach to COP28 leadership, with a focus on engaging a broader range of stakeholders, including voices from climate-vulnerable countries and civil society, to ensure a more balanced representation and decision-making process.
  • Conflict of Interest and Lack of Impartiality: The campaign contends that Sultan Al Jaber’s position as the head of ADNOC raises concerns about conflicts of interest and impartiality in decision-making regarding climate policy and the transition to clean energy.

Sultan Al-Jaber’s Contributions in Advancing Clean Energy Solutions

  • Leadership in Renewable Energy: Sultan Al-Jaber has played a pivotal role in leading Masdar, a renewable energy company that has made substantial investments in solar and wind projects. Through Masdar’s initiatives, significant progress has been made in expanding renewable energy capacity and reducing dependence on fossil fuels.
  • Barakah Nuclear Power Plant: As part of the UAE’s clean energy efforts, Sultan Al-Jaber oversaw the opening of the Barakah nuclear power plant. This facility generates 6 gigawatts of clean power, further diversifying the country’s energy mix and reducing carbon emissions.
  • Tripling Global Renewable Energy Capacity: Sultan Al-Jaber, in collaboration with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), has championed the goal of tripling global renewable energy capacity by 2030. This ambitious target demonstrates his commitment to advancing the transition to clean energy on a global scale.
  • Practical Solutions for Clean Energy: Under Sultan Al-Jaber’s guidance, Masdar and IRENA have signed an agreement aimed at tripling global renewable energy capacity. This partnership focuses on implementing practical solutions and driving tangible results in clean energy deployment.
  • Advocacy for Clean Energy Investments: Sultan Al-Jaber has been an advocate for attracting investments in clean energy infrastructure. By promoting partnerships with sovereign wealth funds and multilateral development banks, he has sought to secure the necessary financial support for scaling up clean energy projects worldwide.
  • Vision for the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company: Sultan Al-Jaber envisions transforming the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company into the Abu Dhabi Clean Energy and Grid Company by 2030. This transition highlights his commitment to steering a fossil fuel-dependent economy towards a cleaner and more sustainable energy future.
  • Global Financial Reform: Sultan Al-Jaber has voiced support for global financial reform, including reforms within the International Monetary Fund. His advocacy underscores the recognition that financial systems must align with the goals of combating climate change and promoting sustainable development.

How Debt is posing As a Significant Impediment?

  • Unsustainable Debt Burden: Many developing nations, including those represented by Bangladesh and the Maldives, face significant debt burdens that hinder their ability to invest in clean energy infrastructure and climate adaptation measures. These debts often become increasingly unpayable, exacerbated by climate damages caused by emissions originating from other countries.
  • Financial Instability: The burden of unsustainable debt creates financial instability, limiting the fiscal capacity of developing nations to allocate resources towards climate-related initiatives. This instability further undermines their ability to attract investments in clean energy and impairs their overall economic development.
  • Limited Access to Finance: High levels of debt restrict developing countries’ access to affordable financing for clean energy projects. International financial institutions and private lenders may be hesitant to provide loans or invest in these countries due to their precarious debt situations, leading to a lack of financial resources necessary for transitioning to renewable energy sources.
  • Risk Perception: Unsustainable debt levels increase the perception of risk associated with investing in clean energy projects within these countries. Potential investors may view such projects as financially unstable or uncertain, further deterring crucial investment in renewable energy infrastructure.
  • Inability to Prioritize Climate Adaptation: Mounting debt obligations divert limited resources away from crucial climate adaptation efforts. Developing countries, particularly those most vulnerable to climate change, struggle to allocate sufficient funding to build resilient infrastructure, enhance disaster preparedness, and implement necessary adaptation measures.
  • Need for Collective Approach: The debt problem and its implications for clean energy investment and climate adaptation require a collective approach. Addressing the debt issue at a global level is essential to ensure that developing nations have the necessary financial support and space to prioritize sustainable development and climate action.
  • De-risking and Insurance Solutions: Sovereign wealth funds and multilateral development banks (MDBs) can play a significant role in de-risking restructured debts and insuring climate bonds. By providing financial mechanisms that reduce the perceived risk associated with investing in debt-ridden countries, these institutions can unlock clean energy investments and facilitate climate adaptation efforts.
  • Global Financial Reform: Tackling the debt impediment also necessitates global financial reform. Reforming international financial systems, including initiatives within institutions like the International Monetary Fund, can address the structural barriers that perpetuate unsustainable debt burdens and hinder sustainable development efforts.

Climate

Facts for prelims

Major Positive Outcomes of COP27 Summary of COP26
  • Agreement on the establishment of a loss and damage fund
  • Reaffirmation of the commitment to increase funding for adaptation
  • Launch of the first report by the High-Level Expert Group on the Net-Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities
  • Introduction of the Executive Action Plan for the Early Warnings for All initiative
  • Presentation of master plans to accelerate decarbonization in major sectors
  • Launch of the Food and Agriculture for Sustainable Transformation (FAST) initiative
  • Inadequate reduction commitments by developed countries
  • Exhaustion of a significant portion of the global carbon budget
  • Political disputes over the phasing out of coal
  • Doubts regarding developed countries’ ability to meet commitments

The Crucial Role of Finance in Enabling Clean Energy Transitions

  • Scaling Up Clean Energy Infrastructure: Adequate financing is crucial for scaling up clean energy infrastructure in both developed and developing countries. Investment in renewable energy projects, such as solar and wind power plants, is essential to transition away from fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Technology Development and Deployment: Finance plays a pivotal role in supporting the research, development, and deployment of innovative clean energy technologies. Investment in research institutions and initiatives facilitates the advancement of technologies like energy storage, carbon capture, and renewable energy integration into existing grids.
  • Access to Affordable Financing: Developing countries, in particular, require access to affordable financing options to facilitate their clean energy transitions. International financial institutions, governments, and private investors can contribute by providing loans, grants, and favorable investment conditions to ensure affordability and accessibility of clean energy technologies.
  • Climate Adaptation and Resilience: Financial resources are necessary for implementing climate adaptation measures and building resilience against climate change impacts. This includes developing climate-resilient infrastructure, improving disaster preparedness, and supporting vulnerable communities affected by climate-related events.
  • Capacity Building and Technical Assistance: Finance is crucial for capacity building initiatives and providing technical assistance to developing countries. This support helps enhance local expertise and knowledge in clean energy project development, management, and operation.
  • Mobilizing Climate Finance: Mobilizing climate finance is essential to fulfill the commitments made under international agreements like the Paris Agreement. Developed countries have committed to providing financial assistance to developing countries for mitigation and adaptation efforts, including the Green Climate Fund and other climate finance mechanisms.
  • Socially Responsible Investing: Finance plays a role in promoting socially responsible investing, where investors consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in their investment decisions. By allocating funds to clean energy projects and divesting from fossil fuels, investors can contribute to the transition towards a low-carbon economy.

Way ahead

  • Strengthen International Cooperation: Enhance collaboration and dialogue among nations, fostering a spirit of unity and shared responsibility in addressing the challenges of climate change. Strengthen international platforms like the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Conference of Parties (COP) to facilitate meaningful discussions and decision-making.
  • Ambitious and Equitable Commitments: Encourage all nations to enhance their commitments to greenhouse gas emissions reduction in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Emphasize the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, ensuring that developed countries take the lead while providing support to developing nations for their clean energy transitions.
  • Mobilize Climate Finance: Scale up financial resources dedicated to climate change mitigation and adaptation, particularly in developing countries. Developed nations should fulfill their commitment to provide $100 billion per year in climate finance, while exploring innovative financing mechanisms and private sector engagement.
  • Technology Transfer and Capacity Building: Facilitate the transfer of clean energy technologies from developed to developing countries, accompanied by capacity-building initiatives to enhance local expertise. Encourage knowledge sharing, technology partnerships, and the establishment of research and development centers to foster innovation in clean energy solutions.
  • Support Vulnerable Communities: Prioritize the needs of vulnerable communities, particularly those in climate-sensitive regions, by allocating resources for climate adaptation and resilience-building efforts. Ensure that climate finance reaches those most affected and that local communities are actively involved in decision-making processes.
  • Mainstream Climate Considerations: Integrate climate considerations into policymaking across sectors, including energy, transportation, agriculture, and urban planning. Foster collaboration between governments, businesses, and civil society to develop and implement climate-friendly policies and practices.

Climate

Conclusion

  • The leaders representing the most climate vulnerable developing nations urge American and European parliamentarians to embrace inclusivity. Collaborative and united action, with finance at the core, is vital for a successful COP28. Together, we must work tirelessly to save our planet and secure a sustainable future for all.

Also read:

India’s Possible Role in facilitating Loss and Damage Fund

 

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Mainstreaming Biodiversity: A Pivotal Step Towards a Sustainable Future

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Biodiversity, National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Wellbeing

Mains level: Biodiversity, significance challenges and conservation

Biodiversity

Central Idea

  • The observance of International Biodiversity Day on May 22 serves as a powerful reminder of the critical role our natural world plays in addressing the climate change crisis and the threat to our future posed by declining biodiversity. Preserving and enhancing biodiversity emerges as a cost-effective approach to sequester carbon dioxide and mitigate climate change.

What is Biodiversity?

  • Biodiversity refers to the variety of life forms found on Earth, including plants, animals, microorganisms, and their interactions within ecosystems. It encompasses the diversity of species, genetic diversity within species, and the diversity of ecosystems.
  • Biodiversity is not limited to specific areas but exists everywhere, from terrestrial habitats like forests, grasslands, and deserts to aquatic environments such as rivers, lakes, and oceans.
  • It also includes the diversity of habitats, ecological processes, and the complex web of relationships between organisms and their environment.
  • Biodiversity is crucial for the functioning of ecosystems and provides numerous benefits to humans. It supports essential ecosystem services, such as pollination, nutrient cycling, soil formation, and water purification.
  • Biodiversity also contributes to food security by providing a variety of crops, livestock, and wild foods. Additionally, it plays a vital role in medicine, as many pharmaceuticals are derived from natural sources.

Biodiversity

The Decline of Biodiversity: key contributing factors

  • Habitat Loss: The conversion of natural habitats into agricultural lands, urban areas, and industrial zones is a primary driver of biodiversity loss. Deforestation, land degradation, and habitat fragmentation disrupt ecosystems and displace numerous species.
  • Climate Change: Rising temperatures, altered precipitation patterns, and extreme weather events associated with climate change have a profound impact on biodiversity. Species may struggle to adapt or migrate quickly enough, leading to population declines and even extinction.
  • Pollution: Pollution, including air and water pollution, poses a severe threat to biodiversity. Chemical contaminants, such as pesticides, herbicides, and industrial pollutants, can accumulate in ecosystems and harm both flora and fauna.
  • Overexploitation: Unsustainable harvesting of wildlife, overfishing, and illegal wildlife trade put immense pressure on species populations. This overexploitation disrupts ecological balance and can lead to the collapse of ecosystems.
  • Invasive Species: Non-native species introduced into new environments can outcompete native species, disrupt ecological interactions, and cause harm to local ecosystems. Invasive species often lack natural predators or controls, allowing them to multiply rapidly.
  • Agricultural Practices: Intensive agricultural practices, including the use of chemical inputs, monoculture farming, and the destruction of natural habitats for agriculture, contribute to the loss of biodiversity. This impacts both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
  • Disease and Pathogens: The spread of diseases and pathogens, both natural and human-mediated, can have devastating effects on wildlife populations. Diseases can cause mass die-offs and population declines, leading to decreased biodiversity.
  • Inadequate Conservation Efforts: Inadequate conservation measures, weak enforcement of protective laws, and insufficient funding for conservation initiatives contribute to the decline of biodiversity. Conservation efforts are often fragmented and not prioritized, further exacerbating the problem.
  • Lack of Public Awareness and Engagement: Limited awareness among the general public about the importance of biodiversity and the consequences of its decline hinders collective action. Engaging communities and fostering a sense of responsibility towards biodiversity is crucial for effective conservation.

Reimagining Biodiversity Management: A holistic and inclusive approach

  • Multifunctional Landscapes: Moving beyond the traditional focus on forests, biodiversity management should encompass diverse ecosystems such as grasslands, savannas, alpine pastures, and deserts. Recognizing the value of multifunctional landscapes allows for the conservation and sustainable use of various ecological communities.
  • Community Engagement: Empowering local communities and indigenous groups in biodiversity management is crucial. Their traditional knowledge, practices, and direct involvement are valuable assets for effective conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Establishing platforms such as gram sabhas and biodiversity management committees facilitates community participation and decision-making.
  • Mainstreaming Biodiversity: Biodiversity considerations should be integrated into all sectors and aspects of society. Development programs, government departments, public and private institutions, and industries should incorporate biodiversity conservation and sustainable practices as core principles.
  • Policy and Legal Frameworks: Ensuring effective implementation of regulations, enforcing laws against biodiversity crimes, and revisiting policies that hinder biodiversity protection are key steps. It is also important to support the rights of indigenous communities and local stakeholders through legal mechanisms.
  • Education and Awareness: Promoting biodiversity education and raising awareness about its importance among the general public, policymakers, and stakeholders is crucial. This includes integrating biodiversity topics into educational curricula, conducting awareness campaigns, and disseminating information about the benefits of biodiversity conservation.
  • Research and Science-Based Approaches: Investing in scientific research, monitoring, and data collection is vital for evidence-based decision-making and effective biodiversity management. This includes studying biodiversity patterns, understanding ecosystem dynamics, and identifying key species and habitats for conservation priorities.
  • Collaborative Partnerships: Building partnerships and collaborations among various stakeholders is essential. This includes government agencies, non-governmental organizations, research institutions, local communities, and private sectors. Collaboration fosters knowledge sharing, resource mobilization, and the implementation of joint initiatives for biodiversity conservation.
  • Sustainable Financing: Ensuring sustainable financing mechanisms for biodiversity conservation is crucial. This includes exploring innovative funding models, leveraging public-private partnerships, and integrating biodiversity into sustainable development financing frameworks.
  • International Cooperation: Collaborating at the global level is necessary to address transboundary biodiversity issues. Sharing best practices, knowledge exchange, and aligning efforts with international conventions and agreements such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) can strengthen biodiversity management.

Facts for prelims

What is biosphere reserve?

  • Protected area: A biosphere reserve is an area of land or water that is protected by law in order to support the conservation of ecosystems, as well as the sustainability of mankind’s impact on the environment.

Current status of Biosphere reserves

  • Worldwide: There are 738 biosphere reserves in 134 countries, including 22 transboundary sites.
  • In India:
  • Presently, there are 18 notified biosphere reserves in India. Ten out of the eighteen biosphere reserves are a part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, based on the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme list.
  • In India, the first biosphere reserve was designated by UNESCO in 2000, namely, the blue mountains of the Nilgiris stretching over Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.

Our Role as Caretakers: key actions we can take as responsible stewards

  • Sustainable Land Use: Promoting sustainable land use practices is essential to minimize habitat loss and degradation. This includes supporting initiatives such as reforestation, afforestation, and sustainable agriculture that maintain ecosystem integrity.
  • Responsible Consumption: Making informed choices as consumers can have a significant impact on biodiversity. Supporting sustainable and ethically sourced products, reducing waste, and opting for environmentally friendly practices can reduce the demand for products that harm biodiversity.
  • Preservation of Natural Habitats: Protecting and preserving natural habitats, including forests, wetlands, and marine ecosystems, is critical. This involves advocating for the establishment and expansion of protected areas, national parks, and wildlife reserves.
  • Sustainable Fisheries: Supporting sustainable fishing practices, such as responsible fishing quotas, implementing fishing regulations, and avoiding overfishing, helps maintain healthy marine ecosystems and protect marine biodiversity.
  • Support Conservation Organizations: Contributing to and supporting conservation organizations and initiatives can make a significant difference. Donations, volunteering, and participation in citizen science projects can aid in research, conservation efforts, and advocacy for biodiversity protection.

Biodiversity

What is The National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Wellbeing?

  • Objective: The mission aims to integrate biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services into various sectors to address critical challenges related to climate change, regenerative agriculture, and ecosystem and public health.
  • Enhancing Human Wellbeing: The mission focuses on fostering human well-being by enhancing and conserving biodiversity. It aims to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals related to poverty alleviation, nutrition and health, and environmental protection.
  • People-Centric Approach: The mission recognizes the importance of active engagement and participation of all citizens in biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. It places people at the center of the mission’s activities.
  • Mainstreaming Biodiversity: The mission seeks to embed biodiversity considerations into development-oriented programs of both the public and private sectors. This ensures that biodiversity conservation becomes an integral part of decision-making processes and actions.
  • Education and Awareness: The mission aims to create awareness about the importance of biodiversity and foster curiosity about nature. It seeks to instill a sense of responsibility for safeguarding biodiversity in every child and student.
  • Nature-Based Solutions: The mission emphasizes the utilization of nature-based solutions to address challenges related to climate change, agriculture, and public health. It recognizes the value of ecosystems and biodiversity in providing sustainable solutions.
  • Traditional Knowledge and Community Participation: The mission promotes the integration of traditional knowledge and the active participation of local communities and indigenous groups in biodiversity management. It acknowledges their role in conservation efforts.
  • Sustainable Development Goals Alignment: The mission aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, aiming to contribute to poverty alleviation, nutrition and health, and environmental protection.
  • Pending Implementation: Although the mission has received preliminary approval from the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Council, it is still in the proposal stage and yet to be fully implemented.

Biodiversity

Conclusion

  • The mainstreaming of biodiversity represents a significant step toward securing a sustainable future. Recognizing the interconnectedness of all life forms and ecosystems, we must redefine our approach to biodiversity management. The proposed National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Wellbeing provides a roadmap and empowers all citizens to take part in safeguarding our precious natural heritage.

 

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

What is Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM)?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: CBAM

Mains level: Not Much

carbon

The Indian government will be analyzing how the European Union’s (EU’s) proposed carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) will affect the Indian industry. The CBAM is set to start from October this year.

Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM)

Proposed by European Union (EU)
Purpose To reduce carbon emissions from imported goods and prevent competitive disadvantage against countries with weaker environmental regulations
Objectives Reduce carbon emissions from imported goods

Promote a level playing field between the EU and its trading partners

Protect EU companies that have invested in green technologies

 

How does CBAM work?

Coverage Applies to imported goods that are carbon-intensive
Integration Covered by the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS), which currently covers industries like power generation, steel, and cement
Implementation CBAM taxes would be imposed on the carbon content of imported goods at the border, and the tax rates would be based on the carbon price in the EU ETS
Exemptions Possible exemptions for countries that have implemented comparable carbon pricing systems
Revenue Use Revenue generated from CBAM taxes could be used to fund the EU’s climate objectives, such as financing climate-friendly investments and supporting developing countries’ climate efforts

 

Who will be affected by CBAM?

Details
Countries Non-EU countries, including India, that export carbon-intensive goods to the EU
Items Initially covers iron and steel, cement, aluminium, fertilisers, and electric energy production
Expansion The scope of the CBAM may expand to other sectors in the future

Advantages of CBAM

  • Encourages non-EU countries to adopt more stringent environmental regulations, reducing global carbon emissions.
  • Prevents carbon leakage by discouraging companies from relocating to countries with weaker environmental regulations.
  • Generates revenue that could be used to support EU climate policies.

Challenges with CBAM

  • Difficulty in accurately measuring the carbon emissions of imported goods, especially for countries without comprehensive carbon accounting systems.
  • Potential for trade tensions with the EU’s trading partners, especially if other countries implement retaliatory measures.

Conclusion

  • The CBAM is a proposed policy by the EU to reduce carbon emissions from imported goods and to promote a level playing field between the EU and its trading partners.
  • Although the CBAM has its challenges, it has the potential to incentivize non-EU countries to adopt more stringent environmental regulations and reduce global carbon emissions.

 

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your personal mentor for UPSC 2024 | Schedule your FREE session and get Prelims prep Toolkit!

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

UN allows Deep Sea Mining operations from July

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Deep Sea Mining

Mains level: Not Much

mining

Central idea: The International Seabed Authority has announced that it will start accepting applications from companies for deep sea mining from July.

Why in news?

  • This decision was made in the absence of a mining code that has not been put in place yet.

What is Deep Sea Mining?

  • Deep-sea mining is the process of extracting minerals from the deep ocean floor.
  • The minerals that are extracted can include valuable metals such as copper, gold, nickel, and manganese, as well as rare earth metals that are used in high-tech devices such as smartphones, computers, and electric vehicles.
  • The minerals are found in the form of polymetallic nodules that are located on the ocean floor at depths of around 4 to 6 kilometers.
  • Deep-sea mining involves the use of specially designed equipment that can withstand the extreme pressure and temperature conditions found at these depths.

About International Seabed Authority

  • The International Seabed Authority is a Jamaica-based organization established under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
  • The authority holds jurisdiction over the ocean floors outside of the Exclusive Economic Zones of its 167 member states.

Reasons behind undersea mining

  • The mining is aimed at extracting cobalt, copper, nickel, and manganese from the ocean’s floor.
  • The undersea mining will extract key battery materials from polymetallic nodules found at depths of 4 kilometers to 6 kilometers.
  • These nodules are potato-sized rocks containing cobalt, copper, nickel, and manganese.

Key concern: Mining code missing

  • Despite 10 years of discussion, there is no mining code in place.
  • The governing council of ISA is uncertain about the process it should adopt for reviewing applications for mining contracts.

Issues with deep-sea mining

  • Deep-sea mining is a controversial issue that has raised concerns among non-governmental organizations, experts, and some countries.
  • One major concern is the potential damage to the seabed and the essential function of deep-sea ecosystems in regulating the climate.
  • Mining activities can also have wider impacts on fish populations, marine mammals, and other ocean life.

Tap to read more about

India’s Deep Ocean Mission


Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Climate Justice and Accountability: Can Countries be Sued for Failing to Avert Climate Emergencies

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Climate change negotiations

Mains level: Climate change negotiations, Climate Justice

Central Idea

  • The UN General Assembly has asked the International Court of Justice to weigh in on whether countries can be sued under international law for failing to avert climate emergencies, reflecting the frustration of the international community with global climate agencies and the need for more effective climate action.

Background

  • Resolution by Vanuatu: The resolution, sponsored by the small Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, was adopted unanimously, indicating global consensus on the climate crisis.
  • Delay climate action: Frustration with the procedures of global climate agencies, particularly the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), stems from their deliberations often ending in compromises that delay climate action.
  • ICJ’s decision carries moral weight: The Hague-based court’s opinion will not be binding but carries moral weight, potentially setting the stage for countries to incorporate climate justice in their legal frameworks.

Role of ICJ and its jurisdiction

  1. Contentious: Contentious jurisdiction refers to the ICJ’s authority to resolve legal disputes between consenting states. Decisions made under contentious jurisdiction are binding
  2. Advisory:
  • Advisory jurisdiction allows the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the Security Council (SC), and other specialized bodies of the organization to request the ICJ’s opinion on a legal question.
  • The ICJ’s advisory opinions are non-binding. However, they hold significant normative weight and serve to clarify international law on relevant issues.
  • The ICJ’s advisory opinion on climate change can be useful in climate-related litigation at the national level.

Previous attempts to address climate change in non-environmental forums

  • Global warming on agenda: Global warming has been part of the UN Security Council’s agenda since 2007, with the UNSC attempting to frame the issue from a security standpoint, rather than solely from developmental or environmental perspectives.
  • Securitization of climate change: Developing countries, including India and China, have rightly resisted the securitization of climate change, arguing that it could lead to the imposition of sanctions and other coercive measures.
  • Rights and justice: The use of rights and justice vocabulary has given the Vanuatu-sponsored proposal more traction and global support.

Rights and justice vocabulary and recent developments

  • Climate justice: The Vanuatu-sponsored proposal emphasizes the importance of climate justice in addressing the issue.
  • Right to reparations: Countries have started asserting their right to reparations after climate emergencies, such as Pakistan after the devastating floods in 2020 and the recent discussions on loss and damage during the COP26 conference in Glasgow.
  • Rising climate litigation cases worldwide: The rise of climate litigation cases worldwide, where citizens and organizations sue governments and corporations for their failure to act on climate change, highlights the growing demand for climate justice.

Challenges in holding countries accountable

  • Holding individual accountable: Holding individual countries or governments accountable for their climate inaction has been a major stumbling block at several climate meets.
  • Compensation issue: The Paris Agreement contains a clause specifying that the pact does not involve or provide a basis for any liability or compensation, inserted under pressure from US diplomats.
  • Adamant stance: American support for the UNGA resolution was reportedly reluctant, indicating that powerful countries might resist being held accountable for their climate inaction.

Conclusion

  • The UNGA’s intervention should not detract from the task of reforming the UNFCCC. Institutions of the umbrella climate agency need to be more equity-sensitive and justice-oriented. Engaging with the ICJ could push it in that direction, but wealthier members of the UNFCCC must show more initiative. The growing demand for climate justice and the increasing number of climate litigation cases highlight the importance of addressing the issue in a just and equitable manner.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Climate Change: Mission Adaptation A Comprehensive Measure

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Mission Adaptation

Mains level: Climate change, Allocation of funds and Mitigation measures Mission Adaptation

Central Idea

  • The budget for 2023-24 in India includes some measures towards climate change mitigation, but adaptation has not been given adequate attention. The government needs to adopt a Mission Adaptation to create a supportive ecosystem for all entities to come together and work towards developing locally-sound adaptation solutions.

Climate Change Mitigation Measures

  • Allocation for green transition: The budget for 2023-24 in India has allocated funds towards climate change mitigation, with a focus on green growth initiatives targeted at reducing the carbon intensity of the economy such as green mobility, energy efficiency, and the green hydrogen mission announcement.
  • Promoting nature based initiatives: Nature-based solutions such as the mangrove plantation initiative and the community-based wetland conservation scheme also promise to have potentially positive impacts in mitigating climate change.

Lack of Attention to Climate Change Adaptation

  • Climate change is addressed indirectly: While climate change mitigation has received attention in the budget, climate change adaptation has been addressed only indirectly.
  • No measures towards enhancing resilience: The budget does not include measures towards enhancing the resilience of communities and habitations to climate change’s impact, despite India’s high vulnerability to climate change.
  • For instance: Measures to account for climate change-induced risks, such as the recent example of Joshimath, do not find explicit mention in the budget.

Funding for Adaptation

  • Adaptation has traditionally received far less attention than mitigation in the global climate discourse, resulting in lower funding for adaptation.
  • In India, the ratio of funding for climate adaptation to mitigation stands at 1:10. While funding for mitigation is also underfunded, with only 25% of the requirement met, the gap for adaptation stands much higher, at only 7.9% of the needed funds.

Challenges in Funding Adaptation

  • Adapting to climate change often requires highly local and nature-based solutions that do not have a classically-measured ROI. Consequently, mainstream, interest-seeking capital flowing into adaptation is scant.
  • Climate adaptation has largely remained a publicly-funded endeavor in India, with nearly 100% of the funding for adaptation coming from public sources. International funding has also remained scarce due to the skewed discourse on climate change.

The Need for a Strategic Investment

  • Climate shocks are anticipated to get more frequent and severe, and in the absence of resilience-building for communities and habitations, the impact could be devastating.
  • The public sector must view resilience building as a strategic priority and actively address this matter.
  • Climate adaptation must come to be seen as a strategic investment by the public sector, which it must make in order to climate-proof lives, livelihoods, the environment, and the economy.

Mission Adaptation

  • Mission Adaptation is a term used in the context of climate change and refers to the need for a strategic, proactive approach to building adaptive capacity in order to climate-proof lives, livelihoods, the environment and the economy.
  • It is a proposed initiative for creating a supportive ecosystem for all entities, including the private sector, non-profits, and civil society, to come together and work towards developing and scaling up locally-sound adaptation solutions in India.
  • The idea is to view climate adaptation as a strategic investment by the public sector and to bridge complex challenges faced by society today using the idea of public purpose to guide policy and business activity.

Conclusion

  • Given the increasing frequency at which climate-related stress is occurring and is expected to occur, the public sector will remain a crucial contributor to funding for climate adaptation. The government must work towards developing a more systemic understanding of resilience and support efforts aimed at building such an understanding across the ecosystem to make Mission Adaptation a reality.

Are you an IAS Worthy Aspirant? Get a reality check with the All India Smash UPSC Scholarship Test

Get upto 100% Scholarship | 900 Registration till now | Only 100 Slots Left


 

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Key takeaway of the IPCC Synthesis Report

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: IPCC

Mains level: Not Much

ipcc

The IPCC Synthesis Report warns that the world is on track to breach the 1.5-degree Celsius global warming limit by the 2030s, which would cause irrevocable damage to the planet’s ecosystem and severely impact humans and other living beings.

What is IPCC Synthesis Report?

  • The IPCC Synthesis Report is a summary report produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that presents key findings and policy recommendations from the group’s previous assessment reports.
  • It aims to provide policymakers with a concise overview of the current state of knowledge on climate change, its impacts, and options for mitigation and adaptation.
  • The Synthesis Report is released at the end of each assessment cycle, which typically takes six to seven years, and is approved by representatives from the IPCC’s member governments.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

  • The IPCC, an intergovernmental body was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  • It was later endorsed by the UN General Assembly. Membership is open to all members of the WMO and UN.
  • The IPCC produces reports that contribute to the work of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the main international treaty on climate change.

 

Key highlights of the synthesis report

  • Climate extremes on rise: Due to the current global warming levels, almost every region across the planet is already experiencing climate extremes, an uptick in deaths due to heatwaves, reduced food and water security, and damage to ecosystems, causing mass extinction of species on land and in the ocean.
  • High vulnerability: More than three billion people live in areas that are “highly vulnerable” to climate change.
  • Boost up climate finance: The largest gaps in climate finance are in the developing world, but so too are the largest opportunities.

Key concerns raised

The report highlights the urgent need for-

  • Limiting the use of fossil fuels
  • Increasing finance to climate investments
  • Expanding the clean energy infrastructure,
  • Reducing nitrogen pollution from agriculture, curtail food waste, and
  • Adopting measures to make it easier for people to lead low-carbon lifestyles

Conclusion

  • The report adds that there is still a chance to avert this mass-scale destruction, but it would require an enormous global effort to slash greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and completely phase them out by 2050.

Are you an IAS Worthy Aspirant? Get a reality check with the All India Smash UPSC Scholarship Test

Get upto 100% Scholarship | 900 Registration till now | Only 100 Slots Left

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Climate Change: Role of International Courts

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: ICJ, COP-27, Loss and damage fund

Mains level: Role of ICJ in Climate change negotiations, Small Island Nations

Climate Change

Central Idea

  • A group of 16 countries has launched a gallant effort to fight the problem of climate change an existential threat to human civilization at the United Nations (UN). Led by Vanuatu an island country in the South Pacific Ocean, the group seeks an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the issue of climate change.

Get your Rs 10,000 worth of UPSC Strategic Package for FREE | PDFs, Zoom session, Tests, & Mentorship

What is International Court of Justice (ICJ)?

  • The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN). It was established in 1945 and is located in The Hague, Netherlands.
  • It has the authority to settle legal disputes between states and to provide advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by the UN General Assembly, the Security Council, and other authorized UN bodies.
  • The ICJ is composed of 15 judges elected for nine-year terms by the UN General Assembly and the Security Council.
  • Its decisions are binding and final, and the court’s role is to settle legal disputes in accordance with international law.

Climate Change

ICJ has two types of jurisdictions: Contentious and Advisory

  • Contentious: Contentious jurisdiction refers to the ICJ’s authority to resolve legal disputes between consenting states. Decisions made under contentious jurisdiction are binding
  • Advisory:
  • Advisory jurisdiction allows the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the Security Council (SC), and other specialized bodies of the organization to request the ICJ’s opinion on a legal question.
  • The ICJ’s advisory opinions are non-binding. However, they hold significant normative weight and serve to clarify international law on relevant issues.
  • The ICJ’s advisory opinion on climate change can be useful in climate-related litigation at the national level.

Emergence of Vanuatu’s initiative

  • Failure to deliver concrete solutions to Climate Change: Notwithstanding the presence of several international legal instruments on climate change such as the UNFCC, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, the international community has fallen short of delivering concrete solutions to the problem of climate change.
  • COP-27 Fails to Resolve Differences: The recently concluded 27th UN Climate Change Conference (COP-27) where countries failed to narrow their differences on critical issues such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Countries were unable to reach a consensus on meaningful action.
  • Vulnerability of Small Island Developing (SID) states:
  • SID states such as Vanuatu are most vulnerable to rising temperatures and sea levels.
  • Accordingly, in September 2021, Vanuatu launched an initiative, through the UNGA, to seek an advisory opinion from the ICJ to clarify the legal obligations of all countries to prevent and redress the adverse effects of climate change.
  • Since then, the initiative has gathered momentum with more than 100 countries backing the idea. Specifically, the draft resolution piloted by Vanuatu seeks answers to the following questions from the ICJ.

The Legal questions

  1. What are the international law obligations of countries toward the protection of the climate system from anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases for the present and future generations?
  • Answer: The ICJ will interpret existing climate change law and use customary international law to fill gaps, including the ‘no-harm’ (states are under an obligation that activities within their jurisdiction do not damage other countries) principle, to clarify the Paris Agreement.
  1. What are the legal consequences for states that have caused significant harm to the climate system, the SID states and other people of the present and future generations?
  • Answer: Demands for climate reparations are made as part of climate justice, where historically high-emitting rich countries compensate developing countries affected by climate change. The ICJ can provide legal principles for the ‘loss and damage’ fund.

Confusion over loss and damage fund

  • Little clarity on funding: At COP-27, it was agreed to establish a loss and damage fund to financially assist vulnerable developing countries. However, there is little clarity on which countries will provide the funding.
  • Historical responsibility yet to be determined: Moreover, the connection between funding and the historical responsibility of developed countries in emissions is yet to be determined.

Role of International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS)

  • It is not just the ICJ whose advisory opinion is being sought: The Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law, comprising countries like Antigua and Barbuda and Tuvalu, has sought the advisory opinion of the Hamburg-based ITLOS.
  • To determine obligations under UNCLOS: ITLOS has been asked to determine countries’ obligations under United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea regarding marine pollution, which is linked to ocean warming, sea level rise, and acidification.

