India on 2nd October 2016 joined another 61 countries in submitting their instrument of ratification and together they count for now 62% of total GHG emissions. After Paris agreement, the treaty was opened for signature from October 2016 to April 2017.
This is a very seminal development in maintaining the global climate and to reduce the growing temperature which is a great threat to mankind, livelihood, health and productivity.
This treaty which was agreed upon during Paris convention, i.e. COP 21. It took 20 years to come to the agreement. People had divergent views about it, particularly between industrialised countries and developing countries viewpoint, so ironing out took some time.
But the outcome was that there was universal acceptance that something had to be done to contain the rise of global temperature within 2 degree Celsius. This figure has been scientifically suggested by IPCC studies. If the temperature rises beyond 2 degrees, then the things are going to be in a difficult and irreversible situations. Keeping this warning in mind, the global community has finally agreed, after lot of skirmish for 20 years, to have the treaty.
For the US to have this treaty ratified and the formalities done, it is a long process.
For treaty to become operative, there are two conditions
Atleast 55 countries must submit the instruments of ratification (certification from government that the Paris agreement is accepted to the nation).
The countries who ratify must amount to 55% of Global carbon dioxide emissions.
When these two conditions are met, the treaty will become operative.
This happened on 4th October. So on 4th November, this treaty came into force.
Nationally Determined Declaration
All those countries which have earlier submitted INDCs will be taken on board. Then the countries have an agreement to adhere to it and take corresponding measures in their countries to meet those expected commitments.
Paris agreement is centrally to strengthen the global response to climate change threat by keeping global temperature rise in this century below 2 degrees above the pre-industrial levels.
There was a Morocco conference in November which is hosting COP 22. It is an annual event where the countries shared notes on what is being done to meet the targets for which the commitments have been made. India’s commitment is very important as PM has already declared 100GW of solar energy + 60GW of wind energy + 40% energy from non-fossil fuel sources of energy by 2022.
There have been studies by NITI Ayog where certain amount of economic growth has been projected at 8-8.5% and have come to the conclusion that India’s energy needs are going to grow but even after that, India will not be high emitters of GHGs. It might be even less than global average which is 5-6 tons per capita. India will not exceed 4.4 tons even after growing energy needs.
India’s INDCs are ambitious in terms of non-fossil fuels but for that, there is obvious need of financing technology, capacity building support. India is pushing for second commitment period of Kyoto protocol. However, Kyoto protocol had a very unfortunate fate. The countries have not adhered to their commitments and have faulted on it. Hence, continuous emission of Co2 has escalated and a result a very precarious situation has been created. This has precipitated in form of Paris agreement.
The developing countries are saying that whatever commitments have been made in terms of green climate fund it does not match their requirement of finance. The green fund is small compared to the needs and programme that is envisaged. But it is envisaged that as the time moves on, things will improve.
Another major area of concern is that developed countries should pass technology and knowhow for having energy efficient technologies to the developing countries.
India is working on two premises:
To replace the fossil fuel energy by non-fossil fuel energy sources like solar, wind, biomass, biogas, nuclear. India is making appreciable progress in it.
Increasing the energy efficiency or density. It means that per unit of energy, there is more production than present.
On these two fronts, there are practical and satisfactory development.
LED bulbs are being distributed where more than 6.5 crore LED bulbs have already been distributed. This has resulted into more than 400 MW of electricity saving and per day expenditure of money. The industries are progressively improving upon energy intensity. Less energy more work or same energy and more production.
These will take time but they are positive signals.
Symbolism of Gandhiji’s birth anniversary
It was signed on Mahatma Gandhiji’s birthday who led a simple life. This is an indirect message to the world for need for change in lifestyle, particularly in developed world. Present day problems of global climate change is largely due to lifestyle and profligate use of energy. This is the reason that it is possible to contain the energy use of fossil fuel use.
The ideals and experience of Gandhiji are helpful which provided philosophical support and guide to really contain the energy needs and at the same time improve the quality of life and welfare of people.
Climate justice- INDCS are ambitious as India has indicated that it will achieve about 40% cumulative power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based resources by 2030. The renewable power deployment target is of 175 GW by 2022. Actions are being taken in that context on regular basis. The price of solar energy is coming down which instils hope that faster progress on this front is possible. The message is percolating to grassroots as there are talks on LED, bio diesels, Green highways and green renewables. From every point of view, India is looking at containing Co2. It has been mainstreamed into every action and developmental projects that India is planning.
These targets have to be revised upwards, i.e. another 50 GW have to be added to solar and 20-30 GW to wind and other sources.
The technology has become manageable and competitive and therefore it is hoped that results will be positive. It is not easy and the challenges remain. Hence, India has to work consistently.
Connecting the dots:
Is ratifying Paris climate agreement beneficial to India? Critically examine.