Carbon neutrality is against the interest of Developing countries

Synopsis: Developed countries are using the call for net zero emissions or carbon neutrality by 2050, to evade the historical responsibility. Further, they are using such targets to transfer their burdens to developing countries.

  • Many countries are supporting the idea of becoming Carbon neutral (net-zero emissions) by 2050.
  • However, the idea of developing Carbon neutrality has the following issue,
    • One, the feasibility and efficacy of such a strategy for all countries is doubtful
    • Two, it is against the basic tenets of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC) based on historical responsibility have been the bedrock of climate actions under the UNFCCC.
    • CBDR-RC is also the central pillar of India’s claim for climate justice.
Climate justice in India
  • India is a shining example of climate justice. While the rich were nudged to move towards sustainable living. The poor on the other hand, were provided with safety nets to fight climate change.
  • The climate sensitivity principle was introduced in domestic policies through interventions like energy for all, housing for all, health insurance, and crop insurance.
  • Further, the mission “Clean India” and “give it up” campaigns also aim towards Climate Justice. Also, the efforts to popularise yoga and sustainable lifestyle practices will ensure climate justice to the vulnerable and poor sections.
How developed countries are deferring their climate justice responsibilities?

Aristotle has distinguished three forms of justice, namely distributive, commutative and corrective. An assessment of climate justice based on these three aspects of justice reveals the following,

First, Distributive justice. It says resources should be distributed in terms of principles of equality, equity, and merit. In the context of Carbon neutrality, the current efforts made by developed countries do not ensure Distributive climate justice. This is for the following reasons,

  1. One, industrialization in the developed countries is responsible for a large part of climate change issues. However, people of the developing countries are suffering disproportionately more from its impacts,
  2. Two, while the developed countries have used much of the carbon space for their development, they are arguing to cut their emissions emanating from even basic needs of the developing countries.
  3. Three, according to Climate Action Tracker reports, the climate action of major developed countries is incompatible with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  4. Therefore, to ensure distributive climate justice the global communities need to ensure ambitious climate action by developed countries in the near term.

The second, Commutative justice. It refers to the honoring of past commitments such as agreements or commitments, and other kinds of social contracts in good faith. In the context of Carbon neutrality, the current efforts made by developed countries do not ensure Commutative climate justice. It is because of the following reasons,

  1. One, the second commitment period of  Kyoto Protocol commits developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 18 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2020. However, it entered into force just one day before its expiry.
  2. Two, the effort made by developed countries to deliver finance, technology transfer, and capacity-building support to developing countries is also ineffective. They have failed to mobilise at least $100 billion per year by 2020 that they agreed for.

Third, corrective justice. It means efforts made to correct the wrongs. Based on this, developed countries need to repay the climate debt by taking greater responsibility in mitigation. Further, they should also provide finance, technology and capacity-building support. However, the developed countries are not talking about corrective actions. Instead, they are now focussing on a new concept like Carbon neutrality.

Source: Indian Express

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