Climate Change

Conclusion

  • As part of a multi-pronged approach to saving our planet, one should welcome the role of international courts. Developed countries and groupings like the G-20 should support these laudable initiatives of the SID states. Environment and climate sustainability are important themes of G-20. India, as the president of the G-20, should take a lead given its relentless emphasis on LiFE (developing environment-friendly lifestyle) campaign.

Mains Question

Q. What is Loss and damage fund? Discuss the legal questions that Vanuatu seeks to clarify through the ICJ.

Attempt UPSC 2024 Smash Scholarship Test | FLAT* 100% OFF on UPSC Foundation & Mentorship programs

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

India’s Rich Biodiversity Needs Science Based Implementation

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: 30×30 pledge, PM-STIAC, PM-PRANAM, MISHTI, Amrit Dharohar scheme

Mains level: Government initiatives for biodiversity conservation

Biodiversity

Central Idea

  • The sum and variation of our biological wealth, known as biodiversity, is essential to the future of this planet. India currently hosts 17% of the planet’s human population and 17% of the global area in biodiversity hotspots, placing it at the helm to guide the planet in becoming biodiversity champions.

Get your Rs 10,000 worth of UPSC Strategic Package for FREE | PDFs, Zoom session, Tests, & Mentorship

What is 30×30 pledge?

  • The importance of our planet’s biodiversity was strongly articulated at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference in Montreal, Canada.
  • On December 19, 2022, 188 country representatives adopted an agreement to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by conserving 30% of the world’s land and 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030, known as the 30×30 pledge.

Government’s efforts, Programs with potential

  • Green Growth push in Budget: The Union Budget 2023 mentioned Green Growth as one of the seven priorities or Saptarishis. The emphasis on green growth is welcome news for India’s biological wealth as the country is facing serious losses of natural assets such as soils, land, water, and biodiversity.
  • Green India Mission: The National Mission for a Green India aims to increase forest cover on degraded lands and protect existing forested lands.
  • Green Credit Programme: The Green Credit Programme has the objective to incentivize environmentally sustainable and responsive actions by companies, individuals and local bodies.
  • The MISHTI Program: The Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats & Tangible Incomes (MISHTI) is particularly significant because of the extraordinary importance of mangroves and coastal ecosystems in mitigating climate change.
  • PM-PRANAM: The Prime Minister Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment, and Amelioration of Mother Earth (PM-PRANAM) for reducing inputs of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides is critical for sustaining our agriculture.
  • Amrit Dharohar scheme: The Amrit Dharohar scheme is expected to encourage optimal use of wetlands, and enhance biodiversity, carbon stock, eco-tourism opportunities and income generation for local communities. If implemented in letter and spirit, Amrit Dharohar, with its emphasis on sustainability by balancing competing demands, will benefit aquatic biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • For instance: The recent intervention by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to stop the draining of Haiderpur, a Ramsar wetland in Uttar Pradesh, to safeguard migratory waterfowl is encouraging.

Programs must be science-based

  • Evidence-based implementation: It is critical that these programs respond to the current state of the country’s biodiversity with evidence-based implementation.
  • A science-based and inclusive monitoring programme: A science-based and inclusive monitoring programme is critical not only for the success of these efforts but also for documentation and distillation of lessons learnt for replication, nationally as well as globally.
  • Employing modern concepts of sustainability: New missions and programmes should effectively use modern concepts of sustainability and valuation of ecosystems that consider ecological, cultural, and sociological aspects of our biological wealth.
  • Setting clear boundaries and priorities: With clear system boundaries, prioritisation of the benefits to resource people, and fund-services (rather than stock-flows) as the economic foundation for generating value has enormous potential for multiple sustainable bio-economies.
  • Efficient water use patterns: The future of our wetland ecosystems will depend on how we are able to sustain ecological flows through reduction in water use in key sectors such as agriculture by encouraging changes to less-water intensive crops such as millets as well as investments in water recycling in urban areas using a combination of grey and blue-green infrastructure.
  • Focus must be on ecological restoration: As far as the Green India Mission is concerned, implementation should focus on ecological restoration rather than tree plantation and choose sites where it can contribute to ecological connectivity in landscapes fragmented by linear infrastructure.
  • Choices should be made on evidences of resilience: Choice of species and density should be informed by available knowledge and evidence on resilience under emerging climate change and synergies and trade-offs with respect to hydrologic services.
  • Careful site selection for mangrove initiative: Site selection should also be carefully considered for the mangrove initiative with a greater emphasis on diversity of mangrove species with retention of the integrity of coastal mud-flats and salt pans themselves, as they too are important for biodiversity.
  • Effort in response: In response to these needs, we hope that the National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Wellbeing (Mission to green India’s economy, restore natural capital, and make India a global leader in applied biodiversity science) already approved by PM-STIAC, will be immediately launched by the government.

Did you know?

Grey and Blue-Green Infrastructure

  • Grey infrastructure: It refers to traditional man-made infrastructure, such as buildings, roads, and bridges, that are designed to provide human-made services like transportation, water supply, and waste management.
  • Blue-green infrastructure: It is designed to mimic the functions of natural ecosystems, such as wetlands, rivers, and forests, to provide services like stormwater management, water purification, and carbon sequestration.
  • Example: It includes, Rainwater harvesting systems that capture rainwater and recharge groundwater, green roofs that provide insulation and absorb rainwater, Urban parks and green spaces that improve air quality and provide habitat for wildlife, Wetlands and retention ponds that filter pollutants and store excess water during floods
  • Sustainable and resilient: Blue-green infrastructure is often seen as a more sustainable and resilient alternative to traditional grey infrastructure, as it can help to mitigate the impacts of climate change, reduce urban heat island effects, and enhance the quality of life for urban residents

Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC):

  • PM-STIAC is a high-level advisory body that provides strategic guidance on science, technology, and innovation to the Prime Minister of India.
  • Advises the Indian Prime Minister on science and technology policy, identifying emerging areas, recommending missions and projects, and enhancing the effectiveness of science and technology to tackle national challenges.
  • The council comprises eminent scientists, technologists, entrepreneurs, and policymakers who are appointed by the Prime Minister.
  • PM-STIAC also serves as a forum for stakeholders from academia, industry, and government to interact and collaborate on science and technology initiatives.

Local community involvement

  • Efforts must be inclusive: Each of these efforts must be inclusive of local and nomadic communities where these initiatives will be implemented.
  • Traditional practices should be integrated: Traditional knowledge and practices of these communities should be integrated into the implementation plans.

Conclusion

  • Each of the above-mentioned programs has the potential to greatly improve the state of our nation’s biodiversity if their implementation is based on the latest scientific and ecological knowledge.

Mains Question

Q. What is 30×30 pledge? Discuss some of the key programs taken by the government to promote green growth and biodiversity conservation.

Attempt UPSC 2024 Smash Scholarship Test | FLAT* 100% OFF on UPSC Foundation & Mentorship programs

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Intra-national COP: An innovative approach of cooperation

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: Intranational COP, Cooperative federalism for effective climate action

national

Context

  • India revised its target to reduce the carbon intensity of its GDP to 45 percent by 2030, more ambitious than the earlier target of 34 percent. These National carbon emission targets were globally appreciated and have further strengthened its leadership position in climate action.

Crack Prelims 2023! Talk to our Rankers

Spirit of cooperative federalism is needed to achieve this target

  • In order to effectively address climate change, India needs to involve all of its states and Union Territories. During recent climate summits, the states and UTs have not been active participants.
  • A new approach to cooperation between states and UTs on climate action is needed, similar to the cooperation used in the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). This will lead to better results in public sector actions to tackle climate change.

Role of states

  • Power of States and UTs: Provisions in the Constitution of India, legislations of the Parliament, executive orders, and judicial decisions enable states/UTs to have a substantial influence on matters pertaining to land, electricity, mobility, labour, pollution control, skill building, law and order, financial incentives for commercial activities, etc.
  • Role of States and UTs in Policy Implementation: States/UTs can become prime movers in the last mile through interventions in policy, regulation, and project implementation.
  • Potential of India’s Cooperative Federalism: During the ongoing winter session of Parliament, the Prime Minister of India also emphasised the potential of India’s cooperative federalism in becoming ‘a torch bearer of the world’ in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while addressing its Rajya Sabha.

How India’s model of ‘Intranational COP’ will work?

  • Utilizing GST council model for climate action: Climate action is a unifying theme, and creating a forum similar to the Goods and Services Taxes (GST) council, which created successful engagement models during the pan-India roll-out of GST, can be helpful.
  • Facilitating cross-party dialogue: This intra-country group, Intranational COP, can offer opportunities for sharing a stage across parties in a neutral setting where outcome-oriented conversations can take place.
  • Promoting cooperative and competitive federalism for Net Zero: It can kindle the friendly spirit of cooperative and competitive federalism with each state/UT committing to bolder actions towards net zero.
  • Measuring stakeholder performance through consensus building: It can potentially introduce new evaluation parameters for measuring the performance of stakeholders based on their ability to build consensus across boundaries while keeping aside their myopic and constricted vote-bank-centered politics.
  • Learning and Leveraging Best Practices: Climate change is a new and dynamic topic for all stakeholders. It is an equaliser where no state/UT has any inherent advantageous positions. States/UTs can learn best practices from each other to implement, achieve, and measure the outcomes of their actions.

Electricity distribution: A case of cooperation

  • Today, though a project is conceived, financed, and implemented by central agencies, site-specific mobilisation of resources requires the active cooperation of the states/UTs.
  • An important case in point can be electricity distribution, where states can exponentially augment India’s clean energy ambitions.
  • Furthermore, they can directly support municipal corporations/village panchayats in innovating customised approaches for faster and inclusive adoption of national climate goals in line with the socioeconomic and cultural sensitivities of the region.

‘Intranational COP’ for common but differentiated responsibilities

  • Forum for addressing Climate Change within India: It is well-established that some parts of India are economically more developed as compared to others. This translates to the fact that the relatively more prosperous regions contribute more to India’s carbon emissions. Such states are better positioned to initially invest in expensive low-carbon technologies and disseminate them to achieve economies of scale.
  • Addressing Regional Imbalances in Carbon Emissions: IndiaCOP can can unleash creative mechanisms to offset regional imbalances while respecting local cultural sensitivities.
  • Platform for States/UTs to Forge Mutual Cooperation Agreements: It can provide a platform for states/UTs to forge MOUs that complement each other’s strengths while filling up the gaps in technical/financial/people resources. For e.g., small hilly states have good hydroelectric power potential, but they may lack financial wherewithal; states like Rajasthan have good solar energy potential but currently lack sufficient trained manpower, etc.

Way ahead

  • Intranational COP can be a dedicated flagship platform to thrash out a national consensus on India’s climate goals and the means to achieve them. For example, the Finance Commission can play a role in allocating capital based on the climate actions and needs of states.
  • The mechanisms of climate funding and allocation, led by the Finance Commission, can be debated and agreed upon on this platform. Such a consensus will enjoy double legitimacy as it is arrived at collectively by the union and state/UT governments.

Conclusion

  • The success of India’s model of “Intra-national COP” can become a template for federal nations across the world to engage with provincial/local governments with diverse socio-political and economic challenges. It can score a big win in promoting India’s soft power, especially as it takes on the presidency of the G20.

Mains question

Q. During recent climate summits, the states and UTs have not been active participants. In this backdrop how India’s model of Intra-national COP will be helpful?

(Click) FREE 1-to-1 on-call Mentorship by IAS-IPS officers | Discuss doubts, strategy, sources, and more

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Orderly path to net zero

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Net zero

Mains level: India's plans of decarbonization and orderly transition towards net zero

zero

Context

  • India’s per capita emissions are relatively low (1.8 tons of CO2e per person), but we are still the world’s third-largest single emitter. India has pledged to get to net zero by 2070. This goal can only be met with urgent actions in this decade, potentially accelerated through India’s recently-assumed G20 presidency.

Current trajectory

  • Emissions are set to grow: On its current trajectory, India’s emissions are set to grow from 2.9 GtCO2e a year to 11.8 GtCO2e in 2070.
  • Decarbonisation comes with the cost: According to a recent McKinsey report, effective decarbonisation, down to 1.9 GtCO2e by 2070, would require India to spend a total of $7.2 trillion on green initiatives by 2050. This line of sight (LoS) scenario is based on announced policies and expected technology adoption.
  • Investment needed: Deeper decarbonisation an accelerated scenario that would reduce emissions to just 0.4 GtCO2e by 2050, or close to net zero would require $12 trillion in total green investments by 2050. Under this scenario, India could create 287 gigatonnes (GT) of carbon space for the world, almost half of the global carbon budget, for an even chance at limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Crack Prelims 2023! Talk to our Rankers

Memory shot: Net Zero

  • Net zero means cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible, with remaining emissions re-absorbed by oceans/ forests.
  • China, US, EU and India contribute 75% of total GHG emissions
  • However, per capita GHG emissions for US, EU and China are7,3 and 3 times of India
  • India has set target to achieve net zero emissions by 2070.

zero

What India needs to speed up the decarbonization?

  • Orderly transition will benefit but the projects are of heavy investments: To take just one example, If India shifted to a predominantly renewable (and hydrogen)-based energy and materials system, it could save as much as $3 trillion in foreign exchange by 2070. While the investment is large, a vast majority of the abatement projects are in the money.
  • Investment, regulation and capacity building is necessary: Three-quarters of the buildings, infrastructure, and industrial capacity of India in 2050 is yet to be built. We have a choice to invest in current technologies or to invest futuristically. Futuristic investment will need India to take urgent actions in this decade on regulation, technology development, and on technology adoption to make the right investments.
  • Employing the experience in renewable power: In renewable power, the right policies, strong institutions and industrial capabilities built in the last decade are providing India with the base to scale up four to five times in this decade.
  • Making electric vehicles competitive in the market: India also has other advantages. For example, its high taxation on automotive fuels translates to an imputed carbon tax of $140 to $240 per tonne of carbon dioxide. This makes electric vehicles competitive against petrol or diesel ones, explaining the recent rapid growth of electric two-wheelers.

zero

Ideas for India’s orderly transition

  • Setting up national and structural decarbonisation plans: Set out five-year, 10-year, and 25-year national decarbonisation plans. Policies that enable carbon prices or blending mandates can make the economics viable. Such policies need to be held steady and require coordination across sectors like power, hydrogen and steel. A national decarbonisation plan would enable timely investment decisions.
  • Defining a national land use plan and consider using barren lands for renewables: India risks being land-short for its dual goals of growth and decarbonisation. For example, McKinsey estimates that renewable power and forest carbon sinks need 18 million additional hectares of land. India would need to maximise the use of barren land for renewable power, urbanise vertically, improve agricultural productivity, and increase forest density.
  • Accelerate compliance with carbon markets: Pricing carbon creates demand signals that accelerate emissions reductions, especially in hard-to-abate sectors. Let’s illustrate this through steel, demand for which could multiply eight times by 2070; right now, much of the new capacity is likely to be added using high-emission coal. With a price on carbon emissions, more expensive green steel becomes competitive against high-emission steel. For example, a carbon price of $50 a ton could make green steel cost competitive by 2030, leading to the possibility of the next 200 million tons of capacity being created through low-emissions technologies.
  • Investing in opportunities: Companies can aim to play on the front foot, investing in opportunities like recycling, hydrogen, biomass, electrolysers, rare earths, battery materials and battery making. Some of these opportunities would take time to mature. Meanwhile, companies could invest in opportunities opened up by decarbonisation of other countries, such as exporting green hydrogen derivatives like ammonia.

Conclusion

  • To embark on an orderly path to net zero, India needs imagination, realism, determination and a sense of urgency. An orderly transition to net zero could help India decarbonize while creating an engine for growth. We must take steps this decade to set things up, to establish momentum, and to build India right for generations to come.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Place-Based Conservation Under CBD

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Target 30x30

Mains level: Target 30x30, CBD and conservation challenges

Conservation

Context

  • At the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), member countries adopted the “Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework” (GBF) that includes four goals and 23 targets to be achieved by 2030.

Click and get your FREE Copy of CURRENT AFFAIRS Micro Notes

Conservation

What is target 30×30 among 23 targets?

  • Conservation through ecological representative: Among the 23 targets, Target 3, colloquially known as “30×30,” requires that “at least 30 percent of terrestrial, inland water, and coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services, are effectively conserved and managed through ecologically representative.
  • Area-based conservation measures: Such area should be well-connected and equitably governed systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures.

Assessment of protected areas

  • Protected area: Place-based conservation has usually taken the form of Protected Areas wherein human occupation or at least the exploitation of resources is limited. The definition provided by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in its categorisation guidelines for protected areas has been widely accepted across regional and global frameworks.
  • Different level of protection: There are several kinds of protected areas that vary by level of protection depending on the enabling laws of each country or the regulations of the international organisations involved.
  • Currently only 17% is protected: Currently, about 17 percent of terrestrial and 8 percent of marine areas are within documented protected and conserved areas.
  • Less than desirable quality: The quality of these areas has fallen far short of the commitments; less than 8 percent of land is both protected and connected. In the face of such a lacuna, the 30×30 target represents a significant commitment.

What are the challenges towards conservation of biodiversity areas?

  • Improving the quality: One of the main challenges will be to improve the quality of both existing and new areas, as biodiversity continues to decline, even within many Protected Areas. Protected and conserved areas will need to be better connected to each other for movement of species, and for ecological processes to function.
  • Large countries have to take big steps: Demographically large, high population density countries, and the very high density small and city-states are unlikely be able to bring significant additional terrestrial, inland water, and coastal and marine areas under Protected Area management.
  • Addressing animal and human settlement: Moreover, species range shifts due to the effects of impacts of climate change will have to be taken into account. Challenges faced by Protected Areas that are experiencing coastal squeeze due to rising sea level on one side, and hard human settlements on the other will also have to be addressed.
  • Investment for management: All of these measures will require significant investments for effective management and community involvement, particularly those areas that harbour megafauna. The track record of the Global North, thus far, has been poor in meeting its commitments on financial support for climate and biodiversity initiatives.

What should be the way forward?

  • Better connectivity: Innovative area-based conservation measures will have to be considered for better connectivity for movement of species megafauna in particular between protected and conserved areas. Areas adjoining and or connecting Protected Areas that are not formally managed for conservation will have to be considered for protection; agricultural lands.
  • Conservation development mechanism: Akin to the Clean Development Mechanism under the climate convention, UNFCCC, a carbon offset scheme allowing countries to fund greenhouse gas emissions-reducing projects in other countries and claim the saved emissions as part of their own efforts to meet international emissions targets.
  • Mobile protected areas: Innovative management will be required for Protected Areas that are experiencing coastal squeeze due to rising sea level on one side, and hard human settlements on the other. In high altitude and coastal areas, Protected Areas will have to be conceived as mobile rather than static, confined to a set of geographical coordinates. Mangrove and alpine ecosystems

Conservation

Conclusion

  • Only declaring the certain area as protected area will not improve the quality of protected area and it is mere a lip service to conservation efforts. Investment backed by effective, result oriented and time bound action plan for place-based conservation should be the path ahead.

Mains Question

Q. What is 30×30 target under CBD? What are the challenges in area-based conservation and suggest the way forward?

(Click) FREE 1-to-1 on-call Mentorship by IAS-IPS officers | Discuss doubts, strategy, sources, and more

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

What is Greenwashing?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Greenwashing

Mains level: Not Much

greenwashing

Reserve Bank Deputy Governor called for a taxonomy on green finance to avoid the risk of “greenwashing”.

What is ‘Greenwashing’? 

  • Greenwashing refers to misleading the general public into believing that companies, sovereigns or civic administrators are doing more for the environment than they actually are.
  • This may involve making a product or policy seem more environmentally friendly or less damaging than it is in reality.
  • The term was coined by environmentalist Jay Westerveld in 1986.
  • The phenomenon came into practice as consumers and regulators increasingly sought to explore planet-friendly, recyclable and sustainable ‘green’ products.
  • By 2015, 66% of consumers were willing to shell out more for a product that was environmentally sustainable.

How is it done? 

  • There is the indiscriminate use of the terms ‘net-zero’, ‘net-zero aligned’, ‘eco-friendly’, ‘green’ and ‘ecological’.
  • Since there is no compliance mechanism, such practices are rampant.

Why does greenwashing happen? 

  • Greenwashing is done primarily for a company to either present itself as an ‘environment-friendly’ entity or for profit maximisation.
  • It is achieved by introducing a product, catering to the inherent demand for environment-friendly products.
  • In certain instances, it is done using the larger idea as a premise to cut down on certain operational logistics and providing consumer essentials.

What does it have to do with the financial sector? 

  • Ethical investing: Sustainable investing has become increasingly popular among millennials and impact investors concerned with ‘ethical investing’.
  • Role of ESG credentials: Financial services providers expect increased scrutiny of a company’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) credentials from regulators, shareholders, customers as well as other stakeholders.
  • Transition funding: Financial institutions are expected to fund the transition towards renewable energy and discourage investments in further harnessing of conventional energy sources as coal, oil and gas.

Policy moves in India

  • If the financial sector is to respond effectively to the demand for products that endeavour to introduce positive changes into the economy, it is imperative that ‘greenwashing’ is averted.
  • In May this year, market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) constituted an advisory committee to look into all ESG-related matters.

Key recommendations

  • The expert committee recommends that financial institutions immediately discontinue all lending, underwriting and investments in companies wanting to strengthen or expand their coal-related infrastructure.
  • As for oil and gas, it recommends the discontinuation of all investments that would involve exploration of new oil and gas fields, expansion of existing reserves and further production.
  • Instead, companies should facilitate increased investment in renewable energy and institutions that are aligned to facilitate net zero emissions by 2050.

Way forward

  • Companies must work towards reducing emissions across their entire value chain and not limit the endeavor to only one part of the chain.
  • They must not invest, through any means, in harnessing fossil fuels or engage in deforestation and other environmentally destructive activities.
  • In addition to this, companies cannot compensate for this investment by means of cheap credits, that “often lack integrity”.
  • Further, all state and non-state actors must ensure a ‘just transition’ such that livelihoods are not affected.
  • The committee also recommends a transition from voluntary disclosures (pertaining to net emissions) to regulatory norms.

 

Click and get your FREE Copy of CURRENT AFFAIRS Micro Notes

(Click) FREE 1-to-1 on-call Mentorship by IAS-IPS officers | Discuss doubts, strategy, sources, and more

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

OGMP and MARS : An innovative opportunity to reduce methane emissions

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Methane, MARS system, OGMP

Mains level: Methane, MARS system, framework, OGMP and India

opportunity

Context

  • The Methane Alert and Response System (MARS) initiative was launched by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) at the 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on November 11, 2022. Is it right to say that India not joining the Oil & Gas Methane Partnership is a missed opportunity?

Click and get your FREE Copy of CURRENT AFFAIRS Micro Notes

opportunity

Methane a Toxic greenhouse gas

  • A major greenhouse gas: Methane is the second-most common of the six major greenhouse gases, but is far more dangerous than carbon dioxide in its potential to cause global warming.
  • One of major contributor of GHG emissions: Contribution Accounting for about 17 per cent of the current global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • One of the key reasons behind Temperature rise: Methane is blamed for having caused at least 25 to 30 per cent of temperature rise since the pre-industrial times.
  • Methane largely a Sectoral gas: Unlike carbon dioxide, methane is largely a sectoral gas, and there are only a few sources of emission.
  • Few sources large emissions of methane: The global warming potential of methane is about 80 times that of carbon dioxide. It accounts for a small portion of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions compared to carbon dioxide.

Did you know? Global Methane pledge

  • The global methane pledge was adopted during COP26.
  • Under it, countries agreed to reduce global methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.
  • This will help to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
  • into the right hands for emissions mitigation.

opportunity

What is Oil and Gas Methane Partnership (OGMP)?

  • A methodology to help companies reduce methane emissions: The Oil and Gas Methane Partnership (OGMP) methodology was created by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition in 2014 as a voluntary initiative to help companies reduce methane emissions in the oil and gas sector.
  • The Oil & Gas Methane Partnership 2.0: OGMP 2.0 is a multi-stakeholder initiative launched by UNEP and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition. The OGMP 2.0 is the only comprehensive, measurement-based reporting framework for the oil and gas industry that improves the accuracy and transparency of methane emissions reporting in the oil and gas sector.
  • Companies joined the partnership: Over 80 companies with assets on five continents, representing a significant share of of the world’s oil and gas production, have joined the Partnership. OGMP 2.0 members also include operators of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines, gas storage capacity and LNG terminals. The members constitute around 35 per cent of the total global oil and gas production and two-thirds of the total liquefied natural gas flows around the world

opportunity

What is Methane Alert and Response System (MARS)?

  • MARS is a part of global efforts to slow climate change by tracking the global warming gas.
  • The system will be the first publicly available global system to connect methane detection to notification processes transparently.
  • The data-to-action platform was set up as part of the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO) strategy to get policy-relevant data

How many countries and companies are engaged with the MARS initiative and is India involved?

  • The system was requested by the United States and the European Union but it is in the service of the entire world.
  • There are no Indian companies that have joined the OGMP.

Conclusion

  • MARS is a satellite-based system to help industries and governments detect and reduce methane emissions. This will help UNEP confirm methane emissions reported by companies and analyze changes over time. India should consider this as an opportunity to cooperate in reducing methane emissions

Mains question

Q. Methane is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and currently contributes about a quarter of global warming. In light of this, what does it mean to engage with the OGMP and MARS system?

(Click) FREE 1-to-1 on-call Mentorship by IAS-IPS officers | Discuss doubts, strategy, sources, and more

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

What are Carbon Markets and how do they operate? 

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Carbon Trading

Mains level: Read the attached story

carbon

The Parliament passed the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022. It amends the Energy Conservation Act, 2001, to empower the Government to establish carbon markets in India and specify a carbon credit trading scheme.

A quick recap

  • In order to keep global warming within 2°C, ideally no more than 1.5°C, global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions need to be reduced by 25 to 50% over this decade.
  • Nearly 170 countries have submitted their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) so far as part of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which they have agreed to update every five years.
  • NDCs are climate commitments by countries setting targets to achieve net-zero emissions.
  • India, for instance, is working on a long-term roadmap to achieve its target of net zero emissions by 2070.

What are Carbon Markets?

  • In order to meet NDCs, one mitigation strategy is becoming popular with several countries— carbon markets.
  • Article 6 of the Paris Agreement provides for the use of international carbon markets by countries to fulfil their NDCs.
  • Carbon markets are essentially a tool for putting a price on carbon emissions— they establish trading systems where carbon credits or allowances can be bought and sold.
  • A carbon credit is a kind of tradable permit that, per United Nations standards, equals one tonne of carbon dioxide removed, reduced, or sequestered from the atmosphere.
  • Carbon allowances or caps, meanwhile, are determined by countries or governments according to their emission reduction targets.

Popularity of the carbon markets

  • A UN Development Program release this year noted that interest in carbon markets is growing globally.
  • Almost 83% of NDCs submitted by countries mention their intent to make use of international market mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

What are the types of carbon markets?

There are broadly two types of carbon markets that exist today— compliance markets and voluntary markets.

(A) Voluntary Markets

  • They are those in which emitters— corporations, private individuals, and others— buy carbon credits to offset the emission of one tonne of CO 2 or equivalent greenhouse gases.
  • Such carbon credits are created by activities which reduce CO 2 from the air, such as afforestation. In a voluntary market, a corporation looking to compensate for its unavoidable GHG emissions purchases carbon credits from an entity engaged in projects that reduce, remove, capture, or avoid emissions.
  • For Instance, in the aviation sector, airlines may purchase carbon credits to offset the carbon footprints of the flights they operate.
  • In voluntary markets, credits are verified by private firms as per popular standards.
  • There are also traders and online registries where climate projects are listed and certified credits can be bought.

(B) Compliance Market

  • Compliance markets— set up by policies at the national, regional, and/or international level— are officially regulated.
  • Today, compliance markets mostly operate under a principle called ‘cap-and-trade”, most popular in the European Union (EU).

Successful example of Carbon Market: EU’s emissions trading system (ETS)

  • Under the EU’s ETS launched in 2005, member countries set a cap or limit for emissions in different sectors, such as power, oil, manufacturing, agriculture, and waste management.
  • This cap is determined as per the climate targets of countries and is lowered successively to reduce emissions.
  • Entities in this sector are issued annual allowances or permits by governments equal to the emissions they can generate.
  • If companies produce emissions beyond the capped amount, they have to purchase additional permit, either through official auctions or from companies.
  • This makes up the ‘trade’ part of cap-and-trade.

How is carbon price determined?

  • The market price of carbon gets determined by market forces when purchasers and sellers trade in emissions allowances.
  • Notably, companies can also save up excess permits to use later.
  • Through this kind of carbon trading, companies can decide if it is more cost-efficient to employ clean energy technologies or to purchase additional allowances.
  • These markets may promote the reduction of energy use and encourage the shift to cleaner fuels.

Other such examples

  • China launched the world’s largest ETS in 2021, estimated to cover around one-seventh of the global carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.
  • Markets also operate or are under development in North America, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, and New Zealand.

Significance of Carbon Market

  • The World Bank estimates that trading in carbon credits could reduce the cost of implementing NDCs by more than half — by as much as $250 billion by 2030.
  • Last year, the value of global markets for tradable carbon allowances or permits grew by 164% to a record 760 billion euros ($851 billion).
  • The EU’s ETS contributed the most to this increase, accounting for 90% of the global value at 683 billion euros.
  • As for voluntary carbon markets, their current global value is comparatively smaller at $2 billion.

What is the progress at UN?

  • The UN international carbon market envisioned in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement is yet to kick off as multilateral discussions are still underway about how the inter-country carbon market will function.
  • Under the proposed market, countries would be able to offset their emissions by buying credits generated by greenhouse gas-reducing projects in other countries.
  • In the past, developing countries, particularly India, China and Brazil, gained significantly from a similar carbon market under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol, 1997.
  • India registered 1,703 projects under the CDM which is the second highest in the world.
  • But with the 2015 Paris Agreement, the global scenario changed as even developing countries had to set emission reduction targets.

India’s efforts

The new Bill empowers the Centre to specify a carbon credits trading scheme.

  • Issuance of credit certificates: Under the Bill, the central government or an authorised agency will issue carbon credit certificates to companies or even individuals registered and compliant with the scheme.
  • Tradable carbon credits: These carbon credit certificates will be tradeable in nature. Other persons would be able to buy carbon credit certificates on a voluntary basis.

Existing mechanisms

  • Notably, two types of tradeable certificates are already issued in India-
  1. Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and
  2. Energy Savings Certificates (ESCs)
  • These are issued when companies use renewable energy or save energy, which are also activities which reduce carbon emissions.

Lacunas of the bill

  • No clear mechanism: The Bill does not provide clarity on the mechanism to be used for the trading of carbon credit certificates— whether it will be like the cap-and-trade schemes or use another method— and who will regulate such trading.
  • Confusion over nodal agency: The right ministry to bring in a scheme of this nature, pointing out that while carbon market schemes in other jurisdictions like the US, UK are framed by their environment ministries, the Indian Bill was tabled by the power ministry instead of the MoEFCC.
  • Ambiguity over existing certificates: The Bill does not specify whether certificates under already existing schemes would also be interchangeable with carbon credit certificates and tradeable for reducing carbon emissions.
  • Overlapping: The question, thus, is whether all these certificates could be exchanged with each other. There are concerns about whether overlapping schemes may dilute the overall impact of carbon trading.

Challenges to carbon markets

  • Double counting: of greenhouse gas reductions
  • Quality and authenticity: These parameters of climate projects that generate credits to poor market transparency
  • Greenwashing: Companies may buy credits, simply offsetting carbon footprints instead of reducing their overall emissions or investing in clean technologies.
  • Inefficiency: The IMF points out that including high emission-generating sectors under trading schemes to offset their emissions by buying allowances may immensely increase emissions on net.

Way forward

  • Alignment with NDCs: The UNDP emphasizes that for carbon markets to be successful, emission reductions and removals must be real and aligned with the country’s NDCs.
  • Transparent financing: It says that there must be “transparency in the institutional and financial infrastructure for carbon market transactions”.

 

Click and get your FREE Copy of CURRENT AFFAIRS Micro Notes

(Click) FREE 1-to-1 on-call Mentorship by IAS-IPS officers | Discuss doubts, strategy, sources, and more

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Historic biodiversity deal gets the nod at COP15 summit in Canada

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: CBD

Mains level: Read the attached story

biodiversity

Negotiators reached a historic deal at a UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) conference that would represent the most significant effort to protect the world’s lands and oceans and provide critical financing to save biodiversity in the developing world.

Key outcomes

[A] 30×30 Deal

  • Delegates committed to protecting 30% of land and 30% of coastal and marine areas by 2030, fulfilling the deal’s highest-profile goal, known as 30-by-30.
  • Currently, 17% of terrestrial and 10% of marine areas are protected.
  • Indigenous and traditional territories will also count toward this goal, as many countries and campaigners pushed for during the talks.
  • The deal also aspires to restore 30% of degraded lands and waters throughout the decade, up from an earlier aim of 20%.
  • And the world will strive to prevent destroying intact landscapes and areas with a lot of species, bringing those losses “close to zero by 2030”.

[B] Money for nature

  • Signatories aim to ensure $200 billion per year is channeled to conservation initiatives, from public and private sources.
  • Wealthier countries should contribute at least $20 billion of this every year by 2025, and at least $30 billion a year by 2030.
  • This appeared to be the Democratic Republic of Congo’s main source of objection to the package.

[C] Big companies report impacts on biodiversity

  • Companies should analyse and report how their operations affect and are affected by biodiversity issues.
  • The parties agreed to large companies and financial institutions being subject to “requirements” to make disclosures regarding their operations, supply chains and portfolios.
  • This reporting is intended to progressively promote biodiversity, reduce the risks posed to business by the natural world, and encourage sustainable production.

[D] Harmful subsidies

  • Countries committed to identify subsidies that deplete biodiversity by 2025, and then eliminate, phase out or reform them.
  • They agreed to slash those incentives by at least $500 billion a year by 2030, and increase incentives that are positive for conservation.

[E] Pollution and pesticides

  • One of the deal’s more controversial targets sought to reduce the use of pesticides by up to two-thirds.
  • But the final language to emerge focuses on the risks associated with pesticides and highly hazardous chemicals instead, pledging to reduce those threats by “at least half”, and instead focusing on other forms of pest management.
  • Overall, the Kunming-Montreal agreement will focus on reducing the negative impacts of pollution to levels that are not considered harmful to nature, but the text provides no quantifiable target here.

