7 PM | Climate for action: On UN Climate Action Summit | 25th September, 2019

Context: Fight against climate change.

More in News:

  • UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called leaders at UN Climate Action Summit with concrete, realistic plans to enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020, in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050.
  • India’s renewable energy target will be increased to 450 GW, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change:

  • The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994. The 197 countries that have ratified the Convention are called Parties to the Convention.
  • The UNFCCC is a “Rio Convention”, one of three adopted at the “Rio Earth Summit” in 1992.
  • Its sister Rio Conventions are the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention to Combat Desertification. The three are intrinsically linked.

Paris Agreement:

  • At COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015, Parties to the UNFCCC reached a landmark agreement to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future.
  • The Paris Agreement builds upon the UNFCCC and for the first time brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so. As such, it charts a new course in the global climate effort.
  • The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • It also aims to increase the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change, and at making finance flows consistent with a low GHG emissions and climate-resilient pathway.
  • To reach these ambitious goals, appropriate mobilization and provision of financial resources, a new technology framework and enhanced capacity-building is to be put in place, thus supporting action by developing countries and the most vulnerable countries, in line with their own national objectives.
  • The Agreement also provides for an enhanced transparency framework for action and support.
  • The Paris Agreement requires all Parties to put forward their best efforts through “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs) and to strengthen these efforts in the years ahead.

India’s INDCs:

  • To put forward and further propagate a healthy and sustainable way of living based on traditions and values of conservation and moderation.
  • To adopt a climate friendly and a cleaner path than the one followed hitherto by others at corresponding level of economic development.
  • To reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 level.
  • To achieve about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from nonfossil fuel based energy resources by 2030 with the help of transfer of technology and low cost international finance including from Green Climate Fund (GCF).
  • To create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
  • To better adapt to climate change by enhancing investments in development programmes in sectors vulnerable to climate change, particularly agriculture, water resources, Himalayan region, coastal regions, health and disaster management.
  • To mobilize domestic and new & additional funds from developed countries to implement the above mitigation and adaptation actions in view of the resource required and the resource gap.
  • To build capacities, create domestic framework and international architecture for quick diffusion of cutting edge climate technology in India and for joint collaborative R&D for such future technologies.

UN Climate Action Summit 2019:

In order to ensure that the transformative actions in the real economy are as impactful as possible, the Secretary-General has prioritized the following action portfolios, which are recognized as having high potential to curb greenhouse gas emissions and increased global action on adaptation and resilience.

  1. Finance: mobilizing public and private sources of finance to drive decarbonization of all priority sectors and advance resilience;
  2. Energy Transition: accelerating the shift away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy, as well as making significant gains in energy efficiency;
  3. Industry Transition: transforming industries such as Oil and Gas, Steel, Cement, Chemicals and Information Technology;
  4. Nature-Based Solutions: Reducing emissions, increasing sink capacity and enhancing resilience within and across forestry, agriculture, oceans and food systems, including through biodiversity conservation, leveraging supply chains and technology;
  5. Cities and Local Action: Advancing mitigation and resilience at urban and local levels, with a focus on new commitments on low-emission buildings, mass transport and urban infrastructure; and resilience for the urban poor;
  6. Resilience and Adaptation: advancing global efforts to address and manage the impacts and risks of climate change, particularly in those communities and nations most vulnerable.

In addition, there are three additional key areas:

  1. Mitigation Strategy: to generate momentum for ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and long-term strategies to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  2. Youth Engagement and Public Mobilization: To mobilize people worldwide to take action on climate change and ensure that young people are integrated and represented across all aspects of the Summit, including the six transformational areas.
  3. Social and Political Drivers: to advance commitments in areas that affect people’s well-being, such as reducing air pollution, generating decent jobs, and strengthening climate adaptation strategies and protect workers and vulnerable groups.

Highlights from PM Modi’s speech at UN Climate Action Summit:

  • World not doing enough to overcome serious challenge of climate change.
  • Need a global people’s movement to bring about behavioural change.
  • India will spend $50 billion on water conservation in next few years.
  • India will increase share of non-fossil fuel, will increase renewable energy capacity to beyond 175 GW by 2022 and take it to 400 GW.
  • India will inaugurate on Tuesday solar panels on the roof of the U.N. building, built at a cost of $1 million.
  • 80 countries have joined the International Solar Alliance initiated by India.
  • Called for a people’s movement to end the use of single use plastic and hoped that it will create awareness at a global level about the harmful effects of single use plastic.
  • Need is a global people’s movement to bring about behavioural change.
  • India will spend $50 billion on his government’s ambitious ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’ for water conservation, rainwater harvesting and for the development of water resources.
  • India and China, which faced the highest burden of death from air pollution, will reap the biggest health benefits of a robust climate policy aimed at reducing carbon emissions.
  • Calls for comprehensive approach which covers everything from education to values, and from lifestyle to developmental philosophy.

What India needs to do?

Indian government needs to come up with a strong domestic action plan. 

  • National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC): It lacks the legal foundation to incorporate the key national commitment under the Paris Agreement which is to reduce the emissions intensity of economic growth by a third by 2030. India needs to update its action plan.
  • Funding Plan: India lacks funding mechanism for the states to fight climate linked disaster like cyclones, floods and drought. There is urgent need to have a funding plan for it. 
  • People’s Movement: a movement like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to combat climate change is required to make people sensitive about the issue and bring about behavioural changes.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/climate-for-action/article29502367.ece

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