Environment · Governance · Public Policy

The Paris Climate Agreement

Harsha Uikey discusses the stance of  few countries including India with respect to the Paris Climate Agreement.

When the two most powerful players of World’s politics and economics, China and USA ratified the ‘Paris Climate Agreement’[i], all eyes were on the next emerging player, India. Both USA and China are the worst emitters of green house gases. While they ratified the treaty in the recent G20 summit, India remained conspicuously silent. The government of India was planning to bargain this ratification with the entry into ‘Nuclear Suppliers Group’[ii]. It was pretty much clear that India would not announce the Ratification in a summit hosted by China, a country, which just put up barrier in India’s entry into NSG.

The Paris Agreement will come into force once 55 countries which emits 55% of green house gas at global level deposits their ‘Instrument of Ratification’[iii] with United Nations.

The Paris Treaty as agreed by the countries is set up with aim to limit Carbon emission after 2020. The major responsibility under this agreement is upon the developed countries to cut their carbon emission drastically and provide all necessary technology, finance and capacity building to other developing countries to mitigate and adapt the climate Change.

After enough pressure from the Island nations, the other countries agreed to pursue long-term efforts to minimize the global temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The global scientific authority on climate science, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) by 2018, will present a special report on the impacts of crossing the limit of 1.5 degree ways to avoid such impacts. The goal set is an incredibly ambitious as the way world is moving towards carbon mitigation its set to go beyond 3-3.5 degree average temperature rise.  The impacts of climate change on India are too real and target set under the agreement will save lives millions of people living along coastline.

The Paris Agreement is built upon the approach of ‘Intended Nationally Determined Constraints’(INDC)[iv] from both developing and developed countries. The Treaty urges parties to improve their pre-2020 emission cuts and manage the present temperature holding in consistent with the 1.5 degree rise. In a speech at the negotiation PM Narendra Modi highlighted the functioning of principle of Equity and Fair distribution of the remaining carbon space. It appears that India is pushing harder for more Capacity building and Finance for a renewable energy transmission. A consistent bone of contentions has failed to see any scale of ambition towards Climate Finance at the negotiations. The nature of financing and funding remained unresolved. The OECD in its report[v] has claimed that the climate finance is quickly dismissing. To achieve INDC by 2030, India has sought $2.5 trillion[vi] in finance, and thus a $100 billion pales in global commitment. The coming years will show how this finance is push ahead through various private and public organizations.

Here if we see, the island nations are only going to face loss and damage. The treaty realizes the impact of such change but does not grant any compensation or liability.  The agreement is legally binding on the developed nations to report their Climate financing progress being delivered to the developing nations on a continuous basis and also their mitigation targets with a review of five year mechanism which starts in 2018.

Whether the treaty will work or not in the substantial future rests upon every person and every nation.  Ratifying the Paris Agreement is one thing and working towards its fulfillment is another. And that’s why the negotiations are questionable, whether entering into the treaty is the only objective or the main cause behind it is. And that’s how large economies comes out with cleans hands. Climate Transparency, a group of researchers around the world has the Green House Emission (GHG) is continuously increasing by the G20 countries and hampering the climate. Till 2013 the carbon dioxide emission of these countries went up to 56% where they account for three-fourth of global CO2 emission.

Researchers has found that half of the G20 countries are inadequate in sticking to the main objective behind it and working towards curbing the climate change.

The Data presented by the researchers has shown that coal production in India by 2020 will cost four times the countries’ annual defense budget.  Climate Transparency claimed that the worst performers in the G20 are Japan, Australia, South Africa, Russia, Argentina and Saudi Arabia.  When the US demands the phase out year 2020, India wants it to be 2030. This contention will be clear when all the nations will meet next. The whole agreement and its negotiations remain questionable for debate.

References-

[i]United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, The Paris Agreement, http://unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9485.php

[ii] http://www.nuclearsuppliersgroup.org/en/

[iii]United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, The Paris Agreement- Status of Ratification, http://unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9444.php

[iv]http://www.carbonbrief.org/explainer-what-are-intended-nationally-determined-contributions

[v]Climate Policy Initiative, Climate Finance in 2013-14 and the USD 100 billion goal, OECD, http://www.oecd.org/environment/cc/OECD-CPI-Climate-Finance-Report.htm

[vi]http://www.carbonbrief.org/paris-2015-tracking-requests-for-climate-finance

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