[F] Monitoring and reporting progress

  • All the agreed aims will be supported by processes to monitor progress in the future, in a bid to prevent this agreement meeting the same fate as similar targets that were agreed in Aichi, Japan, in 2010, and never met.
  • National action plans will be set and reviewed, following a similar format used for greenhouse gas emissions under U.N.-led efforts to curb climate change.
  • Some observers objected to the lack of a deadline for countries to submit these plans.

Back2Basics: Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

  • The CBD (wef 1993) known informally as the Biodiversity Convention, is a multilateral treaty.
  • The convention has three main goals:
  1. the conservation of biodiversity
  2. the sustainable use of its components
  3. the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources
  • Its objective is to develop national strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, and it is often seen as the key document regarding sustainable development.
  • It has two supplementary agreements, the Cartagena Protocol and Nagoya Protocol.

(1) Cartagena Protocol

  • It is an international treaty governing the movements of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from modern biotechnology from one country to another.

(2) Nagoya Protocol

  • It deals with Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS).

 

Click and get your FREE Copy of CURRENT AFFAIRS Micro Notes

(Click) FREE 1-to-1 on-call Mentorship by IAS-IPS officers | Discuss doubts, strategy, sources, and more

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Disparities in Climate Change Financial Responsibility

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Updates on COP27 and climate finance

Mains level: COP27, climate finance, role of developed and developing countries, and India's stand

Financial

Context

  • Extreme weather events are becoming more prevalent with each passing year and countries are increasingly taking cognizance of this. Yet, there remains a rift between developing and developed countries, largely on account of asymmetries between the incidence of and the financial responsibility assumed for climate change.

Click and get your FREE Copy of CURRENT AFFAIRS Micro Notes

Background: Rift between developed and developing countries

  • Historical emission by developed countries: It is estimated that 92 per cent of excess historical emissions are attributable to developed countries.
  • Burden on developing countries: Yet the economic impact of climate change is disproportionately borne by vulnerable developing countries. The 58 vulnerable countries (or V20) account for 5 per cent of global emissions while the costs incurred are significant.
  • UNEP estimates that efforts on climate adaptation would require $160-340 billion by 2030. But, current financial flows are inadequate, with developing countries receiving only a third of what is required.
  • The dual costs of shifting away from fossil fuels and that of climate catastrophes are expected to further chip away at fiscal resilience as developing countries reel under the pressures of slowdown, inflation and excess sovereign debt.

Financial

COP27 decisions on accelerating finance

  • Recognized the need of transforming the financial system: In its draft decision, the UN highlighted that to meet the scale of funding will require a transformation of the financial systems, structures and processes. It will require engaging with all financial actors.
  • Recognized discontent of green climate fund: In the past there have been funding facilities such as the Green Climate Fund, which were meant to support adaptation and mitigation. But there is wide discontent with the pace and extent of access to such facilities.
  • Announcement of Loss and Damage (L&D) fund: The announcement of a Loss and Damage (L&D) fund stole the attention. However, reflections from past experiences are essential.

Challenges on developing inclusive financial structure

  • Visible reluctance to contribute among big economies: The institutional architecture of multilateral funds has been demonstrably slow to deliver. Then there is the visible reluctance to contribute among the big economies. To restore its lost legitimacy, the US made several announcements at COP27 but its lack of support to the L&D fund and financing of the global shield meant to support vulnerable countries to address risks of climate change must be factored in.
  • Mismatch between financial expectations, regulations and society’s requirement: As the demands placed on economies dwarf public finances, it is intuitive to expect private capital to step up. For decades, developing countries have competed to attract private capital leading to frail legal and tax systems. Even as private capital shifts to the green sectors on account of regulatory action, it is reasonable to expect that its pace will be tempered by financial expectations.
  • National carbon tax is rarely discussed: Interestingly, experts are beginning to see climate actions connected with tax policy. This is evident from the revival of the repeatedly shelved Financial Transaction Tax in the EU. Every package announced involves a redistribution of incomes within and across countries. Therefore, a general overhaul of tax architecture is inevitable. Yet, a dedicated national carbon tax is rarely discussed.

Financial

Hypocrisy of developed countries and India’s call of Phase down

  • Policy makers discussed the inadequacies of the system: COP27 was a spectacle of distractions. Experts from around the world assembled in the comforts of their echo chambers, reciting the promise of the transition, as policy makers reiterated the inadequacies of the system.
  • Growing pressure on developing countries to abandon access to fossil fuel: There is also growing pressure on developing countries to abandon their access to fossil fuels, overlooking the view that a hastened transition can have adverse consequences for growth.
  • Systematically sidelined India’s Phase down Call: There have been repeated questions as to why India chooses to use the term “phase down” and its slow response. The hypocrisy of the developed countries was stark as countries chose to sideline India’s call to phase down all fossil fuels.

Way ahead

  • While the release of the long-term low carbon development strategy is a fitting response from India, there needs to be better guidance on the pathway to net zero.
  • With India chairing the G-20 this year, the question of phasing down coal will be asked repeatedly.
  • There is already growing interest in signing a just energy transition partnership with India.

Conclusion

  • The learnings from COP27 must inform the G-20 presidency. It is also important to remain conscious that dramatic shifts in policy are pursued domestically and not all change is pursued by consensus. The principle of common but differentiated responsibility should not be traded for the promise of finance.

Mains question

In the context of COP27, The principle of common but differentiated responsibility should not be traded for the promise of finance. Comment

(Click) FREE1-to-1 on-call Mentorship by IAS-IPS officers | Discuss doubts, strategy, sources, and more

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Why climate action needs women?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: COP27

Mains level: Women participation in climate negotiations and actions

climate

Context

  • Women have historically been underrepresented at the UN’s global conference on climate change, and this year’s COP 27 congregation in Egypt, was no exception. A photo of the heads of state and government representatives participating in the event which went viral across social media, at the beginning of the summit, in fact, showcased the presence of only seven women leaders among the grand total of 110 attendees.

Women participation in climate negotiations

  • Analysis by BBC percentage of women is very less: As per an analysis conducted by the BBC, women accounted for a mere 34 percent of the committee members in negotiations rooms with some country teams having more than 90 percent men.
  • Participation women at recent COP27 was one of the lowest: According to the Women’s Environment and Development Organisation (WEDO), which tracks women’s participation in climate forum, the recent COP27 numbers represented one of the lowest concentrations of women seen at the UN climate summit.
  • Despite of collective pledge to increase women participation, number fallen: These number have in fact, fallen from a peak of 40 percent women’s participation during COP24 in 2018 and despite the countries collective pledge to increase female representation at these talks as early as 2011.
  • Skewed gender ration in negotiations on key climate issues: This skewed gender ratio, however, reflected the broader trend across delegation teams, which participated in negotiations on key climate issues such as funding, limiting the use of fossil fuels, carbon emissions, etc.

Click and get your FREE Copy of CURRENT AFFAIRS Micro Notes

climate

Why climate action needs women?

  • Women are most disproportionately affected by disasters: Females are in fact, most disproportionately affected when disasters hit as they suffer greater economic repercussions, bear an additional burden of unpaid care and domestic work, have lesser access to resources, and are pushed to drop out of school or marry early to help manage the family’s financial stress.
  • Domestic household responsibilities become more worse in disasters: Their responsibility to secure water, food, and fuel for their families becomes much more difficult during floods, droughts, or other climate-related crises, forcing them to travel to longer distances, putting their own health at risk.
  • Climate change also increases women’s vulnerability: As per new research published by ActionAid, climate change also increases women’s vulnerability to gender-based violence, further bringing about damaging consequences for their reproductive as well as psychological health.
  • Sustainable development and gender equality are intrinsically linked: The goal of pursuing sustainable development and bringing about gender equality are intrinsically linked, and one cannot be achieved without the attainment of the other.
  • Considering the various roles women play in the management of natural resources: Women just like any other member impact the overall management of natural resources through the various roles that they play including in the economy, in households, and the society. Their inclusion in climate negotiations is thus, crucial to ensure the development and implementation of a balanced approach to the diverse dimensions of sustainable development such as the economic, social and environmental.
  • Women have been at the forefront on environment related movements: Women and girls in all their diversity for centuries have played a transformative role in climate change adaptation as well as mitigation, and have been at the forefront of movements related to environmental and climate justice, putting forth some of the most creative and effective approaches for the promotion of sustainable energy transitions that help in the protection of local systems and are based on indigenous knowledge.
  • Gender diverse corporate boardrooms resulted in the adoption of more climate-friendly policies: There exists a growing body of evidence that shows the association between women’s participation and leadership in climate action, and better resource governance, conversation outcomes, and disaster readiness. This stands true, even for the private sector, where diversifying corporate boardrooms on the basis of gender have resulted in the adoption of more climate-friendly policies. For instance, according to a working paper series by the European Central Bank, “a 1 percent increase in the share of female firm managers leads to a 0.5 percent decrease in CO2 emissions
  • Comprise nearly half of the world’s population: The question, which therefore needs to be raised, is whether climate change mitigation, disaster reduction, and adaptation strategies can really be holistically developed without the inclusion of women who comprise of nearly half of the world’s population.
  • Women with their strong body of knowledge and expertise should, thus, be recognised as co-owners and agenda-settlers of the climate process with their skills, knowledge and experience being utilised to improve climate governance outcomes at the local and national levels as well as in multilateral climate forums and the private sector.

climate

What can be done to increase women participation in climate change negotiations?

  • Quotas can be provided not only to increase participation but also to address inequalities: To begin with, measures, including quotas can be put in place to not only increase women’s meaningful participation and leadership at all levels of climate action decision-making but also to address persisting inequalities including in terms of their access and control of resources such as land, technology, and finance.
  • Integrating a gender perspective across spectrums: Secondly, a conscious effort needs to be made by the policy makers to integrate a gender perspective across spectrums, ranging from design, monitoring and evaluation, implementation and funding of all national climate policies, plans and actions to ensure that the needs and concerns of women are being adequately addressed.
  • Expanding gender responsive finance and services: The member states must expand gender-responsive finance as well as gender-responsive public services, healthcare systems, universal social protections, combining measures both to eliminate gender-based violence in climate policies and to promote a care economy, thereby, guaranteeing the provision and access to justice for women.
  • Implementing the ways to multiply gender equality, thereby empowering women to harness their skills: Heads of states must identify and implement ways to multiply gender equality, empowering women and young girls. To put it simply, global investments, especially for women and girls belonging to marginalise communities must be focused on directly amplifying and fostering their skills, resilience and knowledge, thereby, removing critical barriers that hinder their participation in decision-making positions.

climate

Way ahead

  • There remains no doubt that climate change inevitably results in the exacerbation of gender inequalities.
  • The world leaders, therefore, need to pay attention to the voices of women who continue to bear a differential impact with mitigations strategies and negations being specifically tailored to the gender issues that women are confronted with during a climate-related crisis.

Conclusion

  • Climate change is a complex global phenomenon, which requires comprehensive global action that includes each and every individual. The UN Climate Change Conference, one of the biggest summits instead of excluding women, should therefore, serve as an opportunity to recognise and augment the innovative climate actions that are being brought by women. It should also provide a platform for understanding how existing structures prevent women’s engagement and subsequently, develop response mechanisms with policy measures that take into account the immediate as well as long-term gendered impacts of environmental calamities.

Mains Question

Q. Women have historically been underrepresented at the UN’s global conference on climate change and COP 27 have been no exception. Why climate action needs women? What can be done? Discuss.

(Click) FREE1-to-1 on-call Mentorship by IAS-IPS officers | Discuss doubts, strategy, sources, and more

 

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Shortcomings in the climate justice negotiations

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: Climate change negotiations and climate justice

climate

Context

  • In the climate negotiations, areas of interest to developing countries are not covered or sparsely covered, while other areas are over-regulated. Equitable sustainable development is not even discussed. At COP27, the policy debate was no longer legitimized by science.

Click and get your FREE Copy of CURRENT AFFAIRS Micro Notes

Problems with the current negotiating process

  • Developed countries’ national emissions of C02 from consumption: citizens in developed countries are not even aware that two-thirds of their national emissions of carbon dioxide come from their diet, transport, and residential and commercial sectors, which together constitute the major share of their GDP; the consumption sectors are not independent silos but reflect their urban lifestyles.
  • Ignores urbanization and requirement of fossil fuels for developing countries: the process ignores that global well-being will also follow urbanisation of the developing country’s population, requiring fossil fuels for infrastructure and energy to achieve comparable levels.
  • Requirement of Infrastructure development in developing countries: the need for vast quantities of cement and steel in developing countries for infrastructure, constituting essential emissions, as they urbanise, is not being considered.

climate

Discussion missing on developing countries to pace up decarbonization

  • Late urbanization: As late urbanisers, developing countries account for more than half the annual emissions and most emissions growth.
  • Cannot afford new technologies: They cannot affordably access many of the new technologies to decarbonise quickly.
  • Not having a comparable level playing field: The result is a shrinking of their policy space and human rights, endangering efforts to achieve comparable levels of well-being with those who developed earlier without any constraints.

Why the foundation of the Climate Treaty in international environmental law is questionable?

  • US interpretation in Stockholm Conference on the Environment (1972):  In the run-up to the Stockholm Conference, the United States Secretary of States stated that “urbanization has changed the nation with seventy five percent of its people living in the urban area. we must see ourselves not only as victims of environmental degradation but as environmental aggressors and change our patterns of consumption and production accordingly”.
  • Conclusion by scientific committee set up by the US: A scientific committee concluded that “long range planning to cope with global environmental problems must take account of the total ecological burden, controlling that burden by systematic reduction in per-capita production of goods and services would be politically unacceptable. A concerted effort is needed to orient technology toward making human demands upon the environment less severe”.
  • Power play on risk management but not on the technology transfer: Power play framed natural resource use around risk management rather than technology transfer and the well-being of all within ecological limits.

climate

Why climate negotiations are seen as Differentiated common responsibility?

  • Missing the objective: The objective of the Climate Treaty is to avoid a concentration of cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide, prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system and enable sustainable economic development.
  • Climate agreements and initiatives: The Paris Agreement (2015) agreed to a 1.5°C global temperature goal. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2018 recommended that net emissions needed to zero out around 2050. In Glasgow, in 2021, negotiators zeroed in on coal to reduce future emissions.
  • Ignored the key findings of the IPCC report: This initiative was not based on science and it ignored the key finding of the IPCC on the centrality of the carbon budget, i.e., cumulative emissions associated with a specific amount of global warming that scientifically links the temperature goal to national action.
  • Carbon budget and the developing countries: Carbon budgets are robust as they can be estimated accurately from climate models. And, they are the most useful for policy as they couple the climate to the economy consistent with the science of both. The IPCC, in 2018, estimated the budget for a 50% chance of avoiding more than 1.5°C of warming to be 2,890 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (now, it is less than 400bn tonnes), raising the question on how late developers will attain comparable levels of wellbeing.

Shortcomings in Climate justice

  • Climate injustice flows from the negotiations and not from the text of the Climate Treaty.
  • Rejected historical responsibility and shifted the burden: The process adopted the structure of international law in a manner that rejected historical responsibility for a continuing problem, and steadily shifted the burden to China and India.
  • The flaw in set agenda: The agenda was set around globalised material flows described as global warming (the symptom), and not wasteful use of energy.
  • Public finance is not materialised for actual objective: Public finance is used as a means to secure a political objective, and not to solve the problem itself. The $100 billion promised at Paris along with pre-2020 commitments constituting the incentive for developing countries to agree to a global temperature goal has not materialised. And, new funding for ‘Loss and Damage’ will be from a “mosaic of solutions”, constituting a breach of trust.
  • Longer term trend has been ignored: With one-sixth of the global population, the developed country share in 2035 will still be 30%. Asia’s emissions with half the world’s population will rise to 40% remaining within its carbon budget. Pressures to further reduce emissions displace their human rights.

Conclusion

  • India’s thrust on LiFE (or “Lifestyle for Environment”), with the individual shifting from wasteful consumption of natural resources goes back to the original science. Consumption-based framing challenges the ‘universalism’ that has dominated the negotiations and its common path of reductions based on single models. The carbon budget formalizes a ‘diversity’ of solutions. For example, in developed countries, exchanging overconsumption of red meat for poultry can meet half the global emissions reduction required by the end of the century.

(Click) FREE1-to-1 on-call Mentorship by IAS-IPS officers | Discuss doubts, strategy, sources, and more

 

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Shortcomings in the climate justice negotiations

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: Climate change negotiations and climate justice

Context

  • In the climate negotiations, areas of interest to developing countries are not covered or sparsely covered, while other areas are over-regulated. Equitable sustainable development is not even discussed. At COP27, the policy debate was no longer legitimized by science.

Click and get your FREE Copy of CURRENT AFFAIRS Micro Notes

Problems with the current negotiating process

  • Developed countries’ national emissions of C02 from consumption: citizens in developed countries are not even aware that two-thirds of their national emissions of carbon dioxide come from their diet, transport, and residential and commercial sectors, which together constitute the major share of their GDP; the consumption sectors are not independent silos but reflect their urban lifestyles.
  • Ignores urbanization and requirement of fossil fuels for developing countries: the process ignores that global well-being will also follow urbanisation of the developing country’s population, requiring fossil fuels for infrastructure and energy to achieve comparable levels.
  • Requirement of Infrastructure development in developing countries: the need for vast quantities of cement and steel in developing countries for infrastructure, constituting essential emissions, as they urbanise, is not being considered.

Discussion missing on developing countries to pace up decarbonization

  • Late urbanization: As late urbanisers, developing countries account for more than half the annual emissions and most emissions growth.
  • Cannot afford new technologies: They cannot affordably access many of the new technologies to decarbonise quickly.
  • Not having a comparable level playing field: The result is a shrinking of their policy space and human rights, endangering efforts to achieve comparable levels of well-being with those who developed earlier without any constraints.

Why the foundation of the Climate Treaty in international environmental law is questionable?

  • US interpretation in Stockholm Conference on the Environment (1972):  In the run-up to the Stockholm Conference, the United States Secretary of States stated that “urbanization has changed the nation with seventy five percent of its people living in the urban area. we must see ourselves not only as victims of environmental degradation but as environmental aggressors and change our patterns of consumption and production accordingly”.
  • Conclusion by scientific committee set up by the US: A scientific committee concluded that “long range planning to cope with global environmental problems must take account of the total ecological burden, controlling that burden by systematic reduction in per-capita production of goods and services would be politically unacceptable. A concerted effort is needed to orient technology toward making human demands upon the environment less severe”.
  • Power play on risk management but not on the technology transfer: Power play framed natural resource use around risk management rather than technology transfer and the well-being of all within ecological limits.

Why climate negotiations are seen as Differentiated common responsibility?

  • Missing the objective: The objective of the Climate Treaty is to avoid a concentration of cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide, prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system and enable sustainable economic development.
  • Climate agreements and initiatives: The Paris Agreement (2015) agreed to a 1.5°C global temperature goal. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2018 recommended that net emissions needed to zero out around 2050. In Glasgow, in 2021, negotiators zeroed in on coal to reduce future emissions.
  • Ignored the key findings of the IPCC report: This initiative was not based on science and it ignored the key finding of the IPCC on the centrality of the carbon budget, i.e., cumulative emissions associated with a specific amount of global warming that scientifically links the temperature goal to national action.
  • Carbon budget and the developing countries: Carbon budgets are robust as they can be estimated accurately from climate models. And, they are the most useful for policy as they couple the climate to the economy consistent with the science of both. The IPCC, in 2018, estimated the budget for a 50% chance of avoiding more than 1.5°C of warming to be 2,890 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (now, it is less than 400bn tonnes), raising the question on how late developers will attain comparable levels of wellbeing.

Shortcomings in Climate justice

  • Climate injustice flows from the negotiations and not from the text of the Climate Treaty.
  • Rejected historical responsibility and shifted the burden: The process adopted the structure of international law in a manner that rejected historical responsibility for a continuing problem, and steadily shifted the burden to China and India.
  • The flaw in set agenda: The agenda was set around globalised material flows described as global warming (the symptom), and not wasteful use of energy.
  • Public finance is not materialised for actual objective: Public finance is used as a means to secure a political objective, and not to solve the problem itself. The $100 billion promised at Paris along with pre-2020 commitments constituting the incentive for developing countries to agree to a global temperature goal has not materialised. And, new funding for ‘Loss and Damage’ will be from a “mosaic of solutions”, constituting a breach of trust.
  • Longer term trend has been ignored: With one-sixth of the global population, the developed country share in 2035 will still be 30%. Asia’s emissions with half the world’s population will rise to 40% remaining within its carbon budget. Pressures to further reduce emissions displace their human rights.

Conclusion

  • India’s thrust on LiFE (or “Lifestyle for Environment”), with the individual shifting from wasteful consumption of natural resources goes back to the original science. Consumption-based framing challenges the ‘universalism’ that has dominated the negotiations and its common path of reductions based on single models. The carbon budget formalizes a ‘diversity’ of solutions. For example, in developed countries, exchanging overconsumption of red meat for poultry can meet half the global emissions reduction required by the end of the century.

(Click) FREE1-to-1 on-call Mentorship by IAS-IPS officers | Discuss doubts, strategy, sources, and more

 

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

‘Loss and Damages’ Fund Launched at the onset of COP28

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Loss and Damage Fund

Mains level: Climate finance

loss and damage

On the first day of the COP28 climate conference in Dubai, a fund dedicated to assisting vulnerable nations in dealing with the effects of climate change was formally inaugurated.

Loss and Damage: The climate change context

  • Climate change causes costly damage, including from climate-related natural disasters, such as tropical cyclones, and more gradual changes, such as desertification and rising sea levels.
  • Currently, because climate change is caused by greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere, rich industrialised countries are responsible for most of the emissions causing these phenomena.

 ‘Loss and Damages’ Fund: Inception of the idea

  • The idea of a “loss and damage” fund (LDF) was first floated in 1991.
  • Vanuatu, a low-lying island nation in the Pacific, suggested the creation of an insurance scheme, under the auspices of the UN, to help pay for the consequences of rising sea levels.
  • For thirty years such demands were left ignored at the UN.
  • But twelve months ago in Scotland, that country’s first minister promised £2m ($2.4m) to the cause.

Why need LDF?

  • Poor countries often feel the effects first being the most vulnerable and incapable of self-mitigation.
  • They also include not only economic damage to property but also loss of livelihoods, and the destruction of biodiversity and sites that have cultural importance.
  • This broadens the scope for affected nations to claim compensation.
  • Hence loss and damage is sometimes called the “third pillar” of climate politicking, after mitigation (tackling the root cause of the problem by reducing emissions) and adaptation (preparing for current and future impacts).

Immediate triggers for such action

Ans. Pakistan Floods

  • Unusually heavy monsoon rains caused more than $30bn of damage and financial losses in Pakistan, equivalent to nearly 9% of the country’s GDP.
  • Natural climatic variations, notably an ocean-cooling phenomenon known as “La Niña,” were partly responsible.
  • But the rains were also made heavier by the effects of greenhouse gases.

When will LDF be operational?

  • Further decisions have been left to a “transitional committee” that will make recommendations to enable the actual adoption of the fund at the next year COP to be held in UAE.

Realistic picture of LDF

  • Some critical questions remain unaddressed –
  1. Who will manage this fund?
  2. Whether contributions are expected from large developing countries?
  3. What the fair share of contributors will be?

Status of global consensus over LDF

  • During COP27, financial pledges for LDF came from multiple countries, including Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, and New Zealand, joining Denmark and Scotland, which had made pledges previously.

How much fund is necessary?

  • The expected monetary compensation from the L&D fund is estimated to be nearly $500 billion and rising by $200 billion annually.
  • A global transformation to a low-carbon economy is expected to require investments of at least $4-6 trillion a year.
  • The global stocktake refers to a five-year appraisal by countries of the impact of their actions to curb climate change.

How realistic is the establishment of LDF?

  • To some extent, all this is immaterial.
  • Few believe that an UN-sponsored “loss and damage” fund will ever transfer the hundreds of billions that would be needed to offset the damage done by climate change.
  • COP27 itself dropped several hints that money for loss and damage could be found in what is called a “mosaic” of sources in existing global, regional and national financial institutions.

Way forward

  • Mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage are inextricably linked.
  • Faster, more ambitious decarbonization will reduce the bill for adaptation.
  • Better mitigation and adaptation will mean that less money has to be spent rebuilding after disasters.

Conclusion

  • LDF is largely a first concrete step towards the institutionalization of climate finance.
  • Delivering such funding will require a swift and comprehensive transformation of the financial system.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

India’s Possible Role in facilitating Loss and Damage Fund

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: COP 27

Mains level: Loss and damage fund

Loss

Context

  • All 197 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreed to enable financing for loss and damage to those that need it the most.

What is Loss and damage (L&D) fund?

  • Adverse impact of climate change: Loss and damage (L&D) refer to the adverse impacts that vulnerable communities and countries face as a result of a changing climate.
  • Making the rich countries pay: Rich countries had resisted L&D payments for years. Under pressure, they could no longer duck their responsibility.

Click and get your FREE Copy of CURRENT AFFAIRS Micro Notes

Loss

What has been agreed by all parties under COP 27?

  • Formation of Transition committee: The COP27 decision includes the development of a Transition Committee dedicated to L&D, with equal representation from rich and poor countries.
  • Operationalizing the funding arrangement: The committee has been tasked with configuring institutional arrangements, identifying and expanding sources of funding, and coordinating with existing funding arrangements — by COP28 in the UAE next year.

Loss

What role India can play in facilitating the Loss & Damage?

  • Develop a Global Vulnerability Index: Last year, CEEW developed a Climate Vulnerability Index for India. It found that over 80 per cent of Indians are highly vulnerable to extreme climatic disasters. Such data in the public domain helps map critical vulnerabilities and plan strategies to build resilience by climate-proofing communities, economies and infrastructure.
  • South-led research consortium: India would do well to convene experts and encourage the development of a South-led research consortium dedicated to scientific exploration of “event attribution” science. This would enrich climate science, draw attention to the more vulnerable regions, build research capacity in developing countries, and strengthen the L&D framework.
  • Champion the Early Warning Systems Initiative: The Executive Action Plan for the Early Warnings for All Initiative, unveiled at COP27. It aims to ensure every person on Earth is protected by early warning systems within five years. It has called for targeted investments of $ 3.1 billion during 2023-27, which could avoid annual losses of $3-16 billion against natural hazards in developing countries.
  • Leverage the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI): India founded the CDRI “to promote the resilience of new and existing infrastructure systems to climate and disaster risks in support of sustainable development”. CDRI is currently undertaking a Fiscal Risk Assessment study to support the development of a comprehensive disaster-risk financing strategy in more than 35 countries and multilateral entities.

Other strategies for Loss & Damage funds

  • Pressurizing the developing countries: Pressure must also be put on large emerging economies, with rising emissions, to contribute to L&D financing. Limiting L&D compensation depends on increasing adaptation spending.
  • Global Resilience Reserve Fund: The global resilience reserve fund is capitalized by IMF Special Drawing Rights, to create an insurance cushion against severe physical and macroeconomic shocks that climate risks would impose.
  • Enhanced and accelerated emissions mitigation: While countries around the globe released its long-term low-carbon emissions development strategy last week, it must use scientific methods to quantify its long-term targets, to give direction to industry and investors.

Loss

Conclusion

  • Loss & Damage financing is just a band-aid. Global emissions must reduce by 50 per cent by 2030 but there is no opprobrium for failing to present credible plans to do so. India drew attention to sustainable lifestyles via its Lifestyle for Environment mission. World must change its attitude towards climate change because it is already too late.

Mains Question

Q. What is Loss and damage fund agreed Under COP 27? What role India can play for global south for facilitating the L&D fund?

(Click) FREE1-to-1 on-call Mentorship by IAS-IPS officers | Discuss doubts, strategy, sources, and more

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

BASIC nations oppose ‘Carbon Border Tax’

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Carbon Border Tax

Mains level: Not Much

carbon

BASIC countries that includes India has jointly stated that carbon border taxes, that could result in market distortion and aggravate the trust deficit amongst parties, must be avoided.

EU proposes, BASIC opposes

  • The European Union has proposed a policy — called the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism– to tax products such as cement and steel that are extremely carbon intensive, with effect from 2026.
  • BASIC, a group constituting Brazil, India, South Africa and China have opposed this move.
  • These are large economies that are significantly dependent on coal, has for several years voiced common concerns and reiterated their right to use fossil fuel.

What is Carbon Pricing?

  • Carbon pricing is an approach to reducing carbon emissions that uses market mechanisms to pass the cost of emitting to emitters.
  • Its goal is to discourage the use of fossil fuels, address the causes of the climate crisis and meet national and international agreements.
  • Well-designed carbon pricing can change the behavior of consumers, businesses and investors while encouraging technological innovation and generating revenue that can be used productively.
  • There are a few carbon pricing instruments, such as a carbon tax and cap-and-trade programmes.

What is Carbon Border Tax?

  • A carbon border tax (CBT) is a tax on carbon emissions attributed to imported goods that have not been carbon-taxed at source.
  • The carbon border tax proposal is part of the European Commission’s European Green Deal that endeavours to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.

Objective:

  • To ‘incentivize’ greener manufacturing around the world and create parity with European manufacturers who are already subjected to substantial carbon levies.

A move to benefit local EU manufacturers

The carbon border tax has wide appeal in Europe. It is supported by the new president of the European Commission.

  • A carbon border tax is able to protect a country’s local manufacturers, motivating them to adhere to green regulations.
  • Many EU companies are at a cost disadvantage as they have been paying a carbon border tax and for carbon emissions since 2005 under the EU’s Emissions Trading System.
  • The new carbon border tax can therefore lead to a more level playing field against importers, especially those from nations with more lax environmental standards.

What could the new proposal mean politically?

  • Notably, China’s continuing reliance on non-renewable energy to power its economy leaves it particularly vulnerable in this matter.
  • For example, given that China produces steel with blast furnaces that release a large amount of carbon, it will have to pay an additional layer of carbon border tax, which will increase its costs and its market price.
  • This will consequently reduce the competitiveness of steel produced in China, compared to steel from other countries that is made in more carbon-efficient mills that do not have to pay this additional tax.

This suggests that the carbon border tax is also politically preferable to Europe as it slows down the gradually rising economy in China, and would therefore preserve the European countries’ competitiveness.

How does this impact India?

  • As India’s third largest trading partner, the EU accounted for €62.8 billion ($74.5 billion) worth of trade in goods in 2020, or 11.1% of India’s total global trade.
  • India’s exports to the EU were worth $41.36 billion in 2020-21, as per data from the commerce ministry.
  • The CBT would cover energy-intensive sectors such as cement, steel, aluminium, oil refinery, paper, glass, chemicals as well as the power sector.
  • By increasing the prices of Indian-made goods in the EU, this tax would make Indian goods less attractive for buyers and could shrink demand.
  • Sadly, India’s many ‘self-reliance’ tariffs are also a contributor to this.

Issues with CBT

  • Impact on trade: The degree of impact on industrial sectors would be largely influenced by two factors: carbon intensity and trade intensity.
  • Altering competitiveness: For companies, it will raise the administrative burden of crossing borders and increase trade frictions, especially for small businesses. That will inevitably reduce choice and raise costs for consumers.
  • Promoting protectionism: The carbon tax may end up being protectionist, and will hit emerging economies like India hard.
  • Unfair practices under WTO: Depending on their design they could fall foul of WTO measures designed to prevent importing countries from discriminating against particular exporting countries.
  • A violation of Paris Accord: CBT compels developing countries to pay the same price as the developed countries to climate change. The EU is essentially bypassing the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ that should guide international climate action.

Way forward

  • Carbon taxing is just one way of holding large emitters accountable for their role in harming the environment.
  • However, fundamental changes can’t be forced by tariffs.
  • If the planet is to have any hope of meeting the Paris Agreement goals, drastic measures that consider both the economic and social wellbeing of nations’ inhabitants must be taken.
  • This should take all nations into confidence than imposing such overnight tariffs.
  • It is no doubt that India must be in the forefront in climate politics. But it must also be cautious about the negotiations in global laws to protect domestic interests.

 

(Click) FREE1-to-1 on-call Mentorship by IAS-IPS officers | Discuss doubts, strategy, sources, and more

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

MARS A new alert system to detect Methane emissions

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: MARS alert system, global Methane pledge, Methane

Mains level: MARS alert system, Methane emission

MARS

Context

  • A new satellite-based system will now help governments detect methane emissions and tackle them. The Methane Alert and Response System (MARS) was launched at the 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

What is Methane Alert and Response System (MARS)?

  • MARS is a part of global efforts to slow climate change by tracking the global warming gas.
  • The system will be the first publicly available global system to connect methane detection to notification processes transparently.
  • The data-to-action platform was set up as part of the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO) strategy to get policy-relevant data into the right hands for emissions mitigation.

MARS

How the “MARS” will work?

  • The Methane Alert and Response System, or MARS, will integrate data from a large number of existing and future satellites to identify significant methane emission events anywhere in the world.
  • It will send out notifications to the relevant stakeholders and support and track mitigation progress.
  • According to the UN statement MARS will track the large point emission sources, mainly in the fossil fuel industry, but with time, would be able to detect emissions from coal, waste, livestock and rice fields as well.
  • UNEP will continue to monitor the event location and make the data and analysis available to the public between 45 and 75 days after detection.

MARS

Methane a dangerous greenhouse gas

  • A major greenhouse gas: Methane is the second-most common of the six major greenhouse gases, but is far more dangerous than carbon dioxide in its potential to cause global warming.
  • One of major contributor of GHG emissions: Contribution Accounting for about 17 per cent of the current global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • One of the key reasons behind Temperature rise: Methane is blamed for having caused at least 25 to 30 per cent of temperature rise since the pre-industrial times.
  • Methane largely a Sectoral gas: Unlike carbon dioxide, methane is largely a sectoral gas, and there are only a few sources of emission.
  • Few sources large emissions of methane: The global warming potential of methane is about 80 times that of carbon dioxide. It accounts for a small portion of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions compared to carbon dioxide.

