Climate talks as shortchanging international law

Source: The post is based on the following articles

“Climate talks as shortchanging international law” published in The Hindu on 6th November 2022.

“Climate finance must take centre-stage in global action” published in the Livemint on 6th November 2022.

Syllabus: GS – 3 – Climate Change.

Relevance: About the climate negotiations.

News: In the climate negotiations areas of interest to developing countries are not covered or sparsely covered, while other areas are over-regulated. For instance, in COP27, there seems to be a concerted effort to fraudulently change the basic structure of the Climate Treaty.

Must read: Climate Reparation: Loss and Damage – Explained, pointwise
What are the problems with the current climate negotiation process?

Not enough awareness among developed countries: Citizens in developed countries are not even aware that two-thirds of their national emissions of carbon dioxide come from their diet, transport, and residential and commercial sectors. All these together constitute the major share of the developed country’s GDP.

Ignores global well-being: Global well-being will require a) Urbanisation of the developing country’s population, b) Fossil fuels for infrastructure and energy needs of developing countries to achieve global well-being.

Need essential supplies which emit CO2: The developing countries need vast quantities of cement and steel for infrastructure as they urbanise.

Does not address the dilemma of developing countries: Developing countries such as India are both victims and perpetrators of Climate Change. In such a scenario, separating their roles, especially in the context of financing is complicated. For instance, many nations have suggested that India and China should be part of the contributing list of nations to the L&D fund.

Read more: COP27 agreement on loss and damage is significant, but the meeting did not address several other pressing issues
How the climate treaty failed to bring equitable climate negotiation?

The objective of the Climate Treaty is to avoid a concentration of cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide, prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system and enable sustainable economic development. But the treaty failed to bring equitable climate negotiation because,

-The negotiation process adopted a manner that rejected historical responsibility for a continuing problem and shifted the burden to China and India.

-The agenda was set around globalised material flows and not about the wasteful use of energy.

-Public finance is used as a means to secure a political objective, and not to solve the problem. For instance, the $100 billion mitigation and adaptation fund promised in Paris has not materialised. Meanwhile, estimates suggest that about $200 billion a year is needed now and that will rise to about $300 billion a year by 2030.

In such a situation, new funding for ‘Loss and Damage’ will be from a “mosaic of solutions”, constituting a breach of trust.

Longer-term trend has been ignored: Asia’s emissions with half the world’s population will rise to 40% in 2035. This will create pressures to further reduce emissions and displace their human rights.

-In Glasgow, in 2021, negotiators zeroed in on coal to reduce future emissions. This ignored the key finding of the IPCC on the centrality of the carbon budget.

Note: Carbon budgets can be estimated accurately from climate models. They are the most useful for the policy as they couple the climate with the economy.

-In the recent COP27, there has been no consensus on the obligation of industrial countries to compensate vulnerable countries for loss and damage fund.

Read more: Loss and Damage decisions, pitfalls and promises
What India can do to mitigate climate change when climate negotiations are poor?

India should a) Combine technology transfers and soft loans from multi-lateral institutions, b) Adopt market solutions for climate actions, c) Carefully design cess schemes to discourage GHG emissions, d) Improve the domestic fuel economy, e) Accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles, f) Levy a carbon tax at the point of emission, and g) Raise the economy’s overall energy efficiency.

On moral grounds, India can contribute to the L&D fund in a gradually increasing manner.

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