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).
(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.
- 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’.