MARS

Why such alert system is necessary?

  • To achieve the target set by Global methane pledge: At the Glasgow climate conference last year, nearly 100 countries had come together in a voluntary pledge the Global Methane Pledge to cut methane emissions by at least 30 per cent by 2030 from the 2020 levels. More countries have joined in this initiative since then, bringing the total to nearly 130.
  • To keep the temperature, rise below 5-degree Celsius: A 30 per cent reduction in methane emissions by 2030 is expected to result in avoiding 0.2 degree rise in temperature by the year 2050, and is considered absolutely essential in the global efforts to keep the temperature increase below the 1.5-degree Celsius target. This is a global, not a national reduction target.
  • Reducing methane emissions from the atmosphere provides multiple benefits: Methane being a sectoral gas with few sources of emission, it is possible to cut down on methane emissions without having widespread impact on the economy, a reduction in methane emissions brings big benefits in a short time.
  • MARS Provides technical and advisory to the partners: If requested, MARS partners will also provide technical or advisory services, such as help in assessing mitigation opportunities

All you need to know about Conference of Parties (COP).

  • Unless the parties decide otherwise, every year The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) convenes what is called a Conference of Parties (COP), a meeting that brings together leaders and delegates from around the world to strengthen their commitments and actions against specific climate change goals.
  • The parties are the 198 countries that ratified the UNFCCC.
  • The UNFCCC is an international treaty focused on preventing dangerous human interference with the climate system, primarily by stabilizing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Conclusion

  • Cutting methane is the fastest opportunity to reduce warming and keep 1.5°C within reach, and this MARS a new alert and response system is going to be a critical tool for helping all of us deliver on the Global Methane Pledge.

Mains Question

Q. Methane is thought to be 80 times more efficient than carbon dioxide at trapping atmospheric heat in the 20 years following its release. Discuss how MARS a new alert system would be helpful to keep the temperature rise below 1.5 degree Celsius?

(Click) FREE1-to-1 on-call Mentorship by IAS-IPS officers | Discuss doubts, strategy, sources, and more

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Elephant in the Room at COP 27- Energy Equity

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: COP-27

Mains level: Energy inequality, Climate actions and related issues

COP

Context

  • 27th Conference of Parties (COP27, beginning November 6, in Egypt) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Realization of climate action: Birth of UNFCCC

  • The idea led to the formation of the United Nations Framework for Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC, also known as ‘The Convention’) in 1992, at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
  • The convention divided the countries on the basis of their differing commitments: Annex I and II consisted of industrialized and developed countries and Non-Annex I comprised developing countries.

COP

Summary of COP26

  • Inadequate reduction commitment: In the runup to COP26, last year in Glasgow, several developed countries had declared their intention to reach net zero emissions by 2050. These declarations did not square with the requirements of “keeping 1.5 deg. C alive”.
  • Global carbon budget: Four fifths of the global carbon budget to limit warming to 1.5°C (with 50% probability) has already been exhausted. Developed countries are responsible for more than half of these historical CO2 emissions. Nevertheless, there was much celebration of these targets.
  • Politics over phasing out coal: There was also high drama at COP26, with moral grandstanding by many developed country negotiators who invoked the future of their children, because India and other countries understandably balked at the singling out of any one fossil fuel for immediate action.
  • Developed countries didn’t meet the commitment: It is important to recall some of these shenanigans at COP26, as in the last year, it has become clear that developed countries may be unlikely to meet even the inadequate targets they have set, keeping to the trend of the last three decades.

What is the present energy situation in developing countries?

  • Energy poverty concentrated in the developing countries: Global energy poverty is concentrated in the developing countries. In 2021, 733 million people had no access to electricity and almost 2.6 billion people lacked access to clean fuels and technologies.
  • The average per capita energy: Energy use of the richest 20 countries is 85 times higher than that of the 20 poorest countries. Addressing this stark energy poverty in developing countries is important because there is a strong correlation between energy supply and human development.
  • The average annual per capita electricity: Electricity consumption of sub-Saharan Africa is 487 kilowatt hours (kWh), alongside an infant mortality rate of 73 per 1,000 live births; maternal mortality ratio of 534 per 1,00,000 live births, and per capita GDP of $1,645. On the other hand, the OECD group of countries have a per capita electricity consumption of 7,750 kWh, corresponding to an infant mortality rate of seven, maternal mortality ratio of 18, and per capita GDP of $42,098.
  • Slowdown due to lack of energy: The reality of global inequality was acutely evident during the COVID19 pandemic. Several countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America are facing severe agricultural and industrial slowdowns in the post pandemic period.
  • The lack of reliable energy infrastructure: Infrastructure unavailability has compounded the difficulties and has multidimensional impacts across developmental indicators. In 2022, these inequalities have been aggravated by soaring energy and food prices.
  • Rising cost of living: Several countries face a severe rise in the cost of living and nearly 70 million additional people are estimated to fall below the poverty line of $3.20 per person per day. Poor and vulnerable communities in the energy importing countries of the global South suffer the most. Almost 90 million people in Asia and Africa, who gained access to electricity recently, cannot afford to pay their energy bills.
  • No acknowledgement of problem by developed countries: In this background, COP27 affords a critical moment to acknowledge and address the concerns surrounding energy access and security in developing countries. Unfortunately, these longstanding problems of the global South have been ignored by developed country governments, academia, and civil society. At a time when the language of energy poverty and security is re-entering the northern vocabulary, it is time to call out the hypocrisy of the advice on fossil fuel use given by the north to some of the world’s poorest regions since the Paris Agreement was signed.

COP

How developed countries are hypocritic about energy use and commitments?

  • Fossil fuel as primary energy source: In the United States, 81% of primary energy is from fossil fuels. In Europe, fossil fuels constitute 76% of the energy consumption (coal, oil, and natural gas contribute 11%, 31%, and 34% respectively).
  • Negligible efforts for decarbonization: Thirty years after acknowledging the problem of anthropogenic global warming and committing in the UNFCCC, to take the lead in climate change mitigation, the level of decarbonization in the global North has been minuscule.
  • Increasing coal consumption: In July 2022, the European Union (EU) voted to classify the use of natural gas for some uses as “green and sustainable”. Natural gas was responsible for 7.5 billion tonnes of CO2 (i.e., 23% of the total CO2 by the major fossil fuels), in 2020. Additionally, in 2022, even coal consumption in the U.S. and the EU is estimated to increase by 3% and 7%, respectively.
  • Double standard for fossil fuel: These same developed countries argue that green energy constitutes a great business opportunity for developing countries as it has become cheaper. They have used this dubious argument to dismiss differentiation between developed and developing countries and are lobbying for banning the financing of any fossil fuel projects in some of the poorest countries.

What should be the agenda of developing countries at COP 27?

  • Bring the energy poverty issue: At COP27, the global South must put the question of its energy poverty and the severe global inequalities in energy access squarely at the Centre of all discussions.
  • Achieving SDGs with climate actions: We need to achieve zero hunger, zero malnutrition, zero poverty, and universal wellbeing even as we collectively contribute to ensuring effective climate action.
  • No empty commitments: As the strapline for COP27 (“Together for Implementation”) suggests, we must work together to ensure that these developmental goals are not side-lined, as they were at COP26, in the pursuit of hollow declarations of net zero targets three decades into the future.

COP

Conclusion

  • A developing country leadership at COP27 can ensure effective discussions, based on equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, on the relative responsibilities and sharing of mitigation and adaptation burdens while coping with loss and damage.

Mains Question

Q. Describe the energy inequality situation among developed and developing countries. How India can lead the developing countries for negotiations at COP27?

Click and Get your FREE copy of Current Affairs Micro notes

 

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

LT-LEDS (Long Term-Low Emission Development Strategy)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: LT-LEDS

Mains level: Read the attached story

strategy

India has announced its long-term strategy to transition to a “low emissions” pathway at the United Nations Conference of Parties (COP) ongoing in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

What are LT-LED Strategy?

  • The LT-LEDS are qualitative in nature and are a requirement emanating from the 2015 Paris Agreement.
  • Hereby, countries explain how they will transition their economies beyond achieving near-term NDC targets.
  • It signifies their path towards the larger climate objective of cutting emissions by 45% by 2030 and achieve net zero around 2050.

BACKGROUND

What is the meaning of Net Zero?

  • A state in which a country’s emissions are compensated by absorption and removal of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the atmosphere is called Net Zero State; it is also referred to as carbon-neutrality.
  • It is done through natural processes as well as futuristic technologies such as carbon capture and storage.

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs): 

  • To achieve the targets under the agreement, the member countries must submit the targets themselves, which they believe would lead to substantial progress towards reaching the Paris temperature goal.
  • Initially, these targets are called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).
  • They are converted to NDCs when the country ratifies the agreement.

Key announcements by India

  • Nuclear energy: India is set to expand its nuclear power capacity by at least three-fold in the next decade.
  • Green hydrogen: India aims for becoming an international hub for producing green hydrogen through the National Hydrogen Mission.
  • Ethanol blending: India aspires to maximise the use of electric vehicles, with ethanol blending to reach 20% by 2025 (it is currently 10%) and a “strong shift” to public transport for passenger and freight traffic.
  • Energy efficiency: India will also focus on improving energy efficiency by the Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) scheme.
  • Carbon sequestration: India’s forest and tree cover are a net carbon sink absorbing 15% of CO2 emissions in 2016, and it is on track to fulfilling its NDC commitment of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of additional carbon sequestration in forest and tree cover by 2030.

Hurdles in achieving net-zero

  • Huge cost of transition: The transition to low carbon pathway will entail several costs amounting to several trillion dollars. It involves the development of new technologies, new infrastructure, and other transaction costs.
  • No climate finance mechanism: Provision of climate finance by developed countries will play a very significant role and needs to be considerably enhanced.

Significance of India’s LTS

  • India’s long-term strategy (LTS) follows up on the net zero pledge.
  • It clearly outlines key interventions across sectors that are going to be the focus of India’s efforts.

Considerations made by India

India’s approach is based on the following four key considerations that underpin its long-term low-carbon development strategy:

  1. India has contributed little to global warming: its historical contribution to cumulative global GHG emissions being minuscule despite having a share of ~17% of the world’s population.
  2. Huge domestic energy demand: India has significant energy needs for development.
  3. National circumstances: India is committed to pursuing low-carbon strategies for development and is actively pursuing them, as per national circumstances
  4. India needs to build climate resilience: It is the capacity of social, economic and ecosystems to cope with a hazardous event or trend or disturbance.

 

(Click) FREE1-to-1 on-call Mentorship by IAS-IPS officers | Discuss doubts, strategy, sources, and more

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Energy Transition Accelerator (ETA): A new carbon offset scheme by the US

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: ETA

Mains level: Climate finance committments by Developed Countries

eta

The US has unveiled a new carbon offset scheme called Energy Transition Accelerator (ETA) for climate finance.

Energy Transition Accelerator (ETA)

  • ETA is carbon offset plan that will allow companies to fund clean energy projects in developing countries and gain carbon credits that they can then use to meet their own climate goals.
  • The plan will be developed by the US along with the Bezos Earth Fund and the Rockefeller Foundation.
  • It would receive inputs from public and private
  • The concept is to put the carbon market to work, deploy capital otherwise undeployable, and speed up the transition from dirty to clean power.

Benefits of ETA

  • It may be good for renewable energy projects for sure and for those coal plants that are very old and unviable and which India wishes to shut down.
  • The scheme comes at a time when there is growing mistrust among developing countries about developed nations failing to deliver on climate finance commitments.

Limitations of ETA

  • The proposed initiative would be insufficient to make up for the lack of funding from rich countries.
  • What developing countries need is predictable finance – not offset markets.
  • The proposed initiative cannot make up for the US’s failure to provide its fair share of climate finance – an estimated $40 billion of the unmet goal of $100 billion a year.

Conclusion

  • ETA appears to be a substitute for deep decarbonization needed within the US and other industrialized countries.
  • For developing countries like India, the first priority would be to meet their own targets and not provide offsets for reductions in developed nations.

 

Click and get your FREE Copy of CURRENT AFFAIRS Micro Notes

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

27th edition of UN-Conference of Parties (UN-COP)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: COP 27

Mains level: Climate change related negotiations

cop

The port city of Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt is hosting the 27th edition of the UN-Conference of Parties (UN-COP).

Quick recap

  • Last year, PM Modi, at the 26th edition of the COP in Glasgow, Scotland, committed to India becoming net-zero, or in effect carbon neutral, by 2070 along with Panchamrita
  • Environment Minister will be leading the Indian delegation to COP-27 in Egypt.
  • India is determined to press developed countries into making good their unfulfilled commitment to deliver $100 billion a year of climate finance by 2020 and every year thereafter till 2025.

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:
  1. Formulating measures to mitigate climate change
  2. Cooperating in preparing for adaptation to the impact of climate change
  3. 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 (wef 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 COP

  • 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 several discussion.

Key agenda of the COP27

Ans. Loss and Damage Funding

  • The term ‘Loss and Damage’ refers to the economic and non-economic impacts of climate change, including extreme events in countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
  • Rich countries, historically responsible for the climate crisis, have bullied poorer nations to protect polluters from paying up for climate damages.
  • The term was brought up as a demand in 1991 by the island country of Vanuatu, which was representing the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

 

Try this PYQ:

Q.With reference to the Agreement at the UNFCCC Meeting in Paris in 2015, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. The Agreement was signed by all the member countries of the UN and it will go into effect in 2017.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
6
Please leave a feedback on thisx

 

Click and get your FREE Copy of CURRENT AFFAIRS Micro Notes

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

A call to ban use of fossil fuels

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: implications of fossil fuel ban

fossil fuels

Context

  • The President of Vanuatu, a small Pacific Island, wanted the General Assembly to adopt a universal Non-Proliferation Treaty to ban the use of fossil fuels across the world.

Why such extreme call on fossil fuel ban?

  • Unlikely discussion on climate change: There is a strong belief in some quarters that the next climate conference, just days away in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt this year (COP27) may not discuss climate change mitigation largely on account of the ongoing energy stress in Europe.
  • Ukraine conflict and rising energy demand: It is felt that the Russia Ukraine crisis and resulting global energy supply shortages have dented everyone’s ability to reduce emissions. This may be a legitimate view but the discussion on coal in the United Nations General Assembly, in September, points to an opposite possibility.

fossil fuels

Why this demand is significant?

  • Vanuatu represents the strong voice of island nations: Usually, such a call by a nation whose contribution to the global energy supplies and emissions is negligible would have gone unnoticed. But Vanuatu represents a strong and vocal group of small islands developing states whose voice is heard with attention and empathy in the UN.
  • Endorsement from various stakeholders: More so, when it is a matter that will affect the global discourse on climate change. The small island group has gone around seeking endorsements from various quarters governments, the corporate world and civil society.
  • Support from Indian quarters: Interestingly, the Mayor of Kolkata, capital of one of the largest coal producing States in India, has lent his voice of support.

fossil fuels

Similar demand of ban on coal use

  • Demand of coal ban on Glasgow conference: Vanuatu’s plea comes in the wake of a similar call for phaseout of coal which was made last year at the Glasgow climate conference.
  • From phaseout to phasedown: After strong protest by the Indian interlocutors, the language of the decision at Glasgow was toned down from phaseout to phase down of unabated coal power and inefficient fuel subsidies.
  • Unfair for developing countries: When India argued that a phaseout was unfair to countries that were heavily dependent on coal power in the medium term, there was consternation among climate enthusiasts. Given this background, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) may be preparing the ground to make the fossil fuel elimination a part of national climate plans at COP 27.

What will be the implications of fossil fuel ban?

  • No responsibility of polluting countries under UN charter: a call to end fossil fuels through a mandate in the UN has very different implications than when it is presented under the UN Climate Change Convention. A UN mandate of this nature is divorced from the legal responsibility of the polluting countries to reduce their emissions on the basis of responsibility, capability and national circumstances, as required by the Climate Change Convention.
  • No commitment technological and financial innovations: It also makes no provisions for technological and financial innovations that are necessary to ensure the transition.
  • Attempt of securitization of climate: A few months ago, a similar attempt had been made in the UN to treat the matter of climate change as that of global security and request the UN Security Council to resolve it. This was dropped because of the opposition of most of the global south, which saw in this an attempt to address climate change not through international cooperation and consensus but by imposing the wish of a select few on others.

fossil fuels

What should be the way forward?

  • Without sacrificing the developing economy: A plan to drastically reduce coal fired power would in fact do very little to arrest the problem of climate change globally but may create insurmountable difficulties in securing the progress of developing economies towards key sustainable development goals.
  • Just and equitable transition: If the transition to a world of lower emissions has to be sustainable, it must also be just and equitable.
  • Equal access to alternative energy: It must ensure equal access to energy and secure energy supplies to all, not just to a few. While the developed economies have full access to alternative sources of energy, because of their strength in terms of technology and resources, the developing nations are handicapped. Therefore, a just transition needs to be built on the promise that green energy and a green future will be available to all.
  • Promoting the philosophy LiFE: It is in this context that the call for Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE) issued by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the UN Secretary General, jointly in India recently, assumes importance. Consumers in countries that consume at an unsustainable pace and contribute to rising emissions have a much greater responsibility to clean up the planet and support the growth of green energy.
  • Most vulnerable should be attended first: The world today is suffering from the adverse effects of climate change which have devastated homes and the livelihoods of large populations in various parts of the vulnerable world. Addressing these impacts and preparing the world for an uncertain future should be the priority.

Conclusion

  • It is high time that building climate resilient infrastructure in the developing and growing countries is given as much importance as phasing down coal and investment in energy innovations and alternative technologies.

Mains Question

Q. What will be the implication for developing countries if call on ban on fossil fuel is adopted? Explain the LiFE in the light of climate transition debate.

Click and Get your FREE copy of Current Affairs Micro notes

 

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

World Network of biosphere reserves: A backbone of biodiversity conservation

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Biosphere reserves, WNBR,

Mains level: Issues of concerns and efforts of conservation, India's efforts in biodiversity conservation

biosphere reserves

Context

  • November 3 will be the first ‘The International Day for Biosphere Reserves’, to be celebrated beginning 2022. The World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) was formed in 1971, as a backbone for biodiversity conservation, ecosystem restoration, and living in harmony with nature.

biosphere reserves

What is biosphere reserve?

  • Protected area: A biosphere reserve is an area of land or water that is protected by law in order to support the conservation of ecosystems, as well as the sustainability of mankind’s impact on the environment.
  • Serves as a Platform to study:  They are places that provide local solutions to global challenges. Biosphere reserves include terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems. Each site promotes solutions reconciling the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use.
  • Learning places for sustainable development: Biosphere reserves are ‘learning places for sustainable development’. They are sites for testing interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and managing changes and interactions between social and ecological systems, including conflict prevention and management of biodiversity.
  • Biodiversity conservation programs are carried out: To carry out the complementary activities of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, biosphere reserves are traditionally organized into 3 interrelated zones, known as: the core area, the buffer zone, and a transition zone or ‘area of cooperation.
  • The core purpose: The purpose of the formation of the biosphere reserve is to conserve in situ all forms of life, along with its support system, in its totality, so that it could serve as a referral system for monitoring and evaluating changes in natural ecosystems. Each reserve aims to help scientists and the environmental community figure out how to protect the world’s plant and animal species while dealing with a growing population and its resource needs.

What is the process of recognition as Biosphere reserve?

  • All biosphere reserves are internationally recognized sites on land, at the coast, or in the oceans.
  • Governments alone decide which areas to nominate. Before approval by UNESCO, the sites are externally examined.
  • If approved, they will be managed based on a plan, reinforced by credibility checks while remaining under the sovereignty of their national government.

biosphere reserves

Current status of Biosphere reserves

  • Worldwide: There are 738 biosphere reserves in 134 countries, including 22 transboundary sites.
  • In India:
  • Presently, there are 18 notified biosphere reserves in India. Ten out of the eighteen biosphere reserves are a part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, based on the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme list.
  • In India, the first biosphere reserve was designated by UNESCO in 2000, namely, the blue mountains of the Nilgiris stretching over Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.

You must know- UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme

  • The MAB programme is an intergovernmental scientific programme.
  • It aims to establish a scientific basis for enhancing the relationship between people and their environments.
  • It combines the natural and social sciences with a view to improving human livelihoods and safeguarding natural and managed ecosystems.
  • It promotes innovative approaches to economic development that are socially and culturally appropriate and environmentally sustainable.

What is World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR)?

  • Dynamic network of cooperation: The WNBR, an amazing network of sites of excellence, is a unique tool for cooperation through sharing knowledge, exchanging experiences, building capacity and promoting best practices.
  • Fosters harmonious integration of people and nature: Its members are always ready to support each other.  It fosters the harmonious integration of people and nature for sustainable development through participatory dialogue; knowledge sharing; poverty reduction and human well-being improvements; respect for cultural values and society’s ability to cope with change – thus contributing to the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • A tool to develop sustainable approach: The Network is one of the main international tools to develop and implement sustainable development approaches in a wide array of contexts
  • The principle of Living with harmony: The best concept for ‘Living in Harmony with Nature’ that exists in the United Nations system, is the WNBR, making these places more important today than ever before, where humans are thriving and relearning how to live with nature.

 

Click and Get your FREE copy of Current Affairs Micro notes

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Climate Crisis, India’s Solution – Mission LiFE

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: LiFE movement

Mains level: climate change, COP, Indias leadership in climate actions

Mission LiFE

Context

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 20 unveiled the action plan for Mission LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment), an India-led global mass movement that will nudge individuals and communities for action to protect and preserve the environment.

What is LiFE?

  • Importance of individual efforts: Mission LiFE makes environmental protection and conservation a participative process and recognizes the importance of each effort no matter how small or big to save the environment both at the level of the individual and at the level of the community.
  • Chaning utilization attitude: The idea promotes an environmentally conscious lifestyle that focuses on ‘mindful and deliberate utilization’ instead of ‘mindless and wasteful consumption’.
  • Creating social networks: The LIFE Movement aims to utilize the power of collective action and nudge individuals across the world to undertake simple climate-friendly actions in their daily lives. The LIFE movement, additionally, also seeks to leverage the strength of social networks to influence social norms surrounding climate.
  • Creating Pro-planet people: The Mission plans to create and nurture a global network of individuals, namely ‘Pro-Planet People’ (P3), who will have a shared commitment to adopt and promote environmentally friendly lifestyles.
  • Seeks to behavioral change and individual actions: Through the P3 community, the Mission seeks to create an ecosystem that will reinforce and enable environmentally friendly behaviors to be self-sustainable. LIFE recognizes that small individual actions can tip the balance in the planet’s favour.

Do you know pro-planet initiatives worldwide?

  • Denmark:  Denmark promotes the use of bicycles by limiting parking within the city Centre and providing exclusive bike lanes.
  • Japan: Japan has its unique “walk-to-school” mandate, which has been in practice since the early 1950s.

Mission LiFE

Why is the need for such movement?

  • Wrong perception about conservation: Environment protection, has for far too long been perceived as a policy issue by the general masses. There has been a perception that only national governments and international organizations can do something to protect the Earth and environment.

How mission LiFE will be helpful?

  • Mindless consumption of resources: The human race is plundering Planet Earth at a pace that far outstrips its capacity and ability to support life. A recent study says that if the current rate of consumption were to continue, by 2050, humans would need two more planets, in addition to the Earth, to continue to exist.
  • Declining natural resources and beauty: This means that we could be staring at major climatic crises in the years to come and our future generations may never get to experience the beauty of nature, the glaciers, the oceans, the snow and the rivers, that we have been fortunate to see and experience.
  • Unsustainable consumption pattern: What threatens our existence more than anything else is the pace at which we are producing and consuming. The consumption pattern of the world is mindless and pays scant regard to the environment.
  • Attitude change through mission LiFE: Mission LiFE tries to remind the world that the mindset of “use and throw” must immediately be replaced by “reduce, reuse and recycle” so that our scarce resources are not overexploited, and the world doesn’t crumble under the weight of all the waste that it is generating by the second.
  • Small efforts big Impact: Mission LiFE is a philosophy which shows how this can be made possible. It shows the power of small efforts to make big impacts. It believes in the individual’s capacity to change the world. It is the mantra to reverse historical and cultural wrongs wrecked upon the environment. Mission LiFE is the call to action for citizens and governments to save the planet.

Mission LiFE

What are India’s efforts for LiFE?

  • Environment friendly culture: In India, the cultural ethos of limiting needs and treating the environment and its resources with reverence has produced very visible results. India constitutes 17 per cent of the world’s population, but our contribution to global carbon emissions is only four per cent.
  • Less carbon footprint per head: Against the developed world’s carbon footprint of four tonnes per head, the carbon footprint of an average Indian counts to only 1.5 tonnes.
  • Multiple global initiatives: Despite not being part of the problem, with numerous global initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance, the One Sun One World One Grid initiative, and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, India has taken the lead in presenting and building solutions for the world by bringing the global community together.
  • Focus on collective actions of world community: The need to build these global alliances to fight climate change stems from the understanding that only collective action can save the world from the vagaries of climate change that are increasingly becoming a reality and are rising in ferocity.
  • Mindful utilization of resources: India offering knowledge from its religious and cultural ethos to the world, Mission LiFE aims to pull the world away from a “mindless and destructive” consumerist approach towards a “mindful and deliberate utilization” of resources. It is also, at the same time, an effort to prevent India from heading that way.
  • Shift towards sustainable policies: India is already working towards building a circular economy and moving towards a stage where all our energy requirements are met through the use of renewables. Our policies are all aligned towards ensuring sustainable development, where nature is not disregarded for development but where the most marginalized are not left to their destiny by denying them development.

Mission LiFE

Conclusion

  • Actions against climate change is not just a fervent hope but an emergent necessity. Through mission LiFE India is trying to portray climate crisis from individual perspective. Mission LiFE has a potential to transform climate change movement into the mass movement.

Mains Question

How Mission LiFE will help in conservation of Environment? Critically analyze the India’s efforts to make LiFE a successful mission?

UPSC 2023 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Two Lakshadweep beaches get Blue Flag Certification

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Blue Flag Certification

Mains level: Not Much

blue

The globally recognised and coveted international eco-label ‘Blue Flag’ has been accorded to two new Indian beaches — Minicoy Thundi Beach and Kadmat Beach, both in Lakshadweep.

What is Blue Flag?

  • The Blue Flag is an exclusive eco-label or certification that is given to coastal locations around the world as a badge of environmental honour.
  • The programme is run by the Copenhagen, Denmark-headquartered Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), a non-profit organization.
  • It seeks to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.
  • It started in France in 1985 and has been implemented in Europe since 1987, and in areas outside Europe since 2001 when South Africa joined.
  • Certification is awarded annually. A total 5,042 beaches, marinas, and tourism boats in 48 countries have been awarded the label so far.

Criteria for certification

It has 33 stringent criteria under four major heads for the beaches, that is-

  1. Environmental Education and Information
  2. Bathing Water Quality
  3. Environment Management and Conservation and
  4. Safety and Services

Total blue beaches in India

India now has 12 blue beaches. The other 10 Indian beaches on the list, according to the FEE site, are-

  1. Shivrajpur in Gujarat’s Devbhumi Dwarka district
  2. Ghogla beach in Diu
  3. Kasarkod (Uttara Kannada) and
  4. Padubidri (Udupi) in Karnataka;
  5. Kappad (Kozhikode) in Kerala
  6. Eden beach in Puducherry
  7. Kovalam (Chennai) in Tamil Nadu
  8. Rushikonda (Visakhapatnam) in Andhra Pradesh
  9. Golden beach in Puri, Odisha; and
  10. Radhanagar Swarajdeep in Andaman and Nicobar

About the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE)

  • The FEE is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • It was founded in 1981 as the Foundation for Environmental Education in Europe (FEEE).
  • Currently, it has 77 member countries.

Its other programmes include:

  • Green Key
  • Eco Schools
  • Young Reporters for the Environment
  • Learning about Forests
  • Global Forest Fund

 

UPSC 2023 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

PM launches Mission LiFE

World

Context

  • Our world today is in turmoil, facing multiple, mutually reinforcing crises. for the first time since it began over 30 years ago, the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report has warned that global human development measures have declined across most countries in the past two years.

Background

  • Ever increasing Existential threat: The greatest existential threat of all, the triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss.
  • Climate change and extreme forms of weather events associated with it: Nine of the warmest years on record have come in the past decade alone. This year’s record-breaking heat waves, floods, droughts, and other extreme forms of weather have forced us to face these increasingly devastating impacts.
  • Window for action is closing fast: Climate change is a disruption multiplier in a disrupted world, rolling back progress across the global Sustainable Development Goals. Commitments we have now will not keep warming below the 1.5°C target that gives us the best chance of averting catastrophe.
  • LIFE, a fresh perspective: LIFE, or Lifestyle for Environment, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at COP26 in November 2021, brings a fresh and much-needed perspective.

World

What is “LIFE” called by PM Narendra Modi?

  • LIFE: “LIFE – Lifestyle for the Environment”, PM Modi had proposed the one-word mass movement “LIFE” at the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change at Glasgow last November.
  • A theme for COP27: “LIFE”, a global initiative launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will be the theme of the India pavilion at the upcoming COP27 at Sharm-El-Sheikh in Egypt.
  • LIFE Movement: Subsequently, PM Modi launched ‘Lifestyle for the Environment – LIFE Movement’ on 5 June on the occasion of world environment day.
  • What is the vision of LIFE: The vision of ‘LIFE’ is to live a lifestyle that is in tune with our planet and does not harm it The people who live such a lifestyle can be called “Pro-Planet people.”

What is LiFE-Movement?

  • Objective of LiFE: The idea promotes an environmentally conscious lifestyle that focuses on ‘mindful and deliberate utilisation’ instead of ‘mindless and wasteful consumption’.
  • Aim of LiFE: The LiFE Movement aims to utilise the power of collective action and nudge individuals across the world to undertake simple climate-friendly actions in their daily lives. The LiFE movement, additionally, also seeks to leverage the strength of social networks to influence social norms surrounding climate.
  • Creating Pro-planet people: The Mission plans to create and nurture a global network of individuals, namely ‘Pro-Planet People’ (P3), who will have a shared commitment to adopt and promote environmentally friendly lifestyles.
  • Seeks to behavioural change and individual actions: Through the P3 community, the Mission seeks to create an ecosystem that will reinforce and enable environmentally friendly behaviours to be self-sustainable. LIFE recognizes that small individual actions can tip the balance in the planet’s favour.
  • Mission liFE for India: Mission LiFE borrows from the past, operates in the present and focuses on the future. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle are the concepts woven into our life. The Circular Economy has been an integral part of our culture and lifestyle.

World

What can be done to fulfil the vision of LiFE?

  • Cultivating the attitude of individual responsibility starting from the home: Mindful choices cultivated by LIFE animate this spirit actions such as saving energy at home; cycling and using public transport instead of driving; eating more plant-based foods and wasting less; and leveraging our position as customers and employees to demand climate-friendly choices.
  • Applying the nudging techniques to encourage positive behaviour: Many of the goals of LIFE can be achieved by deploying ‘nudges’, gentle persuasion techniques to encourage positive behaviour. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) employs proven nudging techniques such as discouraging food waste by offering smaller plates in cafeterias; encouraging recycling by making bin lids eye-catching; and encouraging cycling by creating cycle paths.
  • Adopting greener consumption habits: According to the UNEP, more than two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to household consumption and lifestyles the urgent cuts to global emissions we need can only be achieved through widespread adoption of greener consumption habits.

World

How India could be the torch bearer?

  • Historical wisdom: “Vasudhaiv kutumbakam” which means the world is one family, India insists on this philosophy. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “the world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.” Even The Prime Minister recalled that Mahatma Gandhi talked about a zero-carbon lifestyle.
  • India’s proven track record of mass movements: India has a proven track record translating the aspirations of national missions into whole-of-society efforts. The success of the Swachh Bharat Mission, which mobilised individuals and communities across socio-economic strata to become drivers of collective good health and sanitation is an example.
  • India is strong to uphold Climate Justice: LIFE resonates with the global climate justice India has rightfully called for highlighting enhanced obligations those in developed countries bear, to support climate adaptation and mitigation for those most affected, yet least responsible. The average carbon footprint of a person in high income country is more than 80 times higher than that of a person in a least developed country. It is common sense and only fair to call on the developed world to shoulder a proportionate share of this transition.
  • Indi’s leadership on climate action at the international stage: From the Panchamrit targets announced by Mr. Modi at COP26, to support for the International Solar Alliance, the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and South-South cooperation platforms, from the world’s fifth largest economy with vibrant businesses making enormous investments in renewables and electric mobility, to a world class public digital tech stack, India brings scale, expertise and legitimacy; a well-positioned founding UN Member State bridging the G20 and G77.
  • India’s COP pavilions setting up an example: India has been setting up its pavilions at COPs since 2015 to showcase its achievements in climate actions. Several think tanks, civil society organizations, industry bodies and private sector organise side events at the India pavilion.

Conclusion

  • While governments and industry carry the lion’s share of responsibility for responding to the crisis of climate change, we as consumers play a large role in driving unsustainable production methods. With COP27 next month, we should commit to be an active partner of a global network of ‘Pro-Planet People’ (P3), to adopt and promote environmentally friendly lifestyles.

Mains Question

Q. In the time of the triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss, India shows a path for mitigating the climate crisis through LiFE movement. Discuss.

UPSC 2023 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Backsliding on climate action

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Paris agreement

Mains level: Paper 3- Climate change

Context

Europe is staring at a recession and its appetite for climate action is waning.

Developed countries moving away from commitment

  • Countries in Europe led by Germany, Austria and the Netherlands are cranking up their coal plants again.
  • Fossil fuels are making a comeback and countries are rejecting the European Union (EU)’s plan to reduce natural gas consumption by 15%. Dutch, Polish and other European farmers are protesting against emission cuts from agriculture.
  • In the U.S. too, the Senate and the Supreme Court have struck blows to climate action.
  • And in the U.S. too, prices of fuel started increasing last year, not just this year.
  • Fossil fuels are making a quiet comeback, since the strength of the U.S. is its oil and gas industry.
  • That is why we have just witnessed a ‘re-calibration’ of U.S. policy towards the Gulf.
  • Coal, oil and gas are not going anywhere in the developed world; they are, in fact, making a comeback.
  • The West had rushed to draw down on fossil fuels even before technology for renewables were in place.

