Paris Agreement : Way Forward – UPSC GS3

Paris Agreement on Climate Change
  • Objective: To limit global temperature rise this century to below 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels or even below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • Methodology to achieve this objective: All countries to come up with nationally determined commitments (NDCs) to achieve the objective. Accordingly, all countries, including the largest GHG emitters like China, the United States, and the European Union, came on board with NDCs.
  • Outcomes:
    • The agreement benefits the largest GHG emitters: As it weakened the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities”
    • Methodology may not help to achieve the objective: Analyses indicate that an aggregation of the NDCs of countries does not add up to keep temperatures within the 2 degrees C limit.
  • Contribution to Emissions
    • China today emits around 30% of global GHGs, but it has shown signs of tapering its emissions by shutting coal-guzzling power plants in the past few years.
    • The US follows at around 15%, with Europe at 10%.
    • India is fourth at 7% of the global total but with per-capita emissions that are less than half the global average.
India’s perspective:
  • Commitments:
    • To reduce emission intensity of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 33-35% from 2005 levels by 2030
    • To achieve 40% of non-fossil-fuel installed electricity production capacity.
  • Initiatives to achieve these commitments:
    • Establishment of International Solar Alliance(ISA) with France
    • Acting as a strong proponent of global action on global warming with being on track to over-achieve the targets it had committed
  • Effects of Climate Change on India:
    • India is acutely vulnerable to the vagaries of climate change
    • India’s growth and development is coupled with rising GHG emissions
Way Forward
  • Actions beyond NDCs: Much more action on GHG reduction, the introduction of green technologies and adaptation are needed
  • Shut down coal-guzzling power plants: Like china did, which helps in tapering their emissions.
  • Coalitions with like-minded nations: Like the establishment of ISA by India and France.
  • Exercise stock-taking & push countries to enhance their commitments: This is expected to be done by Conference of Parties (CoP) of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by late 2021
  • United Nations (UN) should take the lead: UN is already planning to establish a Global Coalition of Carbon Neutrality by 2021 to achieve a goal of net-zero emissions of GHGs by 2050.
Conclusion: Apart from the above steps India should build a GREEN (Growth with Renewable Energy, Entrepreneurship and Nature) coalition of countries with development imperatives and climate perspectives.
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