The world gets ready to fight another war – against Mother Nature.
With World War II being the backdrop of the birth of the United Nations, seventy years ago, once again, seven decades later, the multifaceted body now faces another looming threat to life from the war that is being waged against nature.
At the Paris Climate Conference, 196 countries unequivocally agreed to sign the planet earth’s health insurance policy against one of the most complex issues that is faced by humanity, in the form of floods, melting glaciers, rising sea levels and extreme high and low temperatures.
Governments of participating countries signed a pact to jointly collaborate to increase efforts to significantly preserve the earth for succeeding generations.
One of the most prominent countries, emerging as a catalyst in the conference was India, one of the fastest growing economies of the world. It is unfortunately, at the same time, the fourth largest greenhouse gas producer, with an 85% increase in GHG predicted by 2030.
This is why India has become the target and not countries like the USA which has a quarter of the South Asian population but generates more than twice the emissions as compared to India or China which produces 26% emissions.
Despite being the 4th largest emitter, India only contributes 2 tons per capita while the USA and China contribute 20 tons and 8 tons, respectively.
Over the years, India’s climate policymakers have been perplexed amidst contradictory expectations, of protecting its population against climate change and at the same time managing the need to develop low cost energy alternatives.
Though India has always prioritized the latter over the former due to concentrated efforts by the government and the private sector, India’s role became more prominent in the Paris Accord.
Prior to the Paris Conference, India had consistently rejected the call to submit a target for reducing greenhouse emission as the policymakers believed it to hamper the poverty alleviation goals of the country.
Indian delegates remained steady on the principle of putting the major responsibility on developed nations to cut their carbon emissions and provide the infrastructural and financial support to reduce the growing climate threat.
At the Paris Climate Conference, India’s role was seen as one that could make or break the negotiations.
Previously, India had pledged to reduce Co2 Intensity by 20 % by 2020 as compared to levels in 2005, changing the game to reflect India’s renewed stance on climate change. While keeping a part of the pledge, India formally submitted it national contribution for the Paris Climate Conference.
Despite, the Indian government’s top priorities being social and economic development and poverty alleviation, submission to reduce emissions at the Paris Conference was seen as India’s
conscious effort to ensure constructive climate talks on a global level.
One of the primary reasons why India’s role in climate stability was considered an integral one was because the country of 1.2 billion people was likely to join the list of top emitters with its growing development efforts and access of a larger population to electricity.
In the recent past, India has taken exceptional measures to ensure that as a country it is contributing to minimize the impact its development plans might have on the environment.
The Indian government recently became part of a solar power alliance that aims to shift energy dependency on solar power production.
The country aims to fulfil 40 % of its energy needs through renewable resources and has also targeted to develop 100 GW of solar power capacity. The country has also set a target to develop 100 GW of solar power capacity by 2022.
Earlier, India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests shared 20 initiatives that are being undertaken to address the climate’s impact on the country, steps which will eventually become part of India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change. These initiatives will eradicate 11% of India’s emissions.
India is also actively pursuing initiatives such as the Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency to improve the use of energy across sectors by setting energy standards for vehicles, buildings and appliances and other mechanisms of tax exemptions and insurance funds to curb emissions.
India’s unwavering stance on the climate change responsibility remained consistent at the Paris Conference as it continued to insist on the notion that each country has a different responsibility towards climate preservation, with developed countries playing a more aggressive role as opposed to developing countries.
With its stringent stance on differentiation, India deemed the accord to be a success despite the stark difference of opinion between developed and developing countries. Yet India closed the accord on a positive note, believing that the pact unanimously adopts climatic justice for society. The Indian delegation also confirmed that the broader aims of the nation will remain intact.
The Paris agreement is being considered a victory for humanity and the environment and a step forward for collaboration between countries.
In wake of the climate emergency, the Paris Climate Conference was the first instance where every country in the world actively pledged to curb emissions in order to collectively combat climate change both internationally and domestically.
The 196 countries present at the Conference agreed to aim at capping the global temperature rise below 2 degrees. They agreed to strive and achieve temperature levels of 1.5 degrees, keeping countries like Africa, island based states and underdeveloped countries in mind. The countries submitted their national contributions which they will reduce in order secure optimal climate conditions.
Moreover, governments agreed to scale up finances, mobilizing 92 billion Euros a year from 2020 to help the developing world cope with the changing climate. The Accord also confirmed technological support and capacity building to mitigate the risk of climate change, especially of vulnerable nations, with the UN assisting member states to achieve the mammoth task of overcoming climatic devastation.
The conference acted as a platform where a framework for carbon emission reduction after 2020 was mutually agreed upon by participating countries. The accord’s highlights included the acceptance of the notion that curbing emissions is a common yet differentiated responsibility of each country. It has been the unwavering argument in India’s debate over climate change measures as well.