Global peaking issue

  • Article 4 of the Paris Agreement defines ‘Global Peaking’ thus: “In order to achieve the long-term temperature goal set out in Article 2, Parties aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, recognizing that peaking will take longer for developing country Parties.”
  • The developed countries, given their historical emissions, will have to peak first.
  • That’s why the reference is to ‘global peaking’ and not ‘individual peaking’.
  • From this, it logically follows that when developing country parties peak later than developed countries, they will also achieve net zero later than developed countries.
  • Consequently, it is the logical conclusion of the Article 4 of the Paris Agreement that when we consider net zero, we should only consider ‘global net zero’ and not ‘individual net zero’ for 2050.
  • The statement calls on developed countries to do a net negative on mitigation by 2050 rather than just “net zero”, if they are serious about fighting climate change.
  • In effect, the West needs to do a net minus and not just net zero.
  • Thanks to the efforts of India, the phrase used in the 2021 summit-level declarations at both G-20 and Quad is ‘global net zero’. We need to build on this understanding.
  • India stands as beacon of hope in renewables.
  • It is time for all developing countries, especially the small island developing states, to make sure that the developed world doesn’t backslide on its commitments on mitigation yet again.

Way forward for developing countries

  • With countries of the developed world almost sure to renege on their 2030 Paris Agreement commitments, countries of the developing world must do everything to hold the countries of the developed world to their commitments.
  • The Western nations have already started reinterpreting the Paris Agreement and look to downgrade their commitments.
  • The concept of net zero is being cleverly misinterpreted.
  •  To bring this to the attention of the Global South, India, China and eight other countries from Africa, Asia and Latin America made a cross-regional statement on ‘global net zero’ on June 7 at the UN on World Environment Day.

Conclusion

COP 27 in Egypt gives us that opportunity to hold their feet to the fire. It is time for the developed world to make net minus pledges. If we don’t collectively push for it, we will be collectively pushed back.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

UNEP launches Green Fins Hub

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Green Fins Hub

Mains level: NA

fins

The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) has launched the Green Fins Hub, a global digital platform to give sustainable marine tourism a ‘major boost’.

Green Fins Hub

  • The Green Fins Global Hub will be a first-of-its-kind online support system to motivate scuba operators to improve their daily environmental practices at scale.
  • It aims to help diving and snorkeling operators worldwide to make simple, cost-efficient changes to their daily practices by utilizing tried and tested solutions.
  • It would also help them keep track of their annual improvements and communicate with their communities and customers.

Membership of Green Fins Hub

  • It will host two types of membership. One would be digital membership available for diving, snorkelling and liveaboard operations globally.
  • Throughout every year of membership, operators will receive environmental scores based on a detailed online self-evaluation and progress made on their action plans.
  • The Certified Members will continue to be assessed annually and trained in person at their operation.
  • The platform will be for operators around the world to raise industry needs, discuss environmental issues and share lessons and ideas with like-minded industry leaders, non-profits and governments.

 

UPSC 2023 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

What is the idea of Climate Reparation?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Climate reparation

Mains level: Read the attached story

Facing the worst flooding disaster in its history, Pakistan has begun demanding reparations, or compensation, from the rich countries that are mainly responsible for causing climate change.

Why in news?

  • On the face of it, Pakistan’s demand for reparations appears to be a long shot, but the principles being invoked are fairly well-established in environmental jurisprudence.
  • In fact, Pakistan is not alone in making this demand.
  • Almost the entire developing world has for years been insisting on setting up an international mechanism for financial reparation for loss and damage caused by climate disasters.
  • The issue has come up repeatedly at international negotiations for climate change, and on other platforms.

What is Climate Reparation?

  • At its heart, the demand for compensation for loss and damage from climate disasters is an extension of the universally acknowledged “Polluter Pays” principle.
  • This makes the polluter liable for paying not just for the cost of remedial action, but also for compensating the victims of environmental damage caused by their actions.
  • Climate justice is based on the notion of not being punished for someone else’s bad behaviour, but it does not sanction additional bad behaviour.

Who are responsible for climate change?

  • In the climate change framework, the burden of responsibility falls on those rich countries that have contributed most of the greenhouse gas emissions since 1850, generally considered to be the beginning of the industrial age.
  • The United States and the European Union, including the UK, account for over 50% of all emissions during this time.
  • If Russia, Canada, Japan, and Australia too are included, the combined contribution goes past 65%, or almost two-thirds of all emissions.
  • Historical responsibility is important because carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, and it is the cumulative accumulation of carbon dioxide that causes global warming.

What about developing countries?

  • A country like India, currently the third largest emitter, accounts for only 3% of historical emissions.
  • China, which is the world’s biggest emitter for over 15 years now, has contributed about 11% to total emissions since 1850.

Why need climate reparations?

  • While the impact of climate change is global, it is much more severe on the poorer nations because of their geographical locations and weaker capacity to cope.
  • Countries that have had negligible contributions to historical emissions and have severe limitations of resources are the ones that face the most devastating impacts of climate change.

Institutional mechanism for Climate Reparations

(1) United Nations

  • The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the 1994 international agreement that lays down the broad principles of the global effort to fight climate change.
  • It explicitly acknowledges this differentiated responsibility of nations.
  • It makes it very clear that rich countries must provide both the finance and the technology to the developing nations to help them tackle climate change.
  • It is this mandate that later evolved into the $100 billion amount that the rich countries agreed to provide every year to the developing world.
  • While this promise is yet to be met, this $100 billion per year amount is not meant for loss and damage.
  • Climate disasters were not a regular occurrence in 1994, and as such the UNFCCC does not make a mention of loss and damage.
  • This particular demand emerged much later, and faced stiff resistance from the developed nations.

(2) Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM)

  • The WIM for Loss and Damages, set up in 2013, was the first formal acknowledgment of the need to compensate developing countries struck by climate disasters.
  • However, the progress on this front has been painfully slow.
  • No funding mechanism, or even a promise to provide funds, has come about.

Pushback from Developed Countries

  • It is not hard to understand why the developed countries are dead against compensation claims.
  • They are struggling to put together even the $100 billion per year flow that they had reluctantly agreed to provide.
  • Further, loss and damage claims can easily spiral into billions of dollars, or even more.
  • The report said that the United States alone is estimated to have “inflicted more than $1.9 trillion in damages to other countries” due to its emissions.

Issues with loss assessment

  • There are practical difficulties in estimating how much a country has actually suffered due to the actions of others.
  • To begin with, it has to be established that the disaster was caused by climate change.
  • Then there are non-economic losses as well, including loss of lives, displacement and migration, health impacts, and damage to cultural heritage.
  • Then there is this other step about assessing how much of the losses are due to the event itself, and what could be attributed to misgovernance.

Conclusion

  • A lot of background work is going on to create the framework in which it would be possible to quantify the compensation due to an affected country.
  • What Pakistan has done, through its demands for reparations, is to call attention to this often neglected aspect.

 

UPSC 2023 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

What is a Carbon Market, and why does India want to create one?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Carbon Credits

Mains level: Carbon trading

The Bill to amend the Energy Conservation Act, 2001 seeks to establish a domestic carbon market and facilitate trade in carbon credits.

What are Carbon Credits?

  • Carbon credits are measurable, verifiable emission reductions from certified climate action projects.
  • These projects reduce, remove or avoid greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  • But they also bring a whole host of other positive benefits, for example, they empower communities, protect ecosystems, restore forests or reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Projects must adhere to a rigorous set of criteria to pass verification by third-party agencies and a review by a panel of experts at a leading carbon offset standard.
  • After an organization or an individual buys a carbon credit, the credit is permanently retired so it can’t be reused.

What are Carbon Markets?

  • Carbon markets are regulatory structures that allow, in particular, oil and gas-intensive companies or heavy industry (or, in the case of COP25, countries) to reduce their economic footprint through a series of incentives.
  • The idea behind this system is that the most polluting countries can purchase the right to pollute more from countries that have not reached their emissions limits.
  • The 1997 Kyoto Protocol turned polluting emissions into a commodity.
  • For example, the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) is the largest in the world and has been in operation since 2015.

How is the concept evolved?

  • When the world evolved the ‘clean development mechanism’ (CDM) after the Kyoto Protocol agreement of 1997 as companies in the developing world could put up projects.
  • These include renewable energy or afforestation — that helped reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and earn ‘credits’ that could be sold in the market.
  • It was expected that these credits would be bought by the developed countries that had committed to emissions cuts under the Protocol.
  • Thus emerged the CDM market, aka ‘compliance market’. Alongside, environmentally conscious entities also started buying these carbon credits (or offsets) — the ‘voluntary market’.

What is the status now?

  • This system functioned well for a few years.
  • But the market collapsed because of the lack of demand for carbon credits.
  • As the world negotiated a new climate treaty in place of the Kyoto Protocol, the developed countries no longer felt the need to adhere to their targets under the Kyoto Protocol.
  • A carbon market was envisaged to work under the successor Paris Agreement, but its details are still being worked out.

Global successes

  • Domestic or regional carbon markets are already functioning in several places, most notably in Europe, where an emission trading scheme (ETS) works on similar principles.
  • Industrial units in Europe have prescribed emission standards to adhere to, and they buy and sell credits based on their performance.
  • China, too, has a domestic carbon market.

Mechanism in India

  • A similar scheme for incentivizing energy efficiency has been running in India for over a decade now.
  • This BEE scheme, called- Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) Scheme allows units to earn efficiency certificates if they outperform the prescribed efficiency standards.
  • The laggards can buy these certificates to continue operating.

What does new Amendment seeks to bring?

  • The new carbon market that is proposed to be created through this amendment to the Energy Conservation Act, would be much wider in scope.
  • Although the details of this carbon market are not yet known, it is likely to be on the lines of the European ETS, facilitating the buying and selling of carbon credits.

 

UPSC 2023 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Cabinet nod for Glasgow Climate Pledges

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NDCs

Mains level: Read the attached story

India ratified pledges made by Prime Minister in Glasgow to accelerate the country’s reliance on renewable energy to power the economy and be effectively free from use of fossil fuels by 2070.

Why discuss them?

  • The approved pledges were fewer than those PM committed to.

What is NDC (Nationally Determined Commitments)?

  • NDCs are at the heart of the Paris Agreement and the achievement of these long-term goals.
  • They embody efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
  • The Paris Agreement (Article 4, paragraph 2) requires each Party to prepare, communicate and maintain successive NDCs that it intends to achieve.
  • Parties shall pursue domestic mitigation measures, with the aim of achieving the objectives of such contributions.
  • The agreement requests each country to outline and communicate their post-2020 climate actions, known as their NDCs.

India’s NDC

  • India’s NDC, or nationally determined commitments, have been updated with these two promises, both of which are enhancements of existing targets, and would be submitted to the UN climate body.
  • The 2015 Paris Agreement requires every country to set self-determined climate targets which have to be progressively updated with more ambitious goals every few years.
  • India’s first NDC was submitted in 2015, just before the Paris Agreement was finalised.

India’s original NDC contained three main targets for 2030:

  1. A 33 to 35 per cent reduction in emissions intensity (or emissions per unit of GDP) from 2005 levels
  2. At least 40 per cent of total electricity generation to come from non-fossil renewable sources
  3. An increase in forest cover to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent

Commitment made at Glasgow

  • At the Glasgow meeting last year, Modi promised to strengthen India’s climate commitments.
  • He made five promises, and called it the ‘Panchamrit’, the nectar that Indians prepare using five ingredients.
  • Two of these were upward revision of existing targets, the ones that have been made official and put in the updated NDC. Accordingly,
  1. India will now reduce its emission intensity by at least 45 per cent, instead of just 33 to 35 per cent, from 2005 levels by 2030.
  2. Also, it would now ensure that at least 50 per cent of its total electricity generation, not just 40 per cent, would come from renewable sources by 2030.
  3. The forestry target has not been touched.

India’s climate targets: Existing and New

  • PM had said that at least 500 GW of India’s installed electricity generation capacity in 2030 would be based on non-fossil fuel sources.
  • Also, he had promised that the country would ensure avoided emissions of at least one billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent between now and 2030.
  • These two promises have not been converted into official targets.
  • But these are closely linked with others, and any progress on official targets would get reflected in these goals as well.

What about Net Zero?

  • Modi had also announced a net zero target for India for the year 2070.
  • Net zero is a situation in which a country’s greenhouse gas emissions are offset entirely, either by absorption of carbon dioxide.
  • This may be done through natural processes like photosynthesis in plants, or through physical removal of greenhouse gases using futuristic technologies.
  • But net zero is a long-term target and does not qualify to be included in the NDC which seeks five to 10 year climate targets from countries.

India’s progress

  • The upward revision of the two climate targets — those relating to reductions in emissions intensity and proportion of non-fossil sources in electricity generation — do not come as a surprise.
  • India is on way to achieve its existing targets well ahead of the 2030 timeline.
  • India’s emissions intensity was 24 per cent lower than the 2005 levels in the year 2016 itself, the last year for which official numbers are available.
  • It is very likely that the 33 to 35 per cent reduction target has already been achieved, or is very close to being achieved.
  • A further reduction of 10-12 per cent from here, to meet the new target, does not appear too challenging, even though these reductions get progressively tougher to achieve.
  • The other target — having at least 40 per cent of electricity coming from non-fossil fuels — has officially been reached.

Tricky Glasgow promises

Two promises that Modi had made in Glasgow have not been converted into official targets:

UPSC 2023 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

UN declares Access to Clean, Healthy Environment as Universal Human Right

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Article 21

Mains level: Read the attached story

Every person on the planet has the right to live in a clean, healthy environment, as declared United Nations (UN) in a historic resolution.

Access to Clean, Healthy Environment

  • The resolution recognizes the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a human right essential for the full enjoyment of all human rights and, among others.
  • It calls upon States and international organizations to adopt policies and scale up efforts to ensure a clean, healthy and sustainable environment for all.
  • The landmark development demonstrates that the member states can unite in the collective fight against the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.
  • The declaration sheds light on almost all the rights connected to the health of our environment.
  • The declaration adopted by over 160 UN member nations, including India, is not legally binding.

Why such move?

  • This right was not included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948.
  • So, this is a historic resolution that will change the very nature of international human rights law.
  • The resolution will help to reduce environmental injustices and protection gaps.
  • It can empower people, especially those in vulnerable situations, including environmental human rights defenders, children, youth, women and indigenous people.

Landmark resolution after 50 years

  • Some 50 years ago, the United Nations Conference on the Environment in Stockholm concluded with a resolution placing environmental issues at the global forefront.
  • Today, over 176 countries have adopted environmental framework laws on the basis of it.
  • From a foothold in the 1972 Stockholm Declaration, these rights have been integrated into constitutions, national laws and regional agreements.
  • In October 2021, it was recognised by the UN Human Rights Council.

What were other such developments?

  • July 28, 2010, the UN general assembly recognised the right to water and sanitation through its resolution.
  • It stated that clean drinking water and sanitation “are essential to the realisation of all human rights”.
  • In response to this, governments across the world have changed their laws and regulations related to water and sanitation.

Issues over this declaration

  • The words’ ‘clean’, ‘healthy’ and ‘sustainable’ lack an internationally agreed definition.
  • The text fails to refer to the foundational principle of equity in international environmental law.
  • Nevertheless, this has given more power in the hands of environmental activists to question environmentally destructive actions and policies.

Back2Basics: Right to Clean Environment in India

  • The right to life has been used in a diversified manner in India.
  • It includes, inter alia, the right to survive as a species, quality of life, the right to live with dignity and the right to livelihood.
  • In India, this has been expressly recognised as a constitutional right under Article 21.
  • It states: ‘No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedures established by law.’
  • The Supreme Court expanded this negative right in two ways.
  1. Firstly, any law affecting personal liberty should be reasonable, fair and just.
  2. Secondly, the Court recognized several unarticulated liberties that were implied by article 21.
  • It is by this second method that the Supreme Court interpreted the right to life and personal liberty to include the right to a clean environment.

 

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Bonn meet

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: AOSIS

Mains level: Paper 3- Challenges in climate finance

Context

From June 6-16, representatives from more than 100 countries descended on Bonn to hold preliminary discussions on what could be the final communiqué at the conclusion of COP27, to be held at Sharm-el-Sheikh later this year.

Key takeaways from the discussion

  • Centred on climate finance: Discussions were centred around climate finance and there was hardly any convergence of issues.
  • No convergence: The developed and developing countries or for that matter, big polluters and small polluters, were speaking from the ends of the spectrum with no meeting ground.
  • Focus on adaptation and mitigation: Much of the discussion was around “loss and damage”, which was being experienced by many of the smaller countries, especially with big coastlines, due to rising river levels, loss of agricultural productivity, loss of livelihoods, etc.
  • The idea to provide assistance for “loss and damage” was opposed by the US and the EU.
  • Need for alternative funding: The Green Climate Fund is considered too cumbersome and the process too lengthy.
  • Hence, the need for an alternate funding route was imperative.
  • It was argued that one needs to look into this issue right now and provide financial assistance to cope with it.
  • This brings into focus the debate between adaptation and mitigation.
  • The demand of the developing countries for a provision of climate finance at a scale much higher than $100 billion a year fell on deaf ears.
  • Incidentally, the figure of $100 billion was arrived at arbitrarily and that too way back in 2009.

Mitigation Vs Adaptation debate

  • More funding directed toward mitigation: It is generally felt that whatever funding has come for climate change issues has mostly been directed towards mitigation.
  • This is primarily because mitigation projects have a cost-benefit analysis and, therefore, it is easy to lend money because you can get it back through interest payments.
  • Cost-benefit analysis: This is primarily because mitigation projects have a cost-benefit analysis and, therefore, it is easy to lend money because you can get it back through interest payments.
  • Mitigation would mean, for example, setting up solar generation units to avoid carbon footprint.
  • Cost-benefit analysis is difficult for adaptation projects, which would be in the form of grants.

Actions needed to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius

  • 2.4°C by NDC: The Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), as on date, are good enough to limit temperature rise to 2.4 degrees centigrade, provided all the targets are met.
  • 1.8°C with net-zero commitment: In addition, if countries also meet their net-zero commitments by 2050, the temperature rise will still be around 1.8 degrees centigrade.
  • 1.5°C:  To limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees centigrade, emissions will have to be cut down by half by 2030.
  • The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) expressed the view that to be more meaningful, the aim should be to reduce emissions by 20 per cent by 2025 itself.
  • The logic is that the next round of NDCs is due only in 2025 and by that time, it would be too late to formulate a plan that is achievable by 2030.

Issue of using remaining carbon space

  • The use of the remaining carbon space available to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees centigrade, a highly contentious issue, was also discussed in Bonn.
  • The US resisted being labelled as a “big emitter” and was not willing to take responsibility for its historical emissions.
  • There is no single estimate of how much carbon space is really available as on date, but broad indications are that at the given emissions rate, it would be roughly 10 years.
  • The raging debate is how to distribute this available space equitably amongst countries, which would mean that someone has to take the burden of stiffer targets.
  • What the US wanted other big emitters like China and India take on greater responsibilities for cutting down emissions.
  • However, the like-minded group of developing countries (LMDCs) — which included China, India, Saudi Arabia and the Arab countries — were opposed to this.

Conclusion

If there was any hope that discussions at Bonn would provide an acceptable draft, which could be taken forward during COP27, it was misplaced.

UPSC 2023 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)


Back2Basics: The Paris Agreement

  • The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016.
  • Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.
  • To achieve this long-term temperature goal, countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate-neutral world by mid-century.
  • It is a landmark process because, for the first time, a binding agreement brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.
  • Implementation of the Paris Agreement requires economic and social transformation, based on the best available science.
  • The Agreement works on a 5- year cycle of increasingly ambitious climate action carried out by countries.
  • By 2020, countries submit their plans for climate action known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

NDCs

  • In their NDCs, countries communicate actions they will take to reduce their Greenhouse Gas emissions in order to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  • Countries also communicate in the NDCs actions they will take to build resilience to adapt to the impacts of rising temperatures.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

What is the EU’s Sustainable Finance Taxonomy?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: EU Taxonomy

Mains level: Not Much

Activists have been widely criticizing the EU’s sustainable finance taxonomy as a “greenwashing” exercise that puts the European Union’s climate change targets at risk.

What is the EU Taxonomy?

  • The EU taxonomy is a complex system to classify which parts of the economy may be marketed as sustainable investments.
  • It includes economic activities, as well as detailed environmental criteria that each economic activity must meet to earn a green label.

Why in news now?

  • Rules for most sectors came into effect this year, covering investments including steel plants, electric cars and building renovations.
  • The rules for gas and nuclear energy, however, have been long delayed amid intense lobbying from governments who disagree on whether the fuels help fight climate change.

What does it say about gas and nuclear energy?

  • The European Parliament supported that proposal in a vote paving the way for it to become law and apply from 2023.
  • Under the proposal, for a gas-fuelled power plant to be deemed green, it must emit no more than 270 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt hour, or have average emissions of 550g CO2e/kW over 20 years.
  • It must also commit to switch to low-carbon gases by 2035.
  • Gas and nuclear power plants are classed as transitional activities.

What’s the taxonomy for?

  • The taxonomy does not ban investments in activities not labelled “green”, but it limits which ones companies and investors can claim are climate-friendly.
  • The EU’s goal to eliminate its net emissions by 2050 will require huge investments, much of it private funding.
  • The rules also aim to stamp out green-washing, where organisations exaggerate their environmental credentials, among so-called eco-friendly investment products.

Who does it apply to?

  • Providers of financial products – including pension providers – in the EU must disclose which investments comply with the taxonomy’s climate criteria.
  • For each investment, fund or portfolio, they must disclose what share of underlying investments comply with the rules.
  • Large companies and listed firms must also disclose what share of their turnover and capital expenditure complies.
  • That means polluting companies can get recognition for making green investments.
  • For example, if an oil company invested in a wind farm, it could label that expenditure as green.

What makes a “green” investment?

The rules classify three types of green investments.

  • First, those that substantially contribute to green goals, for example, wind power farms.
  • Second, those that enable other green activities, for example, facilities that can store renewable electricity or hydrogen.
  • Third, transitional activities that cannot be made fully sustainable, but which have emissions below industry average and do not lock in polluting assets or crowd out greener alternatives.

 

UPSC 2023 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Commonwealth adopts ‘Living Lands Charter’

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Living Lands Charter

Mains level: Land degradation

All 54 Commonwealth members have agreed to voluntarily dedicate a ‘living land’ in their respective countries to future generations, in line with the strategy set for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

Living Lands Charter

  • The non-binding mandates that member countries will safeguard global land resources and arrest land degradation while acting against climate change, biodiversity loss and sustainable management.
  • It helps to encapsulate the combined effort to hold the global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius, said Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland.
  • The document came after nearly two years of intense consultation, engagement and negotiation with member countries at UN Rio Convention.

Key objectives

  • Leaders and their representatives noted with concern in the charter the alarming decline in the health and productivity of global land resources.
  • It aimed to support member countries to effectively deliver their commitments under the three Rio conventions:
  1. UN Convention on Biological Diversity
  2. UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
  3. UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

Major outcomes

  • The attendees also underlined the principle ofcritical guardianship” provided by indigenous peoples and local communities in protecting land and vital ecosystem services.
  • The agreement was released along with a final wide-ranging communiqué by leaders, including on specific items on climate change.
  • Country heads underscored in it that the “urgent threat of climate change” exacerbates existing vulnerabilities and presents a significant threat to COVID-19 recovery efforts.

 

Try this PYQ from CSP 2012:

Q.Consider the following statements:

  1. The Commonwealth has no charter, treaty or constitution
  2. All the territories/countries once under the British Empire (jurisdiction/rule/mandate) automatically joined the Commonwealth as its members

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

Post your answers here.
4
Please leave a feedback on thisx

Back2Basics: Commonwealth of Nations

  • The Commonwealth of Nations is an intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states that are mostly former territories of the British Empire.
  • It dates back to the first half of the 20th century with the decolonization of the British Empire through increased self-governance of its territories.
  • It was originally created as the British Commonwealth of Nation through the Balfour Declaration at the 1926 Imperial Conference, and formalized by the UK through the Statute of Westminster in 1931.
  • The current body was formally constituted by the London Declaration in 1949, which modernized the community, and established the member states as “free and equal”.
  • The symbol of this free association is Queen Elizabeth II, who is the Head of the Commonwealth.
  • The Queen is head of state of 16 member states, known as the Commonwealth realms, while 32 other members are republics and five others have different monarchs.
  • Member has no legal obligations to one another. Instead, they are united by language, history, culture and their shared values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

 

UPSC 2023 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

What is Stockholm+50?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Stockholm+50

Mains level: Not Much

Stockholm+50 conference — a follow-on to the 1972 conference to be held in Stockholm from 2-3 June 2022 is the one that started the environmental movement we see today.

What is Stockholm +50?

  • Stockholm +50 is an international environmental meeting hosted by the United Nations General Assembly to be held in Stockholm, Sweden from 2-3 June 2022.
  • The theme of Stockholm+50 is “a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity.
  • In 1972, the UN Conference on the Environment in Stockholm was held, and it was essentially the first conference that managed to address environmental issues on the right level.
  • Fifty years later, the United Nations is back in Stockholm to commemorate that important milestone.

Significance: Establishment of UNEP

  • In 1972, some 122 countries attended, and participants adopted a series of principles on the environment, including the Stockholm Declaration and Action Plan for the Human Environment.
  • The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was created as a result of the conference.

What is India’s connection with this?

  • Then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in her seminal speech in the conference brought forward the connection between ecological management and poverty alleviation.
  • Her call remains as pertinent now as then: “We have to prove to the disinherited majority of the world that ecology and conservation will not work against their interest but will bring an improvement in their lives.”

Why is Stockholm +50 important?

  • There was a lot of media attention around COP26 last year where world leaders gathered to continue the work to uphold the actions promised by the Paris Agreement, 2015.
  • Later this year, there will be COP27 in Egypt, where organizers will aim to make the conference a radical turning point in international climate efforts.

What will be happening at Stockholm +50?

  • The event in the beginning of June will see representatives from around the world gather in Stockholm to discuss how to achieve a sustainable and inclusive future for all.
  • Stockholm +50 could usher in a much-needed new boost to environmental awareness and action for the next half-century, just as it did five decades ago.

 

UPSC 2023 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

A planetary pressure-adjusted Human Development Index (HDI).

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: SDGs

Mains level: Paper 3- Integrated approach to social and environmental problems

Context

Ever since the UNDP took up computation of the HDI in 1990, there have been adjustments such as inequality-adjusted HDI. The environment is one such issue now considered to be an essential component to be factored in to measure human development.

Planetary pressure-adjusted Human Development Index

  • The purpose of the planetary pressure adjusted HDI, or PHDI, is to communicate to the larger society the risk involved in continuing with existing practices in our resource use and environmental management, and the retarding effect that environmental stress can perpetuate on development.
  • When planetary pressure is adjusted, the world average of HDI in 2019 came down from 0.737 to 0.683.
  • PHDI of India: In the case of India, the PHDI is 0.626 against an HDI of 0.645 with an average per capita CO2 emission (production) and material footprints of 2.0 tonnes and 4.6 tonnes, respectively.
  • India gained in global rankings by eight points (131st rank under HDI and 123rd rank under PHDI), and its per capita carbon emission (production) and material footprint are well below the global average.

India’s twin challenge

  • India faces the twin challenges of poverty alleviation and environmental safeguarding.
  • India’s natural resource use is far from efficient, environmental problems are growing, and the onslaught on nature goes on unabated with little concern about its fallout.
  • At the same time, India has 27.9% people under the Multidimensional Poverty Index ranging from 1.10% in Kerala to 52.50% in Bihar, and a sizable section of them directly depend on natural resources for their sustenance.

India’s performance on SDGs

  • The SDGs have acquired high priority in the context of the issue of climate change and its impact on society.
  • The Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of IPCC 2021 laid stress on limiting global temperature rise at the 1.5° C level and strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.
  • ‘No poverty’ and ‘Zero hunger’ are the first and second SDGs.
  •  According to NITI Aayog (2020-21), out of 100 points set for the grade of Achiever, India scored 60 (Performer grade, score 50-64) for no poverty and 47 (Aspirant grade, score 0-49) for zero hunger, with wide State-level variations.
  • India’s score in the SDGs of 8, 9, and 12 (‘Decent work and economic growth’; ‘Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure’ and ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’, respectively) — considered for working out planetary pressure — are 61 (performer), 55 (performer) and 74 (front runner), respectively.

Way forward

  • Nature-based solutions: It is now well established that there are interdependencies of earth system processes including social processes, and their relationships are non-linear and dialectic.
  • Therefore, the central challenge is to nest human development including social and economic systems into the ecosystem, and biosphere building on a systematic approach to nature-based solutions that put people at the core.
  • Integrated perspective and local level involvement: Social and environmental problems cannot be addressed in isolation anymore; an integrated perspective is necessary.
  • This can be conceived and addressed at the local level, for which India has constitutional provisions in the form of the 73rd and 74th Amendments.

Conclusion

An integrated perspective is necessary as social and environmental problems cannot be addressed in isolation anymore.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

For carbon sequestration, India must revisit its policy framework

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: REDD+

Mains level: Paper 3- Ensuring participation of people to achieve desired target of carbon sequestration

Context

India’s pledge to set a net-zero target by 2070, at the COP26 summit, Glasgow, has again highlighted the importance of forests to help mitigate the challenges of climate change.

Need for sustainable management of forests

  • The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) framework (2013) of REDD+ for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation has highlighted the importance of forest along with the ‘sustainable management of forests for the conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks’.
  • Land-based sinks: In a study by Griscom (2017), land-based sinks (natural climate solutions which also include forests) can provide up to 37% of emission reduction and help in keeping the global temperature below 2° C.
  • Natural regeneration model: Recent research has favoured a natural regeneration model of restoration over the existing much-hyped mode of tree planting as such forests are said to secure nearly 32% carbon storage, as per one report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Degradation and deforestation in India

  •  As per the State of Forests Report (1989), the country had 2,57,409 sq.km (7.83% of its geographical area) under the open forest category, having a density of 10% to less than 40%.
  • However, in 30 years (2019) this has been increased to 3,04,499 sq. km (9.26%).
  • This means every year on average, nearly 1.57 lakh hectare of forests was degraded. 
  • Anthropogenic pressure: This degradation highlights the presence of anthropogenic pressures including encroachment, grazing, fire, which our forests are subjected to.

Need for the participation of people to achieve target of carbon sequestration

  • The degradation warrants the participation of people as an essential and effective route to achieve the desired target of carbon sequestration through the restoration of forests.
  • As envisaged in National Forest Policy, 1988, India made its attempt, in 1990, to engage local communities in a partnership mode while protecting and managing forests and restoring wastelands with the concept of care and share. 
  • Later, the concept of forest development agencies was introduced to consolidate the efforts in an autonomous model.
  • Creation of joint forest management committees: The efforts to make this participatory approach operative resulted in the formation of nearly 1.18 lakh joint forest management committees managing over 25 million hectares of forest area.
  • Most of these became active and operative while implementing various projects financed by external agencies such as the World Bank, the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund (OECF) Japan, the Department for International Development (DFID) United Kingdom and the European Union (EU).
  • A similar system of joint management in the case of national parks, sanctuaries and tiger reserves which existed in the name of eco-development committees initially proved effective.
  • However, the completion of the project period and lack of subsequent funding affected their functionality and also the protection of forests due to a lack of support from participating local communities including associated non-governmental organisations.
  • Customary participation: Except for the National Mission for Green India, in all other centrally sponsored programmes such as Project Tiger, fire management, Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats (IDWH) including the Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), the lack of priority and policy support to ensure the participation of local communities via the institutions of joint forest management committees slowly made their participation customary.
  • This caused a gradual decline in their effectiveness.
  • Role change: The role of local institutions of gram panchayat or joint forest management committees is now restricted to be a consultative institution instead of being partners in planning and implementation.
  • Implications of role change: This indifference and alienation from the participatory planning and implementation of various schemes

Way forward

  • Revisit legal and policy mechanism: To achieve net-zero targets there is a need to revisit our existing legal and policy mechanisms.
  • Incentivise local communities: We also need to incentivise the local communities appropriately and ensure fund flow for restoration interventions.
  • There is a need for duly providing for the adequate participation of local people in planning and implementation through local institutions.
  • Replicate Telangana model: Political priority and appropriate policy interventions as done recently in Telangana by amending the panchayat and municipal acts and creating a provision for Telangana Haritha Nidhi need replication in other States.
  • Financial and institutional support mechanisms: These should be supported by enabling financial and institutional support mechanisms and negotiations with stakeholders
  • Though India did not become a signatory of the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use, the considerations of land tenure and the forest rights of participatory communities with accelerated finances will help aid steps in the race toward net zero.

Consider the question “India is witnessing enormous degradation of forests and deforestation. This warrants the participation of people as an essential and effective route to achieve the desired target of carbon sequestration. In context of this, elaborate the importance of people participation and suggest the way forward.”

Conclusion

This inclusive approach with political prioritisation will not only help reduce emissions but also help to conserve and increase ‘our forest cover’ to ‘a third of our total area’. It will also protect our once rich and precious biological diversity.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

A partnership to carry India into net-zero future

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Commitment to net-zero emission targets

Mains level: Paper 3- Transition towards clean energy

Context

At a time when our planet faces an existential crisis, there is little doubt that we need innovative, scientific and urgent steps to secure humanity’s future.

India’s climate commitment

  • We need to act decisively to reach global net-zero, restricting future cumulative emissions to the remaining carbon budget — as COP26 noted — if the rise in temperature is to remain within the limits of the Paris Agreement.
  • At COP26, India announced its climate commitments — the “Panchamrit”, including a commitment to reach net-zero by 2070.
  • India’s announcement of its net-zero goal is a major step considering that our country is not the cause of global warming.
  • Its historical cumulative emissions are a mere 4.37 per cent of the world’s total. 

India’s steps to achieve the targets

[1] India’s renewable energy targets and achievements

  • India’s renewable energy targets have steadily become more ambitious, from the 175 GW by 2022 declared at Paris, to 450 GW by 2030 at the UN Climate Summit, and now 500 GW by 2030, announced at COP26.
  • India has also announced the target of 50 per cent installed power generation capacity from non-fossil energy sources by 2030, raising the existing target of 40 per cent, which has already been almost achieved.
  • Renewable technologies: India will not lag in terms of new cutting-edge renewable technologies and has already announced a Hydrogen Energy Mission for grey and green hydrogen.
  • In energy efficiency, the market-based scheme of Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) has avoided 92 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions during its first and second cycles.

[2] India’s E-mobility transtion

  • FAME: India is accelerating its e-mobility transition with the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles Scheme to support the electric vehicle market development and enable its manufacturing ecosystem to achieve self-sustenance.
  • Incentives for customers and companies: The government has also announced a slew of incentives for customers and companies to promote e-vehicles.
  • Adoption of BS-VI: India leapfrogged from Bharat Stage-IV (BS-IV) to Bharat Stage-VI (BS-VI) emission norms by April 1, 2020.
  • Scrapping policy: A voluntary vehicle scrapping policy to phase out old and unfit vehicles now complements these schemes.
  • Electrification of railway routes: Indian Railways is charging ahead, targeting the full electrification of all broad-gauge routes by 2023.

[3] Ujjwala Yojana and UJALA

  • The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana has benefitted 88 million households with LPG connections.
  • More than 367 million LED bulbs have been distributed under the UJALA scheme, leading to energy savings of more than 47 billion units of electricity per year and a reduction of 38.6 million tonnes of CO2 per year.
  • With these and many other initiatives, India has already achieved a reduction of 24 per cent in the emission intensity of its GDP between 2005 and 2016, and is on track to meet its target of 33 to 35 per cent by 2030.

Role of private sector

  • Since industries also contribute to GHG emissions, any climate action will need to reduce or offset emissions that emerge from industrial and commercial activity.
  • The public and private sectors in India are already playing a key role in meeting the climate challenge, helped by growing customer and investor awareness, as well as increasing regulatory and disclosure requirements.
  • Enterprises are well-positioned to not just adapt to but also gain from the low-carbon transition.
  • The low-carbon transition challenge is bigger for companies that are largely coal-powered and contribute more than half of our country’s emissions.
  • The business fraternity must make the best possible use of this opportunity to invest in climate technologies and expand the use of renewable energy sources.
  • The Indian cement industry has taken pioneering measures and achieved one of the biggest sectoral low carbon milestones worldwide.

Way forward

  • India’s journey on the low-carbon pathway towards net-zero requires the active participation of all stakeholders.
  • Sustainable lifestyles and climate justice are at the core of this journey.

Conclusion

With cooperation from the private sector, India will be able to responsibly use its fair share of the global carbon space and contribute to reaching the global net-zero goal to build a more environmentally sustainable planet.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

India votes against Resolution on Climate Change at UNSC

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: UNSC

Mains level: Climate change negotiations

India has voted against a draft resolution at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) linking climate to security.

About United Nations Security Council

  • The UNSC is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions.
  • It is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.

Its members

  • The Security Council consists of fifteen members. Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, and the United States—serve as the body’s five permanent members (P5).
  • These permanent members can veto any substantive Security Council resolution, including those on the admission of new member states or candidates for Secretary-General.
  • The Council also has 10 non-permanent members, elected on a regional basis to serve two-year terms.
  • The body’s presidency rotates monthly among its members.

What was the recent draft about?

  • The objective of the draft was to examine how terrorism and security risks could be linked to climate change.

Reasons cited by India

  • Deviation from UNFCCC: The draft was an attempt to shift climate talks from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to the Security Council and a “step backward” for collective action on the issue.
  • Evasion of responsibility: The attempt to discuss climate action and climate justice issues at the UNSC was “motivated by a desire to evade responsibility in the appropriate forum.”
  • Veto hegemony over Climate Action: Countries are attempting to bring climate talks to the UNSC so that decisions could be taken without consensus or the involvement of most developing countries.
  • Historic pollutants: Many of the UNSC members were the primary contributors to climate change due to historical emissions.
  • Overtly ambitious targets: Indian officials had said at the conclusion of COP26 that India alone would need a trillion dollars by 2030 to achieve its climate ambitions.

Significance of UNFCC

  • The UN already has a specialized agency, the UNFCCC, for discussing all matters related to climate change.
  • The parties to the UNFCCC — over 190 countries — meet several times every year, including at a two-week year-ending conference like the one at Glasgow, to work on a global approach to combat climate change.
  • It is this process that has given rise to the Paris Agreement, and its predecessor the Kyoto Protocol, the international instrument that is designed to respond to the climate change crisis.

Arguments in favor of UNSC in climate talks

  • Preventing conflicts: The UNSC exists primarily to prevent conflicts and maintain global peace.
  • International security: A few EU countries, led by Germany, have been pushing for a role for UNSC in climate change discussions citing international security dimensions.
  • Climate-led conflicts: Climate change-induced food or water shortage, loss of habitat or livelihood, or migration can exacerbate existing conflicts or even create new ones.
  • UN Peacekeeping: This can have implications for the UN field missions that are deployed across the world in peacekeeping efforts.

Issues with UNSC

  • Veto by Russia and China: These two permanent members have always been opposed to the move to bring climate change on the Security Council agenda.
  • Lack of expertise: The opposing countries claim that the UNSC does not have the expertise as compared to UNFCCC.
  • Lack of consensus: Unlike UNFCCC, where decisions are taken by consensus of all the 190-plus countries, the UNSC would enable climate change decision-making by a handful of developed countries.

India is in highlight again

  • This was the second time that India went against the tide to block a climate change-related proposal that it did not agree with.
  • At the Glasgow COP, India had forced a last-minute amendment in the final draft agreement to ensure that a provision calling for “phase-out” of coal was changed to “phase-down”.

 

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

India, while moving to renewable energy needs to focus on sustainable well-being

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Paper 3- Net-zero through sustainable well being

Context

With current per capita emissions that are less than half the global average, India’s pledge to reach ‘net zero’ emissions by 2070 has cemented India’s credentials as a global leader.

Implication of net-zero by 2070

  • The political implication of the date 2070 is that the world should get to ‘net-zero’ by 2050.
  • For that, the rich countries will need to do more and step up closer to their share of the carbon budget.
  • India’s stand also signals that it will not act under external pressure, as requiring equal treatment is the hallmark of a global power, and will have an impact on other issues.

How focus on coal harms developing countries

  • The subject of oil was not touched at COP26, even as automobile emissions are the fastest growing emissions, because it is a defining feature of western civilisation.
  • Most abundant source of energy: Coal is the most abundant energy source, essential for base load in electrification, and the production of steel and cement.
  • Its use declines after the saturation level of infrastructure is reached.
  • Declining role of G-7 in rule setting: That India and China working together forced the G7 to make a retraction has signalled the coming of a world order in which the G7 no longer sets the rules.
  • Specific language on finance and adaptation: After 40 years there is more specific language on both finance and adaptation finally recognising that costs and near-term effects of climate change will hit the poorest countries hardest.

Feasibility of the goal of ‘net-zero’ by 2070

  • Seeing the challenge in terms of the scale and the speed of the transformation of the energy system assumes that India will follow the pathway of western civilisation.
  • Transition to electrification: India is urbanising as it is industrialising, moving directly to electrification, renewable energy and electric vehicles, and a digital economy instead of a focus on the internal combustion engine.
  • Most of the infrastructure required has still to be built and automobiles are yet to be bought.
  • Investment vs. incurring cost: India will not be replacing current systems and will be making investments, not incurring costs.

Challenge for the West

  • The consumption of affluent households both determines and accelerates an increase of emissions of carbon dioxide.
  • This is followed by socio-economic factors such as mobility and dwelling size.
  • In the West, these drivers have overridden the beneficial effects of changes in technology reflected in the material footprint and related greenhouse-gas emissions.
  • The West has yet to come out with a clear strategy of how it will remain within the broad contours of its carbon budget.
  • And increasing inequality and a rise of protectionism and trade barriers imposing new standards need to be anticipated.
  • This knowledge is essential for national policy as well as the next round of climate negotiations.

Way forward for India

  • Climate change has to be addressed by the West by reducing consumption, not just greening it.
  • Shifting the consumption pattern: Consumption patterns need to be ‘shifted away from resource and carbon-intensive goods and services, e.g. mobility from cars and aircraft to buses and trains.
  • Reducing the carbon intensity: Along with’ reducing demand, resource and carbon intensity of consumption has to decrease, e.g. expanding renewable energy, electrifying cars and public transport and increasing energy and material efficiency’.
  • Equal distribution of wealth and affordable energy use: Equally important, will be achieving a’ more equal distribution of wealth with a minimum level of prosperity and affordable energy use for all’, e.g., housing and doing away with biomass for cooking.
  • Focused research group: The Government now needs to set up focused research groups for the conceptual frame of sustainable well-being.
  • It should analyse the drivers of affluent overconsumption and circulate synthesis of the literature identifying reforms of the economic systems as well as studies that show how much energy we really need for a decent level of well-being.

Role for legislature

  • Fundamental duty: After the Stockholm Declaration on the Global Environment, the Constitution was amended in 1976 to include Protection and Improvement of Environment as a fundamental duty.
  • Use of provision under Article 253: Parliament used Article 253 to enact the Environment Protection Act to implement the decisions reached at the Stockholm Conference.
  • Enabling new set of legislation: The decisions at COP26 enable a new set of legislation around ecological limits, energy and land use, including the efficient distribution and use of electricity, urban design and a statistical system providing inputs for sustainable well-being.

Consider the question “Examine the feasibility of India’s ‘net-zero’ target by 2070, also suggest the way forward for India to achieve the target by focusing on sustainable well being”

Conclusion

For India, in parallel with the infrastructure and clean technology thrust, the focus on a decent living standard leads to behavioural change in the end-use service, such as mobility, shelter and nutrition — for change modifying wasteful trends.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

The heavy lifting on climate action must begin

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Paper 3- COP26 achievements and failures

Context

Glasgow’s success was that it finished building the scaffolding for climate action initiated through the Paris Agreement. But true success depends on whether countries are receptive to these nudges.

What were the Glasgow climate meeting’s (COP26) successes and failures?

  • Strengthened Paris Agreement mechanism: Glasgow strengthened the Paris Agreement mechanism of eliciting pledges from countries and ratcheting them up over time.
  • It requested countries to update and strengthen 2030 emission targets in their NDCs by the end of 2022, earlier than previously expected.
  • Success at Glasgow was explicitly defined around ‘keeping 1.5 degrees alive’ through such pledges.
  • There are two problems with this interpretation.
  • First, the Paris, and Glasgow, approach focusing on target-setting gives insufficient importance to the challenge of implementing those targets.
  • A focus on shorter term targets and their implementation — which India to its credit has been highlighting — will be important.
  • Second, by calling on countries to strengthen targets to align with the Paris Agreement objectives without explicitly considering that countries have different roles and responsibilities in doing so risks side-stepping, again, the long-standing issue of climate equity.

Phase-down clause for thermal power and implications for India

  • Phasing down coal power: A specific high profile clause calls for the ‘phase down of unabated coal power and phase out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies’.
  • It was the Indian Minister who read out an amendment modifying ‘phase-out’ to ‘phase-down’ for coal.
  • India’s concerns: India’s real concerns included not precluding subsidies for social purposes, such as for cooking gas; querying whether from an equity point of view, all countries should be asked to limit coal use at the same time; and noting the lack of mention of oil and gas.
  • A positive for all from environmental point of view: From an environmental point of view, more explicit discussion of coal, but ideally all fossil fuels, is a positive, including for India.
  • Concerns on developmental view: From a developmental view, however, India is concerned that explicit mention of coal constrains us in our choice of fuel.
  • Way out for India: A possible way out is for India to explicitly seek global support for an accelerated transition away from coal, an approach taken by South Africa.

Challenges and achievements at COP26

[A] Measures for adaptations

  • Adaptation has long been neglected in global negotiations, reflecting a global power imbalance that places less weight on the concerns of vulnerable nations.
  • In this context, it was a partial win that Glasgow set up an explicit two year work programme for a ‘global goal’ on adaptation.
  • No development on agenda of loss and damage: The important complementary agenda of ‘loss and damage’ – compensating for unavoidable impacts that go beyond adaptation — received at most lip service.
  • Even though there was discussion of a specific mechanism, backed by funding, to the dismay of small, vulnerable nations, only a ‘dialogue’ was established.

[B] Climate finance commitment issue not addressed

  • Commitment on climate finance not met: Climate finance promised to be the central issue of COP26, with considerable frustration from developing countries that the decade-long commitment of $100 billion had not been met.
  • Glasgow did no more than establish a work programme on post-2025 financing and continue tracking progress on the $100 billion.
  • The exception was a call to double adaptation finance by 2025.
  • Mobilising private finance: Former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney indicated that companies committed to net zero initiatives could marshal a scarcely believable $130 trillion, suggesting growing efforts to mobilise private finance.
  • Developing countries have long insisted that publicly funded climate finance is a right devolving from the ‘polluter pays’ principle rather than aid.

[C] Paris rulebook

  • Completion of two elements of Paris Rulebook: There were two particularly important elements of what is called the ‘Paris Rulebook’ that were completed in Glasgow.
  • Transparency framework: First, the transparency framework was completed, which includes reporting rules and formats for emissions, progress on pledges and finance contributions.
  • Rules for carbon market: The second key was completion of agreed rules for carbon markets, the complexities of which had stymied agreement for four years.
  • Rules were put in place to limit the scope for ‘double-counting’ of credits by more than one country.

Way forward for India

  • The real determinant of success or failure rests on national politics and popular support for climate change within countries — how countries use the scaffolding.
  • For India, these politics are complex because they revolve around simultaneously balancing concerns over whether our policy space will be limited by inequities embedded in the global mitigation efforts, and our own interests as a vulnerable country in enhancing and accelerating climate action.
  • A balanced view requires consideration of both objectives.

Consider the question “Why climate finance continues to be a contentious issue in the negotiations over climate change? Suggest the way to balance the concerns over development with the efforts at climate action.”

Conclusion

The meeting hit many, but not all, of its procedural benchmarks by building scaffolding for the future. But the real determinant of success or failure rests on national politics and popular support for climate change within countries.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Why Glasgow Climate Pact disappoints

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Paper 3- COP26 achievements and disappointments

Context

The Glasgow Climate Pact was adopted on Saturday and, as was to be expected, it is a mixed bag of modest achievements and disappointed expectations.

Transition away from fossil fuel

  • The Pact is the first clear recognition of the need to transition away from fossil fuels, though the focus was on giving up coal-based power altogether.
  • India introduced an amendment at the last moment to replace this phrase with “phase down” and this played negatively with both the advanced as well as a large constituency of developing countries.
  • This amendment reportedly came as a result of consultations among India, China, the UK and the US.
  • As the largest producer and consumer of coal and coal-based thermal power, it is understandable that China would prefer a gradual reduction rather than total elimination.
  • India may have had similar concerns.

Recognition of Adaptation

  • There is a welcome recognition of the importance of Adaptation and there is a commitment to double the current finance available for this to developing countries.
  • Since this amount is currently only $15 billion, doubling will mean $ 30 billion.
  • This remains grossly inadequate.
  • According to UNEP, adaptation costs for developing countries are currently estimated at $70 billion annually and will rise to an estimated $130-300 billion annually by 2030.
  • A start is being made in formulating an adaptation plan and this puts the issue firmly on the Climate agenda, balancing the overwhelming focus hitherto on mitigation.

Disappointment on the issue of finance

  • The Paris Agreement target of $100 billion per annum between 2005-2020 was never met with the shortfall being more than half, according to some calculations.
  • There is now a renewed commitment to delivering on this pledge in the 2020-2025 period and there is a promise of an enhanced flow thereafter.
  • But in a post-pandemic global economic slowdown, it is unlikely these promises will be met.
  • In any event, it is unlikely that India will get even a small slice of the pie.
  • The same applies to the issue of compensation for loss and damage for developing countries who have suffered as a result of climate change for which they have not been responsible.

Initiatives on methane and deforestation

  • Two important plurilateral outcomes could potentially develop into more substantial measures.
  • The most important is an agreement among 100 countries to cut methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.
  • India is not a part of this group.
  • Cutting methane emissions, which is generated mainly by livestock, is certainly useful but there is a much bigger methane emergency around the corner as the earth’s permafrost areas in Siberia, Greenland and the Arctic littoral begin to melt due to global warming that has already taken place and will continue to take place in the coming years.
  • Another group of 100 countries has agreed to begin to reverse deforestation by 2030.
  • India did not join the group due to concerns over a clause on possible trade measures related to forest products.

Implications of US-China Joint Declaration on Climate Change for India

  • Declaration was a departure for China, which had held that bilateral cooperation on climate change could not be insulated from other aspects of their relations.
  • The declaration implies a shift in China’s hardline position.
  • It appears both countries are moving towards a less confrontational, more cooperative relationship overall.
  • This will have geopolitical implications, including for India, which may find its room for manoeuvre shrinking.

Conclusion

As in the past, the can has been kicked down the road, except that the climate road is fast approaching a dead-end. What provides a glimmer of light is the incredible and passionate advocacy of urgent action by young people across the world. This is putting enormous pressure on governments and leaders and if sustained, may become irresistible.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Glasgow Climate Pact (COP26)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Glasgow Agreement

Mains level: Success and failures of Glasgow COP

The Glasgow Agreement was finally adopted after a last-minute intervention by India to water down language on “phasing out” coal to merely “phasing down”.

Glasgow Agreement

  • The Glasgow meeting was the 26th session of the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP26.
  • These meetings are held every year to construct a global response to climate change.
  • Each of these meetings produce a set of decisions which are given different names.
  • In the current case, this has been called the Glasgow Climate Pact.
  • Earlier, these meetings have also delivered two treaty-like international agreements, the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 and the Paris Agreement in 2015.

What was achieved?

[1] Mitigation:

  • The Glasgow agreement has emphasised that stronger action in the current decade was most critical to achieving the 1.5-degree target.
  • Accordingly, it has asked/decided:
  1. To strengthen their 2030 climate action plans, or NDCs (nationally-determined contributions), by next year
  2. Establish a work programme to urgently scale-up mitigation ambition and implementation
  3. To convene an annual meeting of ministers to raise ambition of 2030 climate actions
  4. Annual synthesis report on what countries were doing
  5. To convene a meeting of world leaders in 2023 to scale-up ambition of climate action
  6. Countries to make efforts to reduce usage of coal as a source of fuel, and abolish “inefficient” subsidies on fossil fuels
  7. Phase-down of coal, and phase-out of fossil fuels. This is the first time that coal has been explicitly mentioned in any COP decision.

[2] Adaptation:

  • Most of the countries, especially the smaller and poorer ones, and the small island states, consider adaptation to be the most important component of climate action.
  • They have been demanding that at least half of all climate finance should be directed towards adaptation efforts.
  • As such, the Glasgow Climate Pact has:
  1. Asked the developed countries to at least double the money being provided for adaptation by 2025 from the 2019 levels.
  2. Created a two-year work programme to define a global goal on adaptation.

[3] Finance:

  • Every climate action has financial implications. It is now estimated that trillions of dollars are required every year to fund all the actions necessary to achieve the climate targets.
  • Developed countries are under an obligation, due to their historical responsibility in emitting greenhouse gases.
  • They need to provide finance and technology to the developing nations to help them deal with climate change.
  • In 2009, developed countries had promised to mobilise at least $100 billion every year from 2020.
  • The 2020 deadline has long passed but the $100 billion promise has not been fulfilled.
  • The developed nations have now said that they will arrange this amount by 2023.

[4] Accounting earlier failures

The pact has:

  • Expressed “deep regrets” over the failure of the developed countries to deliver on their $100 billion promise.
  • It has asked them to arrange this money urgently and in every year till 2025
  • Initiated discussions on setting the new target for climate finance, beyond $100 billion for the post-2025 period
  • Asked the developed countries to provide transparent information about the money they plan to provide

[5] Loss and Damage:

The frequency of climate disasters has been rising rapidly, and many of these caused largescale devastation.

  • There is no institutional mechanism to compensate these nations for the losses, or provide them help in the form of relief and rehabilitation.
  • The loss and damage provision in the Paris Agreement seeks to address that.
  • Thanks to a push from many nations, substantive discussions on loss and damage could take place in Glasgow.
  • One of the earlier drafts included a provision for setting up of a facility to coordinate loss and damage activities.

[6] Carbon Markets:

  • Carbon markets facilitate the trading of emission reductions.
  • They are considered a very important and effective instrument to reduce overall emissions.
  • A carbon market existed under Kyoto Protocol but is no longer there because the Protocol itself expired last year.
  • Developing countries like India, China or Brazil have large amounts of carbon credits left over because of the lack of demand as many countries abandoned their emission reduction targets.
  • The Glasgow Pact has offered some reprieve to the developing nations.
  • It has allowed these carbon credits to be used in meeting countries’ first NDC targets.

Parallel Processes announced

A lot of substantial action in Glasgow happened in parallel processes that were not a part of the official COP discussions.

  • India announced a Panchamrita (a mixture of five elements) of climate actions.
  • Brazil would advance its net-zero target year from 2060 to 2050.
  • China promised to come out with a detailed roadmap for its commitment to let emissions peak in 2030, and also for its 2060 net-zero target. Israel announced a net zero target for 2050.
  • Over 100 countries pledged to reduce methane emissions by at least 30 per cent from present levels by 2030.
  • Another set of over 100 countries promised to arrest and reverse deforestation by 2030.
  • Over 30 countries signed on to a declaration promising to work towards a transition to 100 percent zero-emission cars by the year 2040, at least in the leading car markets of the world.

 

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Net-zero presents many opportunities for India — and challenges

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Paper 3- Opportunities and challenges presented by net-zero approach

Context

India joined the other G20 countries in making a “net-zero” commitment, setting 2070 as its target year.

Why was it important to sign up for net-zero?

  • India’s topography — its 7,000 km-long coastline, the Himalayan glaciers in the north, and its rich forest areas which house natural resources like coal and iron ore — make the country uniquely vulnerable to climate change.
  • An IMF study suggests that if emissions continue to rise this century, India’s real GDP per capita could fall by 10 per cent by 2100.
  • India’s traditional position has been that since its per capita energy use is only a third of the global average, and it needs to continue to grow to fight poverty, costly energy reduction targets should not be applied to it.

Opportunities presented by India’s net-zero approach

  •  It could give a clear signal of India’s intentions and provide better access to international technology, funding and markets.
  • We estimate that 60 per cent of India’s capital stock — factories and buildings that will exist in 2040 — is yet to be built.
  • The country can potentially leapfrog into new green technology, rather than being overburdened with “re-fitting” obligations.
  • If India can now transition to green growth, it could create a more responsible and sustainable economy.
  • If India’s exports achieve a “green stamp”, they may find better market access, especially if the world imposes a carbon tax on exports.
  • Around 2-2.5 million additional jobs can be created in the renewables sector by 2050, taking the total number of people employed there to over 3 million.

Challenges

  • The finances of power distribution companies need to be improved to fund the grid upgrades necessary for scaling up renewables.
  • India needs a coordinated institutional framework that can help overcome multiple levels of complexity like federalism, fiscal constraints and bureaucracy.
  • The energy investment requirement will be high, rising from about $70-80 billion per year now to $160 billion per year.
  •  While the private sector will be required to fund much of this, the government can play a pivotal role, especially in the early days.
  • The transition years will be bumpy.
  • Inflation could be volatile till renewables reached their full potential.

Conclusion

India is on the right track but needs to redouble its efforts to remove the obstacles.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Climate Change Performance Index, 2021

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI)

Mains level: Not Much

The 17th edition of the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) 2021 was released recently.

It’s a very rare feat that India has performed so better in any climate-related index. We can use this data to highlight India’s dedicated efforts for Paris Agreement.

About CCPI

  • The CCPI is an independent monitoring tool for tracking countries’ climate protection performance. It has been published annually since 2005.
  • It is compiled by Germanwatch, the New Climate Institute, and the Climate Action Network.
  • It evaluates 57 countries and the European Union, which together generate 90%+ of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Parameters of the index

  • The CCPI looks at four categories, with 14 indicators: Greenhouse Gas Emissions (40% of the overall score), Renewable Energy (20%), Energy Use (20%), and Climate Policy (20%).
  • The CCPI’s unique climate policy section evaluates countries’ progress in implementing policies working towards achieving the Paris Agreement goals.

Highlights of the 2021 report

  • The first three ranks of the overall rankings were kept empty because no country had performed well enough in all index categories to achieve an overall very high rating.
  • The 2021 report places Sweden on top, while countries such as Morocco and the UK are also ranked high.
  • The bottom-ranked country, the United States, therefore, was placed at 61.

Low performers

  • Iran and Russia are ranked the lowest in this category.
  • Overall, Australia, South Korea and Russia are among the lowest performing countries along with Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia.
  • China is ranked 33 overall and has an overall rating of “low”.

India’s performance

  • In the overall rankings, India is at number 10 with a score of 63.98.
  • It is a high performer except in the renewable energy category, in which it is ranked “medium”.
  • The report says that India is benefiting from its relatively low per-capita emissions.
  • In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, Sweden, Egypt, Chile and the UK are in the top 7. India is ranked 12.

 

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Principles of Responsible Banking (PRBs)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Principles of Responsible Banking (PRBs)

Mains level: Not Much

Global banks are pledging to report annually on the carbon emissions linked to the projects they lend to in an extension to the Principles for Responsible Banking (PRBs).

What are PRBs?

  • The PRBs are a unique framework for ensuring that signatory banks’ strategy and practice align with the vision society has set out for its future in the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • It was created in 2019 through a partnership between founding banks and the United Nations.
  • The framework consists of 6 Principles designed to bring purpose, vision and ambition to sustainable finance.
  • Signatory banks commit to embedding these 6 principles across all business areas, at the strategic, portfolio and transactional levels:

Note: India’s YES BANK Limited is the only Indian signatory to this framework.

Significance of the PRBs

  • Banks can contribute to solving the climate crisis from two angles: their lending and their investments.
  • Many bank policies concentrate their investments on securities that were focused on sustainability.

Issues with PRB

  • Being a signatory to the PRBs is a limited commitment.
  • Signatories have four years to comply with the principles.
  • Even then, everything is voluntary and non-binding, so signatories are not penalized or even named and shamed for failing to live up to the principles.

Way forward

  • When signatories to the PRBs are lending money, they are supposed to carry out environmental impact assessments and to measure the greenhouse gas emissions of projects.
  • This is not a minor issue considering that such work is beyond the traditional competencies of banks and will significantly affect their operational costs.
  • Signatories are also supposed to ensure that loans go to projects that are carbon neutral.

 

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Global Methane Pledge

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: GHGs, CO2 Equivalents

Mains level: Greenhouse Effect

The Global Methane Pledge was launched at the ongoing UN COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.

What is the Global Methane Pledge?

  • Global Methane Pledge is an agreement to reduce global methane emissions.
  • One of the central aims of this agreement is to cut down methane emissions by up to 30 per cent from 2020 levels by the year 2030.
  • The pledge was first announced in September by the United States and the European Union.
  • So far, over 90 countries have signed this pledge.

Why methane?

  • According to the UN, 25 % of the warming that the world is experiencing today is because of methane.
  • Methane is the second-most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, after carbon dioxide.
  • According to IPCC, methane accounts for about half of the 1.0 degrees Celsius net rise in global average temperature since the pre-industrial era.

About Methane

  • Methane is a greenhouse gas, which is also a component of natural gas.
  • There are various sources of methane including human and natural sources.
  • The anthropogenic sources are responsible for 60 per cent of global methane emissions.
  • It includes landfills, oil and natural gas systems, agricultural activities, coal mining, wastewater treatment, and certain industrial processes.
  • The oil and gas sectors are among the largest contributors to human sources of methane.
  • These emissions come primarily from the burning of fossil fuels, decomposition in landfills and the agriculture sector.

What is Coal-based Methane?

  • CBM, like shale gas, is extracted from unconventional gas reservoirs — where gas is extracted directly from the rock that is the source of the gas (shale in case of shale gas and coal in case of CBM).
  • The methane is held underground within the coal and is extracted by drilling into the coal seam and removing the groundwater.
  • The resulting drop in pressure causes the methane to be released from the coal.

Try this PYQ:

Q. With reference to two non-conventional energy sources called ‘coalbed methane’ and ‘shale gas’, consider the following ‘statements:

  1. Coalbed methane is the pure methane gas extracted from coal seams, while shale gas is a mixture of propane and butane only that can be extracted from fi ne-grained sedimentary rocks.
  2. In India abundant coalbed methane sources exist, but so far no shale gas sources have been found.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

Post your answers here.
3
Please leave a feedback on thisx

Why is dealing with methane important for climate change?

  • Methane has a much shorter atmospheric lifetime (12 years as compared to centuries for CO2).
  • However, it is a much more potent greenhouse gas simply because it absorbs more energy while it is in the atmosphere.
  • The UN notes that methane is a powerful pollutant and has a global warming potential that is 80 times greater than carbon dioxide, about 20 years after it has been released into the atmosphere.

Back2Basics: CO2 Equivalents

  • Each greenhouse gas (GHG) has a different global warming potential (GWP) and persists for a different length of time in the atmosphere.
  • The three main greenhouse gases (along with water vapour) and their 100-year global warming potential (GWP) compared to carbon dioxide are:

1 x – carbon dioxide (CO2)

25 x – methane (CH4) – I.e. Releasing 1 kg of CH4into the atmosphere is about equivalent to releasing 25 kg of CO2

298 x – nitrous oxide (N2O)

  • Water vapour is not considered to be a cause of man-made global warming because it does not persist in the atmosphere for more than a few days.
  • There are other greenhouse gases which have far greater global warming potential (GWP) but are much less prevalent. These are sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and perfluorocarbons (PFCs).
  • There are a wide variety of uses for SF6, HFCs, and PFCs but they have been most commonly used as refrigerants and for fire suppression.
  • Many of these compounds also have a depleting effect on ozone in the upper atmosphere.

 

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

India offers ‘Panchamrita’ Strategy for Climate Conundrum at Glasgow

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Panchamrita

Mains level: India's INDC

PM Modi has proposed a five-fold strategy called the ‘Panchamrita’ for India to play its part in helping the world get closer to 1.5 degrees Celsius on the first day of the global climate meeting in Glasgow.

What is Panchamrita?

  • ‘Panchamrita’ is a traditional method of mixing five natural foods — milk, ghee, curd, honey and jaggery. These are used in Hindu and Jain worship rituals. It is also used as a technique in Ayurveda.
  • The PM euphemistically termed his scheme as ‘Panchamrita’ meaning the ‘five ambrosia’.
  • Under Panchamrita’, India will:
  1. Get its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 gigawatts by 2030
  2. Meet 50 per cent of its energy requirements till 2030 with renewable energy
  3. Reduce its projected carbon emission by one billion tonnes by 2030
  4. Reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by 45 per cent by 2030
  5. Achieve net zero by 2070

Key takeaways of PM’s speech

(a) Commitment for climate action

  • India consists of 17 per cent of the world’s population but contribute only five per cent of emissions.
  • Yet, it has left no stone unturned in doing our bit to fight climate change.
  • At Paris, India was making promises not to the world but to itself and 1.3 billion Indians, PM said.

(b) Climate finance

  • The 2015 Paris CoP where the Paris Agreement was signed was not a summit but a sentiment.
  • The promises made till now on climate finance were useless.
  • When we all are increasing our ambitions on climate action, the world’s ambition could not stay the same on climate finance as was agreed at the time of Paris.

(c) India’s track record

  • India was fourth as far as installed renewable energy capacity was concerned.
  • The Indian Railways has pledged to make itself net-zero by 2030. This will result in an annual 60 million tonnes reduction in emissions.
  • India initiated the International Solar Alliance for solar energy.
  • It has also set up the coalition for disaster resilient infrastructure for climate adaptation.

 

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Why India shouldn’t sign on to net zero

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Global carbon budget

Mains level: Paper 3- Why India should not commit to net-zero emission target

Context

The recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made it clear that limiting the increase in the world’s average temperature from pre-industrial levels to those agreed in the Paris Agreement requires global cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide to be capped at the global carbon budget.

Understanding why reaching net zero by itself is irrelevant to forestalling dangerous warming

  • The promise of when you will turn off the tap does not guarantee that you will draw only a specified quantity of water.
  • The top three emitters of the world — China, the U.S. and the European Union — even after taking account of their net zero commitments and their enhanced emission reduction commitments for 2030, will emit more than 500 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide before net zero.
  • These three alone will exceed the limit of about 500 billion tonnes from 2020 onwards, for even odds of keeping global temperature increase below 1.5°C.

Issues with ‘net zero’ target

  • Neither the Paris Agreement nor climate science requires that net zero be reached individually by countries by 2050, the former requiring only global achievement of this goal “in the second half of the century”.
  • Claims that the world “must” reach specific goals by 2030 or 2050 are the product of specific economic models for climate action.
  • They front-load emission reduction requirements on developing countries, despite their already low emissions, to allow the developed world to backload its own, buying time for its own transition.
  • These stringent limits on future cumulative emissions post 2020, amounting to less than a fifth of the total global carbon budget, is the result of its considerable over-appropriation in the past by the global North.
  • Promises of net zero in their current form perpetuate this hugely disproportionate appropriation of a global commons, while continuing to place humanity in harm’s way.

Suggestions for India

  • India is responsible for no more than 4.37% cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide since the pre-industrial era, even though it is home to more than a sixth of humanity.
  • India’s per capita emissions are less than half the world average, less than one-eighth of the U.S.’s.
  • For India to declare net zero now is to accede to the further over-appropriation of the global carbon budget by a few.
  • India’s contribution to global emissions, in both stock and flow, is so disproportionately low that any sacrifice on its part can do nothing to save the world.
  • India, in enlightened self-interest, must now stake its claim to a fair share of the global carbon budget.
  • Technology transfer and financial support, together with “negative emissions”, if the latter succeeds, can compensate for the loss of the past.
  • Such a claim by India provides it greater, and much-needed long-term options.
  • It enables the responsible use of coal, its major fossil fuel resource, and oil and gas, to bootstrap itself out of lower-middle-income economy status and eradicate poverty, hunger and malnutrition for good.
  • India’s resource-strapped small industries sector needs expansion and modernisation.
  • The agriculture sector, the second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions for India after energy, needs to double its productivity and farmers’ incomes and build resilience.
  •  Infrastructure for climate resilience in general is critical to future adaptation to climate change.
  • All of these will require at least the limited fossil fuel resources made available through a fair share of the carbon budget.

Conclusion

Without restriction of their future cumulative emissions by the big emitters, to their fair share of the global carbon budget, and the corresponding temperature target that they correspond to made clear, India cannot sign on to net zero.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

COP26 Climate Conference and Why it is important

Note4Students

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:
  1. Formulating measures to mitigate climate change
  2. Cooperating in preparing for adaptation to the impact of climate change
  3. 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.

COP26 goals

According to the UNFCCC, COP26 will work towards four goals:

  1. 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.
  1. 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.’
  1. 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.
  1. 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?

  1. The Agreement was signed by all the member countries of the UN and it will go into effect in 2017.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
14
Please leave a feedback on thisx

 

 

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Climate finance

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Adaptation Gap Report

Mains level: Paper 3- Climate finance

Context

In the run-up to the 26th UNFCCC media reports have claimed that developed countries are inching closer to the target of providing $100 billion annually. This view has been bolstered by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which claimed that climate finance provided by developed countries had reached $78.9 billion in 2018.

Issue of climate financing and claim of reaching the target of $100 billion

  • These claims reaching the target of $100 billion annually is erroneous.
  • First, the OECD figure includes private finance and export credits.
  • Public finance: Developing countries have insisted that developed country climate finance should be from public sources and should be provided as grants or as concessional loans.
  • However, the OECD report makes it clear that the public finance component amounted to only $62.2 billion in 2018, with bilateral funding of about $32.7 billion and $29.2 billion through multilateral institutions.
  • Nature of finance: Significantly, the final figure comes by adding loans and grants. Of the public finance component, loans comprise 74%, while grants make up only 20%.
  • The report does not say how much of the total loan component of $46.3 billion is concessional.
  • Non-concessional loans: From 2016 to 2018, 20% of bilateral loans, 76% of loans provided by multilateral development banks and 46% of loans provided by multilateral climate funds were non-concessional.
  • Between 2013 and 2018, the share of loans has continued to rise, while the share of grants decreased.
  • The OECD reports on climate finance have long been criticised for inflating climate finance figures.
  •  In contrast to the OECD report, Oxfam estimates that in 2017-18, out of an average of $59.5 billion of public climate finance reported by developed countries, the climate-specific net assistance ranged only between $19 and $22.5 billion per year.
  •  The 2018 Biennial Assessment of UNFCCC’s Standing Committee on Finance reports that on average, developed countries provided only $26 billion per year as climate-specific finance between 2011-2016.

Broken commitments from the US on climate financing

  • U.S. President Joe Biden recently said that the U.S. will double its climate finance by $11.4 billion annually by 2024.
  • It is Congress that will decide on the quantum after all.
  • The U.S. also has a history of broken commitments, having promised $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) under President Barack Obama, but delivering only $1 billion.
  • The future focus of U.S. climate finance is the mobilisation of private sector investment.
  • The bulk of the money coming in would be through private funds, directed to those projects judged “bankable” and not selected based on developing countries’ priorities and needs.

Finance skews toward mitigation

  • Climate finance has also remained skewed towards mitigation, despite the repeated calls for maintaining a balance between adaptation and mitigation.
  • The 2016 Adaptation Gap Report of the UN Environment Programme had noted that the annual costs of adaptation in developing countries could range from $140 to $300 billion annually by 2030 and rise to $500 billion by 2050.
  • Currently available adaptation finance is significantly lower than the needs expressed in the Nationally Determined Contributions submitted by developing countries.

Conclusion

Delivering on climate finance is fundamental to trust in the multilateral process. Regrettably, while developing countries will continue to pressure developed countries to live up to their promises, the history of climate negotiations is not in their favour.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Kunming Declaration on Biodiversity Conservation

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Kunming Declaration, CBD

Mains level: Not Much

The Kunming Declaration was adopted by over 100 countries at the first part of the ongoing virtual 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.

Kunming Declaration

  • It calls upon the parties to “mainstream” biodiversity protection in decision-making and recognise the importance of conservation in protecting human health.
  • The theme of the declaration is Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth.
  • By adopting this, the nations have committed themselves to support the development, adoption and implementation of an effective post-2020 implementation plan for the Cartagena Protocol on biosafety.
  • Signatory nations will ensure that the post-pandemic recovery policies, programs and plans contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

About Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

  • The CBD (wef 1993) known informally as the Biodiversity Convention, is a multilateral treaty.
  • The convention has three main goals:
  1. the conservation of biodiversity
  2. the sustainable use of its components
  3. the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources
  • Its objective is to develop national strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, and it is often seen as the key document regarding sustainable development.
  • It has two supplementary agreements, the Cartagena Protocol and Nagoya Protocol.

(1) Cartagena Protocol

  • It is an international treaty governing the movements of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from modern biotechnology from one country to another.

(2) Nagoya Protocol

  • It deals with Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS).

 

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

India joins High Ambition Coalition (HAC)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: High Ambition Coalition (HAC)

Mains level: NA

India has officially joined the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, a group of more than 70 countries encouraging the adoption of the global goal to protect 30×30.

High Ambition Coalition (HAC)

Aim: To promote an international agreement to protect at least 30 % the of world’s land and ocean by 2030

  • The HAC is an informal group of approximately 61 countries within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • It is committed to advancing progressive proposals on climate ambition.
  • The HAC was founded by the Republic of the Marshall Islands in 2014 with the aim of ensuring the Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015, was as ambitious as possible.
  • The Republic of the Marshall Islands serves as the convener and secretariat of the HAC.
  • The global 30×30 goal is currently a centerpiece of the treaty.

Members

  • HAC members currently include a mix of countries in the global north and south; European, Latin American, Africa and Asia countries are among the members.
  • India is the first of the BRICS bloc of major emerging economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) to join the HAC.

 

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Places in news: Weddell Sea

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Weddel Sea, Mapping of Southern Ocean

Mains level: NA

India has extended support for protecting the Antarctic environment and for co-sponsoring the proposal of the European Union for designating East Antarctica and the Weddell Sea as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

About Weddell Sea

  • The Weddell Sea is part of the Southern Ocean and contains the Weddell Gyre.
  • Its land boundaries are defined by the bay formed from the coasts of Coats Land and the Antarctic Peninsula.
  • Much of the southern part of the sea is covered by a permanent, massive ice shelf field, the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf.
  • The sea is contained within the two overlapping Antarctic territorial claims of Argentine Antarctica, the British Antarctic Territory, and also resides partially within the Antarctic Chilean Territory.

Major ice shelves

  • Various ice shelves, including the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, fringe the Weddell sea.
  • Some of the ice shelves on the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula, which formerly covered roughly 10,000 square kilometres of the Weddell Sea, had completely disappeared by 2002.
  • The Weddell Sea has been deemed by scientists to have the clearest water of any sea.

India’s support for the Antarctic

  • India supports sustainability in protecting the Antarctic environment.
  • The proposed MPAs are essential to regulate illegal unreported and unregulated fishing.
  • India had urged the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) member countries to ensure Antarctic conservation.
  • India remains associated with the formulation, adaptation and implementation mechanisms of these MPAs in future.

What is CCAMLR?

  • CCAMLR is an international treaty to manage Antarctic fisheries to preserve species diversity and stability of the entire Antarctic marine ecosystem.
  • CCAMLR came into force in April 1982.
  • India has been a permanent member of the CCAMLR since 1986.
  • Work pertaining to the CCAMLR is coordinated in India by the Ministry of Earth Sciences through its attached office, the Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology (CMLRE) in Kochi, Kerala.

Back2Basics: Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

  • An MPA is a marine protected area that provides protection for all or part of its natural resources.
  • Certain activities within an MPA are limited or prohibited to meet specific conservation, habitat protection, ecosystem monitoring, or fisheries management objectives.
  • MPAs can be conserved for a number of reasons including economic resources, biodiversity conservation, and species protection.
  • They are created by delineating zones with permitted and non-permitted uses within that zone.

 

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

A climate change narrative that India can steer

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: COP 26, Paris Agreement

Mains level: India's committment for Paris Agreement

A recent report by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) reveals that India has warmed up 0.7° C during 1901-2018.

What was the report?

Title: Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region (by MoES)

(a) Climate severity

  • The 2010-2019 decade was the hottest with a mean temperature of 0.36° C higher than average.
  • Heatwaves continued to increase with no signs of diminishing greenhouse gas emissions despite lower activity since the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  • India may experience a 4.4° C rise by the end of this century.
  • Within 2050, rainfall is expected to rise by 6% and temperature by 1.6° C.
  • India’s Deccan plateau has seen eight out of 17 severe droughts since 1876 in the 21st century (2000-2003; 2015-2018).

(b) Land degradation

  • To make things worse, India lost about 235 square kilometres to coastal erosion due to climate change-induced sea-level rise, land erosion and natural disasters such as tropical cyclones between 1990-2016.

(c) Rising Internal Displacement

  • According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, India’s Internally Displaced Populations (IDPs) are rising due to damaging climate events.
  • Uttarakhand residents began deserting their homes after the Kedarnath floods in 2013 due to heavy precipitation that increases every year.
  • Recent figures are more alarming with 3.9 million displaced in 2020 alone, mostly due to Cyclone Amphan.

India’s commitment to Climate Mitigation

  • India held the top 10 position for the second year in a row in 2020’s Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI).
  • The country received credit under all of the CCPI’s performance fields except renewable energy where India performed medium.
  • India vowed to work with COP21 by signing the Paris Agreement to limit global warming and submitted the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
  • It set a goal of reducing emissions intensity of GDP by 33%-35% and increasing green energy resources (non-fossil-oil based) to 40% of installed electric power capacity by 2030.
  • India cofounded with France at COP21, in 2015, the International Solar Alliance (ISA).

Core concern

(a) Good policies, weak practices

  • The question is, are these global alliances and world-leading policies being practised or are merely big promises with little implementation?
  • Despite leading ISA, India performed the least in renewable energy according to the CCPI’s performance of India.

(b) Low compliance

  • India is not fully compliant with the Paris Agreement’s long-term temperature goal of the NDCs and there are still risks of falling short of the 2° C goal.
  • According to India’s carbon emission trajectory, the country is en route to achieve barely half of the pledged carbon sink by 2030.
  • To achieve the Paris Agreement’s NDC target, India needs to produce 25 million-30 million hectares of forest cover by 2030 — a third of current Indian forestation and trees.
  • Going by the facts, it seems India has overpromised on policies and goals as it becomes difficult to deliver on the same.

Why COP26 matters

  • The Glasgow COP26 offers India a great opportunity to reflect on the years since the Paris Agreement and update NDCs to successfully meet the set targets.
  • India is expected to be the most populated country by 2027, overtaking China, contributing significantly to the global climate through its consumption pattern.
  • India is in a rather unique position to have a significant influence on global climate impact in the new decade.

Conclusion

  • India believes that climate actions must be nationally determined.
  • However, the Paris Agreement for developing countries should be at the core of decision-making.
  • India has the ability to improve its global positioning by leading a favourable climate goal aspiration for the world to follow.
  • The country has the opportunity to not only save itself from further climate disasters but also be a leader in the path to climate change prevention.

Back2Basics: COP26, Glasgow

  • The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, is the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference.
  • It is scheduled to be held in the city of Glasgow, Scotland between 31 October and 12 November 2021, under the presidency of the United Kingdom.
  • This conference is the first time that Parties are expected to commit to enhanced ambition since COP21.
  • Parties are required to carry out every five years, as outlined in the Paris Agreement, a process colloquially known as the ‘ratchet mechanism’.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue (CAFMD)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: CAFMD

Mains level: Not Much

India and the US has together launched the “Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue (CAFMD)”.

What is CAFMD?

  • The CAFMD is one of the two tracks of the India-U.S. Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 partnership launched at the Leaders’ Summit on Climate in April 2021, by PM Modi and US President Mr. Biden.
  • The dialogue will strengthen India-US bilateral cooperation on climate and environment.
  • It will also help to demonstrate how the world can align swift climate action with inclusive and resilient economic development, taking into account national circumstances and sustainable development priorities.

Key agendas

  • The US will collaborate with India to work towards installing 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030.
  • Currently, India’s installed power capacity is projected to be 476 GW by 2021-22 and is expected to rise to at least 817 GW by 2030.

CAFMD would have three pillars:

  1. Climate Action Pillar: which would have joint proposals looking at ways in emissions could be reduced in the next decade.
  2. Setting out a Roadmap: to achieving the 450GW in transportation, buildings and industry.
  3. Finance Pillar: would involve collaborating on attracting finance to deploy 450 GW of renewable energy and demonstrate at scale clean energy technologies.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Nationally Determined Contributions

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Emission intensity of GDP

Mains level: Paper 3- India is right on the path to achieve NDC under Paris Agreement

Context

Despite accomplishments, global pressures are intensifying on India to commit more towards the Conference of the Parties (COP26), scheduled for November 2021 in Glasgow.

India’s accomplishments

  • At the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (December 2020), India was the only G20 nation compliant with the agreement.
  • India has been ranked within the top 10 for two years consecutively in the Climate Change Performance Index.
  • The Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) scheme is the world’s largest zero-subsidy LED bulb programme for domestic consumers.
  •  India provided leadership for setting up the International Solar Alliance, a coalition of solar-resource-rich countries, and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.

Why it is unfair to pressure India on climate action

We can attempt to answer the question by comparing the achievements of other countries vis-à-vis India’s performance.

  • Historical perspective: World Bank data for CO2 emissions (metric tons per capita) over two decades since the Kyoto protocol informs that at the current rate, both China and the U.S. could emit five times more than India in 2030.
  • The U.K.’s emission levels could be more than 1.5 times that of India.
  • Brazil, with its dense forests, may end up at similar levels.
  • Latest efforts: Last year, China, the world’s largest GHG emitter, joined the ‘race to zero’ and targets carbon neutrality by 2060.
  • Interestingly, it hopes to peak CO2 emissions by 2030 for bending the emissions curve.
  • Recently, the U.S. rejoined the Paris Agreement and committed to reducing emissions by 50%-52% in 2030 and reaching net-zero emissions economy-wide by 2050.
  • The French government, during the novel coronavirus pandemic, set green conditions for bailing out its aviation industry.
  • However, the analysts say that no baseline for reducing emissions from domestic flights was fixed.
  • In Australia, complicated domestic politics prevented them from addressing the problem, despite the country being vulnerable, and stretches of the famous Great Barrier Reef having died in recent years.

India’s performance

  • Exceeding the NDC commitment: India is on track (as reports/documents show) to meet and exceed the NDC commitment to achieve 40% electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based sources by 2030.
  • Reduction in emission intensity of GDP: Against the voluntary declaration for reducing the emission intensity of GDP by 20%-25% by 2020, India has reduced it by 24% between 2005-2016.
  • More importantly, we achieved these targets with around 2% out of the U.S.$100 billion committed to developing nations in Copenhagen (2009), realised by 2015.
  • Renewable energy expansion: India is implementing one of the most extensive renewable energy expansion programmes to achieve 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 and 450 GW by 2030.
  • Investment in green measures: As part of the fiscal stimulus after the pandemic, the Government announced several green measures, including:
  • a $26.5-billion investment in biogas and cleaner fuels,
  • $3.5 billion in incentives for producing efficient solar photovoltaic (PV)
  • and advanced chemistry cell battery, and $780 million towards an afforestation programme.
  •  India’s contribution to global emissions is well below its equitable share of the worldwide carbon budget by any equity criterion.

Conclusion

To sum up, India has indeed walked the talk. Other countries must deliver on their promises early and demonstrate tangible results ahead of COP26.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

India ratifies Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Kigali Agreement

Mains level: Ozone depletion and its threat

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer for phase down of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by India.

What is Montreal Protocol?

  • The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is an international agreement made in 1987.
  • It was designed to stop the production and import of ozone-depleting substances and reduce their concentration in the atmosphere to help protect the earth’s ozone layer.
  • It sits under the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer.

Objectives

  • The convention was adopted in 1985 and has highlighted the adverse effect of human activity on ozone levels in the stratosphere and the discovery of the ‘ozone hole’.
  • Its objectives are to promote cooperation on the adverse effects of human activities on the ozone layer.
  • It has since undergone nine revisions, in 1990 (London), 1991 (Nairobi), 1992 (Copenhagen), 1993 (Bangkok), 1995 (Vienna), 1997 (Montreal), 1998 (Australia), 1999 (Beijing) and 2016 (Kigali).

India and the Protocol

  • India became a Party to the Protocol on 19 June 1992 and since then has ratified the amendments.

What is the Kigali Amendment?

  • It is an international agreement to gradually reduce the consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
  • It is a legally binding agreement designed to create rights and obligations in international law.
  • While HFCs do not deplete the stratospheric ozone layer, they have high global warming potential ranging from 12 to 14,000, which has an adverse impact on climate.

What are the Ozone Depleting Substances?

Ozone-depleting substances are chemicals that destroy the earth’s protective ozone layer. They include:

  • chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
  • halons
  • carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)
  • methyl chloroform (CH3CCl3)
  • hydro Bromo fluorocarbons (HBFCs)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)
  • methyl bromide (CH3Br)
  • bromochloromethane (CH2BrCl)

Where are they used?

The main uses of ozone-depleting substances include:

  • CFCs and HCFCs in refrigerators and air conditioners,
  • HCFCs and halons in fire extinguishers,
  • CFCs and HCFCs in foam,
  • CFCs and HCFCs as aerosol propellants, and
  • Methyl bromide for fumigation of soil, structures and goods to be imported or exported.

Now answer this PYQ:

Q.Consider the following statements:

Chlorofluorocarbons, known as ozone-depleting substances are used:

  1. In the production of plastic foams
  2. In the production of tubeless tyres
  3. In cleaning certain electronic components
  4. As pressurizing agents in aerosol cans

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? (CSP 2012)

(a) 1, 2 and 3 only

(b) 4 only

(c) 1, 3 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

Post your answers here.
1
Please leave a feedback on thisx

Why phase them out?

Implementation strategy and targets:

  • India will complete its phase-down of HFCs in 4 steps from 2032 onwards with a cumulative reduction of 10% in 2032, 20% in 2037, 30% in 2042, and 80% in 2047.

Major Impact

  • HFCs phasedown is expected to prevent the emission of up to 105 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent of GHGs, helping to avoid up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of global temperature rise by 2100, while continuing to protect the ozone layer.
  • It will achieve energy efficiency gains^ and carbon dioxide emissions reduction – a “climate co-benefit,”
  • HFCs phrase-down implementation will involve synergies to maximize the economic arid social co-benefits, besides environmental gains.
  • There would be scope for domestic manufacturing of equipment as well as alternative non-HFC and low-global warming potential chemicals to enable the industry to transition to the low global warming potential alternatives as per the agreed HFC phase-down schedule.
  • In addition, there would be opportunities to promote domestic innovation for new generation alternative refrigerants and related technologies.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

IPCC’s Climate Assessment Report

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: IPCC

Mains level: Climate Change and the background for its negotiation

The Geneva-based Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will release the first part of its Sixth Assessment Report, the periodic status check that has now become the most widely accepted scientific view of the state of the Earth’s climate.

What is IPCC?

  • The IPCC, an intergovernmental body was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  • It was later endorsed by the UN General Assembly. Membership is open to all members of the WMO and UN.
  • The IPCC produces reports that contribute to the work of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the main international treaty on climate change.
  • The objective of the UNFCCC is to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human-induced) interference with the climate system.”
  • The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report was a critical scientific input into the UNFCCC’s Paris Agreement in 2015.

What are IPCC reports?

  • IPCC reports cover the scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.
  • The IPCC does not carry out original research, nor does it monitor climate or related phenomena itself.
  • Rather, it assesses published literature, including peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed sources.
  • However, the IPCC can be said to stimulate research in climate science.

The Assessment Reports

  • The five previous assessment reports that have come out since the IPCC was established in 1988 have formed the basis of international climate change negotiations, and the actions of the governments.
  • Their value has been globally acknowledged, and the fourth assessment report, which came out in 2007, won the IPCC the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • Each of these voluminous reports, the last couple of them running into thousands of pages, have built upon the previous ones with updated knowledge and understanding of the climate system.
  • The reports have presented projections for temperature rise till 2100 under different scenarios and the kind of impacts that can be expected under each of these pathways.

Key projections of the 6th Report

Apart from incorporating the latest available scientific evidence, the Sixth Assessment Report is also attempting to provide more actionable information to help governments take policy decisions.

  • REGIONAL FOCUS: It is expected that this report would likely state what the scenarios for sea-level rise in the Bay of Bengal region is, not just what the average sea-level rise across the world is likely to be.
  • EXTREME EVENTS: There is expected to be bigger focus on extreme weather events, like the ones we have seen in the last few weeks.
  • CITIES: Densely populated mega-cities are supposed to be among the most vulnerable to impacts of climate change. The report is expected to present specific scenarios the climate change impacts on cities and large urban populations, and also implications for key infrastructure.
  • SYNERGIES: IPCC is expected to present a more integrated understanding of the situation, cross-link evidence and discuss trade-offs between different options or pathways, and also likely to cover social implications of climate change action by countries.

Why it matters?

  • The IPCC assessment reports have been extremely influential in directing the dialogue and action on climate change.
  • The First Assessment Report led to the setting up of the UNFCCC, the umbrella agreement under which international negotiations on climate change take place every year.
  • The Second Assessment Report was the basis for the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that ran till last year, and the Fifth Assessment Report, which came out in 2014, guided the Paris Agreement.
  • The global climate architecture is now governed by the Paris Agreement, which replaced the Kyoto Protocol from this year.
  • There have been enough indications to suggest that global action was far below what was needed to keep the temperatures below 2°C, as mandated under the Paris Agreement.
  • In the immediate future, the IPCC report could serve as the most important warning towards the rapidly closing window of opportunity.

Try this PYQ now:

Q.The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international treaty drawn at:

(a) United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, Stockholm,1972

(b) UN Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro, 1992

(c) World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, 2002

(d) UN Climate Change Conference, Copenhagen, 2009

Post your answers here:
5
Please leave a feedback on thisx

Back2Basics: UNFCCC

  • The UNFCCC established an international environmental treaty to combat “dangerous human interference with the climate system”, in part by stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
  • It was signed by 154 states at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), informally known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance (LEAF) Coalition

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: LEAF Coalition

Mains level: Not Much

At the recently concluded Leaders’ Summit on Climate in April 2021, the Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance (LEAF) Coalition was announced.

LEAF Coalition

  • LEAF Coalition is a collective of the US, UK and Norway governments.
  • It is a public-private effort, thus supported by transnational corporations (TNCs) like Unilever plc, Amazon, Nestle, Airbnb etc.
  • It came up with a $1 billion fund plan that shall be offered to countries committed to arresting the decline of their tropical forests by 2030.
  • The LEAF coalition initiative is a step towards concretizing the aims and objectives of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) mechanism.

How does this coalition work?

  • The LEAF Coalition can help reverse the trend by providing unprecedented financial support to tropical forest governments implementing forest protection, contributing to green and resilient growth through sustainable investments.
  • It empowers tropical and subtropical forest countries to move more rapidly towards ending deforestation while supporting them in achieving their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement.
  • Reductions in emissions are made across entire countries or large states and provinces (“jurisdictions”) through programs that involve all key stakeholders, including Indigenous peoples and local communities.

Why is it significant?

  • Financial impetus is crucial as it incentivizes developing countries to capture extensive deforestation and provide livelihood opportunities to forest-dependent populations.
  • The initiative comes at a crucial time when the tropics have lost close to 12.2 million hectares (mha) of tree cover year last year according to global estimates released by Global Forest Watch.
  • Most of these lost forests were located in the developing countries of Latin America, Africa and South Asia.
  • India’s estimated loss in 2020 stands at 20.8-kilo hectares due to forest fires

What lies next?

  • Implementation of the LEAF Coalition will help pump in fresh rigour among developing countries like India, that are reluctant to recognize the contributions of their forest-dwelling populations in mitigating climate change.
  • With the deadline for proposal submission fast approaching, India needs to act swiftly on a revised strategy.
  • Although India has pledged to carry out its REDD+ commitments, it is impossible to do so without seeking knowledge from its forest-dwelling population.

Answer this PYQ in the comment box:

With reference to ‘Forest Carbon Partnership Facility’, which of the following statements is/ are correct?  (CSP 2013)

  1. It is a global partnership of governments, businesses, civil society and indigenous peoples.
  2. It provides financial aid to universities, individual scientists and institutions involved in scientific forestry research to develop eco-friendly and climate adaptation technologies for sustainable forest management.
  3. It assists the countries in their ‘REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation+)’ efforts by providing them with financial and technical assistance.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only (b) 2 and 3 only (c) 1 and 3 only (d) 1, 2 and 3


Back2Basics: REDD+

  • REDD+ is a mechanism developed by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • It creates a financial value for the carbon stored in forests by offering incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development.
  • Developing countries would receive results-based payments for results-based actions.
  • REDD+ goes beyond simply deforestation and forest degradation and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
  • It aims to create incentives for communities so that they stop forest degrading practices.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Environment Appraisal Committee allows Great Nicobar plan to advance

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Paper 3- EAC allows Great Nicobar plan to advance

About the Great Nicobar plan

  • The Environment Appraisal Committee (EAC) – Infrastructure I of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has flagged serious concerns about NITI Aayog’s ambitious project for Great Nicobar Island.
  • The EAC was responding to ‘pre-feasibility’ report, ‘Holistic Development of Great Nicobar Island at Andaman and Nicobar Islands’.
  • The report is prepared for the NITI Aayog by the Gurugram-based consulting agency.
  • The proposal includes an international container transshipment terminal, a greenfield international airport, a power plant and a township complex spread over 166 sq. km. and is estimated to cost ₹75,000 crore.
  • The committee has, however, removed the first hurdle faced by the project.
  • It has recommended it “for grant of terms of reference (TOR)” for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies, which in the first instance will include baseline studies over three months.

What the EAC said

  • The committee noted that the site selection for the port had been done mainly on technical and financial criteria, ignoring the environmental aspects.
  • It has now asked for an independent study/ evaluation for the suitability of the proposed port site with specific focus on Leatherback Turtle, Nicobar Magapode and Dugong.
  • It highlighted the need for an independent assessment of terrestrial and marine biodiversity, a study on the impact of dredging, reclamation and port operations, including oil spills.
  • It has also highlighted the need for studies of alternative sites for the port with a focus on environmental and ecological impact,  analysis of risk-handling capabilities, a seismic and tsunami hazard map, a disaster management plan, an assessment of the cumulative impact, and a hydro-geological study to assess impact on round and surface water regimes.
  • The committee has also asked for details of the corporate environment policy of the implementing agency — whether the company has an environment policy, a prescribed standard operating procedure to deal with environmental and forest violations, and a compliance management system.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

India-U.S. climate partnership

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Mains level: Paper 3- Leaders Summit on Climate

Leaders Summit on Climate

  • Leaders Summit on Climate included 40 heads of state and government.
  • At the summit, President of the United State and Indian Prime Minister launched the ‘India-U.S. climate and clean energy Agenda 2030 partnership’. 
  • The goal of the partnership are given below:
  • 1) Mobilise finance and speed clean energy deployment.
  • 2) Demonstrate and scale innovative clean technologies needed to decarbonise sectors, including industry, transportation, power, and buildings.
  • 3) Build capacity to measure, manage, and adapt to the risks of climate-related impacts.

India’s progress on NDC

  • Despite development challenges, India has taken many bold steps on clean energy, energy efficiency, afforestation and bio-diversity.
  • That is among the few countries whose NDCs are 2-degree-Celsius compatible.
  •  India is targeting a 2030 GDP emissions intensity ( i.e., volume of emissions per unit of GDP) that is 33%-35% below 2005 levels.
  • It also seeks to have 40% of power generated from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.
  •  India’s per capita carbon footprint is 60% lower than the global average.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Deconstructing declarations of carbon-neutrality

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Paper 3- Issues with declaring carbon neutral target

Against the global clamour for the declaration of carbon neutrality, India must consider several factors and their implications. The article highlights these factors.

Countries declaring carbon-neutral
targets

  • At the latest count by the non-profit Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), at the beginning of April, 32 countries had declared, in some documented form.
  • The impetus for such declarations arises from Article 4.1 of the Paris Agreement.
  • It is evident that the balance of emissions and removal of greenhouse gases is not sought on a country-wise basis but for the world as a whole.
  • Both developed country governments and civil society outfits commonly state this as an individual commitment by all countries.
  • The text of the Paris Agreement clearly indicates, based on considerations of equity and differentiation, that this is a global goal.

2 critical and related issues

  • The first is the compatibility of the intent of Article 4.1 and Article 2.
  • 1) Is the achievement of carbon neutrality compatible with achieving the 1.5°C or 2°C goals?
  • And whether the mid-century carbon neutrality goals of developed countries are compatible with Article 2.2 of the Paris Agreement which focuses on equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.

The current pledges fall short of achieving the targets

  • Three-way compatibility between temperature goals, carbon neutrality, and equity is not only not guaranteed, but cannot be achieved for the 1.5°C temperature goal at all.
  • Even for the 2°C goal, the current pledges are highly inadequate.
  • This conclusion is based on the global carbon budget.
  • According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report to restrict temperature rise less than 1.5° with 50% world can emit total 480 Giga-tonnes (billion tonnes) of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2eq) from 2018 onwards.
  • At the current rate of emissions of about 42 GtCO2eq per year, this budget would be consumed in 12 years.
  • To keep within the 480 Gt budget, at a steady linear rate of decline, global carbon neutrality must be reached by 2039.
  • For a 50% probability of restricting temperature rise to below 2°C, the world can emit 1,400 GtCO2eq, that provides considerably greater room for manoeuvre.

Emission of the U.S. and Europe

  • Emissions in the U.S. peaked in 2005 and have declined at an average rate of 1.1% from then till 2017.
  • Even if it did reach net-zero by 2050 at a steady linear rate of reduction, which is unprecedented, its cumulative emissions between 2018 and 2050 would be 106 GtCO2, which is 22% of the total remaining carbon budget for the whole world. [480 GtCO2 total]
  • This is so high that unless others reduced emissions at even faster rates, the world would most certainly cross 1.5°C warming.
  • Similarly, the European Union, to keep to its fair share of the remaining carbon budget would have to reach net-zero by 2033, with a constant annual reduction in emissions.
  • If the EU reaches net-zero only by 2050 it would consume at least 71 GtCO2, well above its fair share.
  • Regrettably, a section of the climate policy modelling literature has promoted the illusion that this three-way compatibility is feasible through speculative “negative emissions”
  • They have also been promoting the other illusion that not resorting to any serious emissions increase at all is the means to guarantee the successful development of the Third World.

Why India should avoid net neutrality target

  • For one, India has to stay focused on development — both as its immediate need as well as its aspirational goal.
  • While sustainability is desirable, the question of how low India’s future low-carbon development can be is highly uncertain.
  • India’s current low carbon footprint is a consequence of the utter poverty and deprivation of a majority of its population, and not by virtue of sustainability.
  • Second, India does not owe a carbon debt to the world for excessive use in the past.
  • India’s emissions (not considering land use and land use change and forest-related emissions) are no more than 3.5% of global cumulative emissions prior to 1990 and about 5% since till 2018.
  • Any self-sacrificial declaration of carbon neutrality today in the current international scenario would be a wasted gesture reducing the burden of the developed world and transferring it to the backs of the Indian people.

Consider the question “What are the factor India needs to consider about joining the global chorus on carbon neutrality targets.”

Conclusion

India’s approach to eventual net-zero emissions is contingent on deep first world emissions reductions and an adequate and unambiguous global carbon budget. Meanwhile, India must reject any attempt to restrict its options and be led into a low-development trap, based on pseudo-scientific narratives.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

What is net-zero, and what are India’s objections?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Net-zero emission, Paris Agreement

Mains level: India's emission targets

In its bid to reclaim the global climate leadership (stalled since Trump) the US is widely expected to commit itself to a net-zero emission target for 2050 at the virtual Climate Leaders’ Summit convened by Prez Joe Biden.

Net-Zero Goal

  • Net-zero, which is also referred to as carbon-neutrality, does not mean that a country would bring down its emissions to zero.
  • Rather, net-zero is a state in which a country’s emissions are compensated by absorption and removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
  • Absorption of the emissions can be increased by creating more carbon sinks such as forests, while the removal of gases from the atmosphere requires futuristic technologies such as carbon capture and storage.
  • This way, it is even possible for a country to have negative emissions, if the absorption and removal exceed the actual emissions.
  • A good example is Bhutan which is often described as carbon-negative because it absorbs more than it emits.

Try this PYQ from CSP 2016:

Q.With reference to the Agreement at the UNFCCC Meeting in Paris in 2015, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. The Agreement was signed by all the member countries of the UN and it will go into effect in 2017.
  2. 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 20C or even 1.50C above pre-industrial levels.
  3. Developed countries acknowledged their historical responsibility in global warming and committed to donate S 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

The global target

  • The goal of carbon neutrality is only the latest formulation of a discussion going on for decades, on having a long-term goal.
  • A very active campaign has been going on for the last two years to get every country to sign on to a net-zero goal for 2050.
  • It is being argued that global carbon neutrality by 2050 is the only way to achieve the Paris Agreement target of keeping the planet’s temperature from rising beyond 2°C compared to pre-industrial times.
  • Current policies and actions being taken to reduce emissions would not even be able to prevent a 3–4°C rise by the turn of the century.
  • Long-term targets ensure predictability, and continuity, in the policies and actions of the countries. But there has never been a consensus on what this goal should be.

Going beyond emission reduction

  • Earlier, the discussions used to be on emission-reduction targets, for 2050 or 2070, for rich and developed countries.
  • These unregulated emissions over several decades are mainly responsible for global warming and consequent climate change.
  • The net-zero formulation does not assign any emission reduction targets to any country.
  • Theoretically, a country can become carbon-neutral at its current level of emissions, or even by increasing its emissions, if it is able to absorb or remove more.

Global actions for net-zero

  • Several other countries, including the UK and France, have already enacted laws promising to achieve a net-zero emission scenario by the middle of the century.
  • The EU is working a similar Europe-wide law, while many other countries including Canada, South Korea, Japan and Germany have expressed their intention to commit themselves to a net-zero future.
  • Even China has promised to go net-zero by 2060.
  • India, the world’s third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, after the US and China, is the only major player holding out.

India’s position is unique

  • India is the only one opposing this target because it is likely to be the most impacted by it.
  • Over the next two to three decades, India’s emissions are likely to grow at the fastest pace in the world, as it presses for higher growth to pull hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.
  • No amount of afforestation or reforestation would be able to compensate for the increased emissions.
  • Most of the carbon removal technologies right now are either unreliable or very expensive.

Why does India object to net-zero emissions?

  • The net-zero goals do not figure in the 2015 Paris Agreement, the new global architecture to fight climate change.
  • The Paris Agreement only requires every signatory to take the best climate action it can.
  • Countries need to set five- or ten-year climate targets for themselves, and demonstrably show they have achieved them.
  • Implementation of the Paris Agreement has begun only this year.
  • Most of the countries have submitted targets for the 2025 or 2030 period.
  • India has been arguing that instead of opening up a parallel discussion on net-zero targets outside of the Paris Agreement framework, countries must focus on delivering on what they have already promised.

India is already doing more

  • India is hoping to lead by example. It is well on its way to achieving its three targets under the Paris Agreement and looks likely to overachieve them.
  • Several studies have shown that India is the only G-20 country whose climate actions are compliant with the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global temperatures from rising beyond 2°C.
  • Even the actions of the EU, which is seen as the most progressive on climate change, and the US are assessed as “insufficient”.
  • In other words, India is already doing more, relatively speaking, on climate than many other countries.

Fuss over developed countries contribution

  • New Delhi also repeatedly points to the fact that the developed nations have never delivered on their past promises and commitments.
  • No major country achieved the emission-cut targets assigned to them under the Kyoto Protocol, the climate regime preceding the Paris Agreement.
  • Some openly walked out of the Kyoto Protocol, without any consequences.
  • None of the countries has delivered on the promises they made for 2020.
  • Even worse is their track record on their commitment to providing money, and technology, to developing and poor countries to help them deal with the impacts of climate change.

India’s way forward

  • India has been arguing that the 2050 carbon-neutrality promise might meet a similar fate, although some countries are now finding themselves in law.
  • It has been insisting that the developed countries should, instead, take more ambitious climate actions now, to compensate for the unfulfilled earlier promises.
  • At the same time, it has been saying that it does not rule out the possibility of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 or 2060.
  • Just that, it does not want to make an international commitment so much in advance.

Back2Basics: Paris Agreement

  • The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016.
  • Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.
  • To achieve this long-term temperature goal, countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate-neutral world by mid-century.
  • It is a landmark process because, for the first time, a binding agreement brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.

The action plan

  • Implementation of the Paris Agreement requires economic and social transformation, based on the best available science.
  • The Agreement works on a 5- year cycle of increasingly ambitious climate action carried out by countries.
  • By 2020, countries submit their plans for climate action known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

[Burning Issue] Five Years of Paris Agreement

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Net-zero emissions target is unjust for developing countries

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Kyoto Protocol

Mains level: Paper 3- How net-zero emission targets are unjust for developing countries

The article explains why the net-zero emission targets are unjust for developing countries like India.

Understanding climate justice

  • The principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC) based on historical responsibility have been the bedrock of climate actions under the UNFCCC ever since 1992.
  • Based on these principles in Paris Agreement, developed countries promised to deliver higher finance commitment by 2025 and a more facilitative technology regime, apart from leading mitigation actions.
  • Developing countries agreed to take legal obligation that entails undertaking domestic mitigation measures and reporting on their implementation as part of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).
  • These are also the central pillars on which India’s call for climate justice is premised.

How India is leading by example

  • Indian government introduced climate sensitivity in domestic policies.
  • Climate sensitivity is reflected in interventions like energy for all, housing for all, health insurance and crop insurance, action like the “Clean India” and “give it up” campaigns, popularising yoga and sustainable lifestyle practices.
  • Together, these initiatives ensure climate justice to the vulnerable and poor sections that are worst hit by climate change.
  • While the rich were cajoled to move towards sustainable living, the poor were provided with the safety nets to fight climate change.

Addressig 3 aspects of climate justice

  • In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle distinguished three forms of justice, namely distributive, commutative and corrective. 
  • With the onset of the implementation phase of the Paris Agreement, it would be useful to take stock of how well the global community is addressing these three aspects of justice.

1) Distributive justice

  • Distributive justice pertains to how resources should be distributed in terms of principles of equality, equity and merit.
  • For climate change, the most important resource is the global carbon space.
  • The developed countries continue to corner a lion’s share of the carbon space for their luxurious consumption while they goad developing countries to cut their emissions emanating from even basic needs.
  • Therefore, the focus should be on ensuring ambitious climate action by developed countries in the near-term to ensure distributive climate justice.

2) Commutative justice

  • In the climate change discourse, commutative justice refers to the honouring of past commitments in good faith.
  • The Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997 was a historic turning point with legally binding targets for industrialised countries to reduce overall GHG emissions.
  • However, the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol that commits developed country parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 18 per cent below 1990 levels by the year 2020 only entered into force in December 2020, just one day before its expiry.
  • These targets unambitious and grossly inadequate to meet the principal objective of UNFCCC.
  • Also, several developed countries backtracked and refused to take on any targets in the second commitment period.
  • The developed country delivery of finance, technology transfer, and capacity building support to developing countries is also not up to the mark.
  • The fulfilment of these past commitments would be a critical precursor to any enhancement of climate ambition by developing countries.

3) Corrective justice

  • Corrective justice pertains to the righting of wrongs.
  • Climate justice demands that every individual who is born on this earth has a right to development and dignified living.
  • For this, developed countries need to repay the climate debt by shouldering greater mitigation responsibilities and providing finance, technology and capacity-building support.

Consider the question “Why net zero emission targets are considered to be unjust for developing countries?”

Conclusion

So, while many herald the call for net zero by 2050 as a positive signal in avoiding runaway climate breakdown, in reality it delays climate action by developed countries and is being used to evade historical responsibility and transfer burdens to developing countries.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

What to consider before India takes ‘net-zero’ pledge

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Paper 3- Whether or not India should consider net zero emission target by 2050?

There are several issues with the adoption of net zero-emission targets. One of the most important being the lack of equity. This article deals with this issue.

About net-zero emission targets

  • The “net zero” idea is inspired by an IPCC report that calls for global net emissions – GHG emissions minus removal of GHGs through various means to reach zero by mid-century.
  • This builds on a clause in the Paris Climate Agreement, calling for a balance between sources and sinks of emissions by the second half of the century.
  • It is worth underscoring that none of this implies that each country has to reach net-zero by 2050.
  • Net-zero announcements signals a progressive direction of travel and has the apparent merit of presenting a simple and singular benchmark for assessing the performance of a country.

3 Issues with net zero targets

  • First, it potentially allows countries to keep emitting today while relying on yet-to-be-developed and costly technologies to absorb emissions tomorrow.
  • Second, its focus on long-term targets displaces attention from meaningful short-term actions that are credible and accountable.
  • Third., it calls into question concerns of equity and fairness.

Balancing the concerns of developing and developed countries

  • The Paris Agreement, while urging global peaking as soon as possible, explicitly recognises that peaking will take longer for developing countries.
  • The Paris Agreement calls for achieving balance in developing and developed nation “on the basis of equity” and in the context of “sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty”.
  • Therefore, the Paris Agreement does not advocate uptake of net-zero targets across developed and developing countries, as currently being advocated by many countries.
  • Rather, the emphasis in the agreement on equity, sustainable development and poverty eradication suggests a thoughtful balancing of responsibilities between developed and developing countries.

Factors India should consider before taking zero-emission target

  • Our first nationally determined contribution (NDC) submitted under the Paris Agreement has been rated by observers as compatible with a 2 degrees Celsius trajectory.
  • We are ahead of schedule in meeting our contribution.
  • Now, India will need to decide whether to join a growing number of countries (over 120 at last count) that have pledged to reach “net zero” emissions by 2050.
  • But it is not clear that enhancing mitigation action can definitively deliver net-zero emissions by 2050, given that our emissions are still rising, and our development needs are considerable.
  • There is a possibility that a not fully thought-through mid-century net-zero target would compromise sustainable development.
  • Moreover, such a major shift in our negotiating position will have implications for the future, including our ability to leverage additional finance and technology to help shift to low-carbon development pathways.
  • Our 2 degrees Celsius compatible NDC, bolstered by the Prime Minister’s announcement in 2019 that we would achieve 450 GW of renewables by 2030, could be strengthened.
  • Building on this track record suggests an alternate and equally, if not more, compelling, way to indicate climate ambition in the future than uncritically taking on a net-zero target.

Way forward

  • We would benefit from taking stock of our actions and focusing on near-term transitions.
  • This will allow us to meet and even over-comply with our 2030 target while also ensuring concomitant developmental benefits, such as developing a vibrant renewable industry.
  • We can start putting in place the policies and institutions necessary to move us in the right direction for the longer-term and also better understand the implications of net-zero scenarios before making a net-zero pledge.
  • It would also be in India’s interest to link any future pledge to the achievement of near-term action by industrialised countries.
  • That would be fair and consistent with the principles of the UNFCCC.

Consider the question “Growing number of countries have been setting net-zero emission target. In light of this, examine the issues India should consider before setting itself the net zero emission targets.”

Conclusion

India, like others, have a responsibility to the international community, we also have a responsibility to our citizens to be deliberate and thoughtful about a decision as consequential as India’s climate pledge.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Working towards climate justice in a non-ideal world

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NEF

Mains level: Paper 3- Climate change negotiations

The new U.S. administration has renewed its commitment to climate actions by reconvening the Major Economies Forum. This has several implications for India and the developing countries. The article deals with this issue.

Reconvening MEF and its implications for developing countries

  • The election of Joe Biden as U.S. President has catapulted climate change to the top of the global agenda.
  • Interestingly, the U.S. is not just striding back to the Obama signature achievement of the Paris Accord with its voluntary commitments but also to the Bush days [which was not necessarily voluntary].
  • This change is best evidenced by the presidential call to reconvene the Major Economies Forum (MEF).
  • The MEF, which was first convened in March 2009, originated in the Bush-era U.S. efforts to rope in major emitters.
  • It was also to push a way forward on climate change without heed to the principle of differentiated responsibilities and recognition of historical responsibilities.
  • These two are hallowed principles of the climate discourse given the decades of staying power of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere.

Changing approach implications for India

  • All countries have been told to commit to net zero (GHG emissions) by 2050 with credible plans to ensure meeting this domestic target.
  • Taking a cue from the new U.S. Administration, the UN Secretary-General has even called on countries to declare national climate emergencies apart from building a coalition for a carbon-neutral world by 2050.
  • As of today, countries representing around 65% of global CO2 emissions have already agreed to this.
  • These plans and their implementation will, undoubtedly, be subject to international reviews and verification.
  • Historical responsibilities and differentiation have no place in this discourse; but neither does the level of development.
  • India can easily be in the crosshairs of such a discourse no matter its extraordinarily small carbon footprint in per-capita terms and huge development imperatives.

Possibility of carbon border levies

  • Adding to the challenges is the distinct possibility of the EU imposing carbon border levies on those who do not take on high carbon cut-down targets and do so unilaterally if there is no global agreement.
  • While as of now the U.S. Administration appears ambivalent on these border levies, the possibility of their coming around cannot be ruled out.
  • In such a scenario, World Trade Organization rules that presently exclude the use of tariffs on environmental grounds will certainly get modified.

A fund pay-in idea

  • To deal with the issue of climate finance, Raghuram Rajan has recently put forward a proposal for India to consider.
  • The proposal calls on countries to pay into a global fund amounts based on their carbon emissions over and above the global per-capita average of five tons.
  • This obviously disincentives coal in a big way while incentivising renewables.
  • Those above the global average would pay, while those below would receive the monies.
  • While this would suggest a certain equity, it may be unacceptable to the developed countries even though Mr. Rajan has gone along with the drumbeat to forget historical responsibility.
  • For India, such a proposal may appear attractive as India today has per capita CO2 emission of only 2 tons and is a global record setter in pushing renewables.
  • The long-term implications of such a proposal require examination in detail, quite apart from factoring in the twists and turns that negotiations could give to such an idea.
  • And then, of course, there are alternatives such as emission trading. 

Implications for developing countries

  • The proposal of fund pay-in allows practical considerations to trump fairness by not only giving a short shrift to historical responsibility but also denying priority access to the remaining carbon space for developing countries.
  • In that sense, it double penalises them while giving developed countries a certain free pass.
  • Here it bears noting that more than 75% of the carbon space available to humankind to keep global temperature rises to 1.5° C has already been taken up by the developed world and China.

Consider the question “As the world seeks to tackle the climate change through climate action, delivering climate justice should also be the priority. In light of this, discuss the challenges faced by the developing countries in this regard.”

Conclusion

Climate justice is an imperative for India, which needs to leverage its green and pro-nature commitment to ensure carbon and policy space for its developmental and global aspirations. India’s diplomatic and negotiating efforts must be quickly geared to that end.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Adaptation, not mitigation, should inform India’s climate strategy

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: 26th COP

Mains level: Paper 3- COP 26 to UNFCCC agenda

The article discusses issues such as China’s changing stance, climate finance and adoption of targets.

The 26th COP to the UNFCCC

  • Countries Across the world are gearing up for the 26th Conference of Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • At the forthcoming COP countries will be expected to increase the nationally determined commitments they made as part of that agreement.
  • Those original commitments would put the planet on track towards a 3 degrees centigrade temperature rise by the end of the current millennium.
  • 3-degree centigrade is far beyond the 1.5-degree limit that science considers to be a relatively safe threshold.

Countries declaring carbon neutrality targets

  • The European Union (EU), the UK, Japan and South Korea have announced more ambitious targets.
  • The EU and the UK have pledged to reduce their carbon emissions by 55 per cent in 2030 with 2000 as the base year
  • They have also pledged to achieve “carbon neutrality” or zero carbon emissions by 2050.
  • China has announced that it will achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 and this has been welcomed by other major economies.

Delinking from China

  • It is anticipated that the Biden administration may engage with China to come up with a template for COP-26.
  • That template did not take into account India’s interests despite China being part of the BASIC group of Brazil, South Africa, China and India.
  • BASIC, as major emerging economies, had been taking coordinated positions at multilateral climate negotiations.
  • Going forward, India must delink itself from China, let BASIC become a consultative forum only and reconstruct a larger coalition of developing countries whose climate change goals are more aligned with its own.
  • After Paris, BASIC has lost whatever rationale it originally possessed.

Course of action for India: Adaptation is the key

  • There will be some important international conferences before COP-26, where major efforts are expected to set down an agenda for that meeting.
  • Biden has called for a summit of major emitting nations on April 22.
  • In June there will be a G-7 summit of western countries and Japan to which India has been invited.
  • The UK has let it be known that climate change would be at the top of the summit agenda.
  • What should India’s stance be at these meetings?
  • Both for India and other developing countries, it is important that mitigation does not overshadow other key elements of the Paris Climate agreement.
  • There has been step-motherly treatment of adaptation, which is a bigger challenge for most developing countries than mitigation is.
  • Adaptation should have equal billing with mitigation whenever and wherever climate change action is being deliberated upon.
  • India may find itself under pressure to commit to decisions that limit rather than enhance its development prospects.
  • One should not yield to pressures to declare a peaking year for India’s carbon emissions or to follow China into declaring a target year for carbon neutrality.
  • There is a relentless effort by the US and Western European countries to include climate change on the UN Security Council (UNSC) agenda.
  • At a recent UNSC meeting, this was strongly opposed by Russia and by India.
  • We will need to work out a persuasive case for opposing it since a large number of countries seem to believe that climate change is indeed a security issue and needs to be treated as such.
  • The potentially menacing intent behind it should be exposed.

Climate finance falling short

  • The developed countries had committed themselves to providing $100 billion a year in climate finance to developing countries up to 2020.
  • There was a pledge to increase the size of this funding significantly in the period 2021-2025.
  • Even by the very accommodative accounting methods used by the OECD, the actual flows have fallen far short, being only $79 billion in 2018.
  •  Our own ministry of finance has estimated that there has been only a billion dollars in new and additional finance transferred to developing countries annually against the $100 billion pledge.
  • It is therefore important for India to highlight the finance component.
  • This will also enable the mobilisation of other developing countries, in particular small and medium countries and small island developing states.
  • These countries look up to India to provide intellectual leadership in a domain that is often quite technical and complex.

Consider the question “What are the factors India should highlight and focus on as it heads to the 26th COP to the UNFCCC?”

Conclusion

It is evident that India needs to fashion a fresh strategy on climate change negotiations to safeguard its interests, contribute to a global climate regime that enhances and does not diminish India’s development prospects and helps the country both to adapt to climate change that is already taking place and to accelerate its transition to a low carbon growth trajectory.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

What is Stockholm+50?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Stockholm+50

Mains level: Progress of global climate action

Stockholm+50 is a high-level meeting that the Government of Sweden plans to hold in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the first UN conference on the human environment – the 1972 Stockholm Conference.

The 1972 Stockholm Conference

  • The UN Conference on the Human Environment, also known as the Stockholm Conference, was the first UN conference on the environment and was held between 5 and 16 June 1972 in Stockholm.
  • The meeting’s outcome document – the Stockholm Declaration – included several principles that are still important for environmental management.
  • Another result of the meeting was the establishment of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Environment Day, held annually on 5 June.

Try this PYQ:

Q.The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international treaty drawn at:

(a) United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, Stockholm, 1972

(b) UN Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro, 1992

(c) World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, 2002

(d) UN Climate Change Conference, Copenhagen, 2009

Background

  • It’s been a generation since global leaders met in Stockholm in 1972 to discuss environmental challenges.
  • Then the concerns were for the local environment; there was no talk of climate change or even the depletion of the ozone layer.
  • All that came later. In 1972, the discussion was on the toxification of the environment as water and air were foul.

Progress for 50 years

  • The toxification of the environment is still a pressing concern; countries have indeed cleaned up locally but added to the emissions in the global atmosphere.
  • Now, we are out of time as climate change impacts are spiralling out of control.

Perils of Ecological Globalization

  • The fact is we stitched up the global ecological framework in terms of the many agreements only.
  • During this time, we also signed another agreement on free-trade — the economic globalisation agreement.
  • But we never really understood how these two frameworks — ecological and economic globalisation — would counteract each other.
  • As a result, we have worked to build an economic model based on discounting the price of labour and of the environment.

Expectations from Stockholm+50

  • The aim of Stockholm+50 is to contribute to concrete action.
  • It aims at leveraging sustainable consumption and production patterns and nature-based solutions in order to achieve climate-neutral, resilient, circular and inclusive economies.
  • The narrative and result will be further developed together with interested governments and other partners.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

India’s Draft Arctic Policy

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Arctic Council

Mains level: Exploration of the Arctic

India has unveiled a new draft ‘Arctic’ policy that and is committed to expanding scientific research, “sustainable tourism” and mineral oil and gas exploration in the Arctic region.

Note: Five Arctic littoral states — Canada, Denmark (Greenland), Norway, Russia and the USA (Alaska) — and three other Arctic nations — Finland, Sweden and Iceland — form the Arctic Council (estd. 1996).

Try mapping them.

Caution: India became an Observer in the Arctic Council for the first time in 2013. And, India isn’t a full-time observer.

India at the Arctic

  • India launched its first scientific expedition to the Arctic in 2007 and set up a research station ‘Himadri’ in the international Arctic research base at Ny-Ålesund in Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway.
  • It has two other observatories in Kongsforden and Gruvebadet. Himadri is manned for about 180 days a year.
  • Since its establishment, over 300 Indian researchers have worked in the station. India has sent 13 expeditions to the Arctic since 2007 and runs 23 active projects.

Draft ‘Arctic’ policy

  • The draft policy discusses the importance of understanding the impact of climate change in the Arctic region and its connection with India’s monsoon, which is crucial for its economy.
  • India also proposes to focus on vast resources of the Arctic region including hydrocarbons, minerals and renewable power to ensure its energy security.
  • The policy is cautious in framing its involvement in the Arctic as “common heritage of mankind” but its priorities are similar to that of other non-Arctic states.
  • This policy roadmap draft rides on five pillars:
  1. Science and research activities,
  2. Economic and human development cooperation,
  3. Transportation and connectivity,
  4. Governance and international cooperation, and
  5. National capacity building.

Nodal bodies

  • The Goa-based National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research to lead scientific research and act as a nodal body.
  • It would thus coordinate among various scientific bodies to promote domestic scientific research capacities by expanding earth sciences, biological sciences, climate change and space-related programmes, dove-tailed with Arctic imperatives.

Why study arctic?

  • The Arctic is home to almost four million inhabitants, of which approximately one-tenth are considered as indigenous people.
  • Climate change has meant that seasons in the Arctic influence tropical weather.
  • The Arctic influences atmospheric, oceanographic and biogeochemical cycles of the earth’s ecosystem.
  • The loss of sea ice, ice caps, and warming of the ocean and atmosphere would lower salinity in the global oceans.
  • This could increase the temperature differential between land and oceans in the tropical regions, dry subtropical areas and increase precipitation at higher latitudes.
  • Arctic research will help India’s scientific community to study melting rates of the third pole — the Himalayan glaciers.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Why Geo-engineering is still a dangerous, techno-utopian dream?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Geo-engineering/ Climate engineering

Mains level: Geo-engineering and its limitation

Geoengineering has steadily shifted over the last few decades from the margins towards the mainstream of climate action discourse.

Q.What do you mean by Geoengineering? What are its practical applications? Also, discuss its limitations. (250W)

What is Geoengineering?

  • Climate engineering aka geoengineering is the deliberate and large-scale intervention in the Earth’s climate system, usually with the aim of mitigating the adverse effects of global warming.
  • It is a deliberate, large-scale intervention carried out in the Earth’s natural systems to reverse the impacts of climate change.
  • Its techniques fall primarily under three categories: Solar radiation management (SRM), carbon dioxide removal (CDR), and weather modification.
  • Solar radiation management refers to offsetting the warming effect of greenhouse gases by reflecting more solar radiation (sunlight) back into space.
  • Carbon dioxide removal refers to removing carbon dioxide gas (CO2) from the atmosphere and sequestering it for long periods of time.

Debates around geoengineering have burrowed to the deepest roots of our conflict with nature — do we have the right to manage and manipulate nature?

What are the specificities of geoengineering?

Specific technologies include-

  • Solar geoengineering or ‘dimming the sun’ by spraying sulfates into the air to reflect sunlight back into space;
  • Ocean fertilization or the dumping of iron or urea to stimulate phytoplankton growth to absorb more carbon;
  • Cloud brightening or spraying saltwater to make clouds more reflective and more.

CDR technologies being proposed as a means to achieve ‘net zero’ emissions by mid-century involve deliberate intervention in the natural carbon cycle:

  • Carbon capture and storage (CCS), direct air capture (DAC) and
  • Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS)

India and Geo-engineering

  • We had experiments such as LOHAFEX (an ocean iron fertilization experiment to see if iron can cause algal bloom and trap carbon dioxide from the atmosphere).
  • LOHAFEX was an ocean iron fertilization experiment jointly planned by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in India and the Helmholtz Foundation in Germany.
  • The purpose of the experiment was to see if the iron would cause an algal bloom and trap carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

How well did it fetch?

  • As expected iron fertilization led to the development of bloom during LOHAFEX, but the chlorophyll increase within the fertilized patch, an indicator of biomass, was smaller than in previous experiments.
  • The algal bloom also stimulated the growth of zooplankton that feed on them. The zooplanktons in turn are consumed by higher organisms.
  • Thus, ocean fertilization with iron also contributes to the carbon-fixing marine biomass of fish species that have been removed from the ocean by over-fishing.

The debate over its advocacy

  • Mainstream activists are advocating solar geoengineering as a means to buy “humanity more time to cut greenhouse gas emissions”.
  • Opponents have numerous foundationally solid arguments. They warn against “taking our ecosystems even further away from self-regulation”.
  • They argue that such actions distract attention from the need for deep cuts to gross emissions which is achievable with the right political will and resource mobilization.

Undesired consequences of geoengineering

  • Conducting tests for geoengineering is a fallacy since these methods need to be deployed at a scale large enough to impact the global climate system to be certain of their efficacy.
  • It is a large risk to take without knowing the potentially harmful consequences of such a planetary scale deployment.
  • Some of these consequences are already known. Solar geoengineering, for example, alters rainfall patterns that can disrupt agriculture and water supplies.
  • Injecting sulfate aerosols in the stratosphere above the Arctic to mimic volcano clouds, for example, can disrupt the monsoons in Asia and increase droughts.

Geopolitical concerns

  • Manipulating the climate could have the same geopolitical function as nuclear weapons.
  • Even before geoengineering is deployed, it may be used as a threat that will likely incite countermeasures.
  • Say if governments ever gain control of changing the course of potentially damaging storms, diversions that direct storms toward other countries may be seen as acts of war.

What lies ahead?

  • We all know that climate change is growing more rapidly than anticipated earlier.
  • Hence we should combine it with a program of deep decarbonization. This would help implement a “clean-up process” that will hasten our return to a more habitable environment.
  • Scientists agree that natural climate solutions such as forest sinks cannot be relied upon for the scale of mitigation needed.
  • Therefore, a socially just application of such technologies for carbon capture with geological sequestration offers ‘negative emissions’.

Conclusion

  • Geoengineering cannot be treated as a magical mechanism to escape the heightening concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) while accepting the viewpoint that rapid decarbonization is impossible.
  • It also cannot be treated as a license to continue emitting more GHGs with no changes to current consumption and production patterns.
  • Specific technologies that can help us achieve negative emissions need to be publicly funded and democratically administered to ensure that they serve the public interest.
  • And they can only act as a supplement to scaling back of GHG emissions in all sectors, not a substitute.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

The climate policy needs new ideas

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Paris Agreement

Mains level: Paper 3- Climate change policies and issues with them

The article highlights the issues with the current climate policies which are centred on the inequality.

Inequality and climate change

  • Inequity is built into the climate treaty, which considers total emissions, size, and population, making India the fourth largest emitter.
  • According to the United Nations, the richest 1% of the global population emits more than two times the emissions of the bottom 50%.
  • .China, with four times the population of the U.S., accounts for 12% of cumulative emissions.
  • India, with a population close to that of China’s, for just 3% of cumulative emissions that lead to global warming.
  • In an urbanized world, two-thirds of emissions arise from the demand of the middle class for infrastructure, mobility, buildings, and diet.
  • Well-being in the urbanized world is reflected in saturation levels of infrastructure.
  • Growth in the developed countries is consumption-driven not production driven.
  • The vaguely worded ‘carbon neutrality’, balancing emitting carbon with absorbing carbon from the atmosphere in forests is a triple whammy for latecomers like India.
  • Such countries already have less energy-intensive pathways that will not encroach on others’ ecological space, a young population, and are growing fast to reach comparable levels of well-being with those already urbanized and in the middle class.

What changes are required in the policies

  • At present, the focus is on physical quantities which indicates effects on nature.
  • The solutions require analysis of drivers, trends, and patterns of resource use. 
  • This anomaly explains why the link between well-being, energy use, and emissions is not on the global agenda.
  • Modifying unsustainable patterns of natural resource use and ensuring comparable levels of well-being are societal transformations.
  • New thinking must enable politics to acknowledge transformational social goals and the material boundaries of economic activity.

India’s unique national circumstances

  • India must highlight its unique national circumstances.
  • For example, the meat industry, especially beef, contributes to one-third of global emissions.
  • Indians eat just 4 kg of meat a year compared to those in the European Union who eat about 65 kg.
  • Also to be noted is the fact that the average American household wastes nearly one-third of its food.
  • Transport emissions account for a quarter of global emissions.
  • Transport emissions are the symbol of Western civilization and are not on the global agenda.
  • Rising Asia uses three-quarters of coal drives industry and supports the renewable energy push into cities.
  • India, with abundant reserves and per capita electricity use that is one-tenth that of the U.S., is under pressure to stop using coal.

Way forward

  • India has the credibility and legitimacy to push an alternate 2050 goal for countries currently with per capita emissions below the global average.
  • These goals should include well-being within ecological limits, the frame of the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as multilateral technological knowledge cooperation around electric vehicles, energy efficiency, building insulation, and a less wasteful diet.

Conclusion

Emissions are the symptom, not the cause of the problem. India, in the UN Security Council, must push new ideas based on its civilizational and long-standing alternate values for the transition to sustainability.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

World to breach 1.5°C threshold by 2027-2042

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: GCM, Cancun COP

Mains level: 1.5 C debate

The planet will breach the threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels between 2027 and 2042 according to new research.

Ever wondered why is there so much of hue to halt the temperature rise at 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, and why not 2°C? Read this newscard to get aware….

What does that mean?

  • The world will heat up more than it can take much earlier than anticipated.
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had estimated that breach to occur between now and 2052.
  • But researchers have now claimed to have introduced a more precise way to project the Earth’s temperature based on historical climate data.

The fuss over 1.5°C threshold

  • For decades, researchers argued the global temperature rise must be kept below 2C by the end of this century to avoid the worst impacts.
  • The idea of two degrees as the safe threshold for warming evolved over a number of years from the first recorded mention by economist William Nordhaus in 1975.
  • By the mid-1990s, European ministers were signing up to the two-degree limit, and by 2010 Cancun COP it was official UN policy.
  • However, small island states and low-lying countries were very unhappy with this perspective, because they believed it meant their territories would be inundated with sea-level rise.
  • They commissioned research which showed that preventing temperatures from rising beyond 1.5C would give them a fighting chance.

Why 1.5°C is preferred over 2°C?

  • Global warming is already impacting people and ecosystems. The risks at 1.5°C and 2°C are progressively higher.
  • There will be worse heatwaves, drought and flooding at 2°C compared to 1.5°C. It is characterized as “substantial differences in extremes”.
  • Sea levels are expected to rise 10cm higher this century under 2°C of warming than 1.5°C.
  • The collapse of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica could lead to rises of several metres.
  • The quantity and quality of staple crops suffer under 2°C warming compared to 1.5C, as do livestock. That is bad for the availability of food in many parts of the world.

New model shows the breach in threshold

  • The study according to which prediction model deployed reduced uncertainties by half compared to the approach used by the IPCC.
  • The IPCC uses the General Circulation Models (GCM) to express wide ranges in overall temperature projections.
  • This makes it difficult to circle outcomes in different climate mitigation scenarios.

What is the General Circulation Model (GCM)?

  • GCM represents physical processes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and land surface.
  • It is the most advanced tool currently available for simulating the response of the global climate system to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations.
  • GCMs depict the climate using a three-dimensional grid over the globe, typically having a horizontal resolution of between 250 and 600 km.
  • Many physical processes, such as those related to clouds, also occur at smaller scales and cannot be properly modelled.

Why GCM is tricky?

  • Climate models are mathematical simulations of different factors that interact to affect Earth’s climate, such as the atmosphere, ocean, ice, land surface and the sun.
  • The data is tricky, and predictions can more often than not be inaccurate.
  • For example, an IPCC model would predict a temperature increase of a massive range — between 1.9oC and 4.5oC — if carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is doubled.

Back2Basics: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

  • The IPCC is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations that is dedicated to providing the world with an objective, scientific information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of the risk of human-induced climate change.
  • It was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  • Its membership is open to all members of the WMO and UN.
  • The IPCC produces reports that contribute to the work of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the main international treaty on climate change.
  • The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report was a critical scientific input into the UNFCCC’s Paris Agreement in 2015.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Five years since Paris Agreement, an opportunity to build back better

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Targets under the Paris Agreement

Mains level: Paper 3- 5 years of Paris Agreement and actions of EU and India

This article by the Ambassador of the European Union underscores the need for implementation and action on the commitments made in the Paris Agreement to deal with climate change.

EU’s commitment to implement Paris Agreement

  • In December 2019, the European Commission launched the European Green Deal — roadmap to achieve climate neutrality in the EU by 2050.
  •  “Next Generation EU” recovery package and our next long-term budget earmark more than half a trillion euros to address climate change.
  • Recently  EU leaders unanimously agreed on the 2030 target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% compared to 1990 levels.

Impact on low carbon technologies

  • These actions and commitments of the EU towards Paris Agreement will further bring down the costs of low carbon technologies.
  • The cost of solar photovoltaics has already declined by 82% between 2010 and 2019.
  • Achieving the 55% target will even help us to save €100 billion in the next decade and up to €3 trillion by 2050.

EU working with India on climate actions

  • No government can tackle climate change alone.
  •  India is a key player in this global endeavour.
  • The rapid development of solar and wind energy in India in the last few years is a good example of the action needed worldwide.
  • India has taken a number of very significant flagship initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance, the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and the Leadership Group for Industry Transition.
  • India and Team Europe are engaged to make a success of the forthcoming international gatherings: COP 26 in Glasgow on climate change and COP 15 in Kunming on biodiversity.

Way forward

  • The international community should come forward with clear strategies for net-zero emissions and to enhance the global level of ambition for 2030.
  • Our global, regional, national, local and individual recovery plans are an opportunity to ‘build back better’.
  • We will also need to foster small individual actions to attain a big collective impact.

Conclusion

With climate neutrality as our goal, the world should mobilise its best scientists, business people, policymakers, academics, civil society actors and citizens to protect together something we all share beyond borders and species: our planet.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Five years of Paris Agreement

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Paris Agreement

Mains level: Paper 3- Net zero emission targets and issues with it

 Climate Ambition Summit was held on the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement. The article takes stock of the progress made on climate action in the last 5 years.

The Paris Agreement

  • The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016.
  • Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.
  • To achieve this long-term temperature goal, countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate-neutral world by mid-century.
  • It is a landmark process because, for the first time, a binding agreement brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.

How does it function?

  • Implementation of the Paris Agreement requires economic and social transformation, based on the best available science.
  • The Agreement works on a 5- year cycle of increasingly ambitious climate action carried out by countries.
  • By 2020, countries submit their plans for climate action known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

NDCs

  • In their NDCs, countries communicate actions they will take to reduce their Greenhouse Gas emissions in order to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  • Countries also communicate in the NDCs actions they will tak