Climate Change


Climate Change phenomenon and Associated initiatives

Climate Change is an issue concerning all countries. Due to the increasing awareness, govts. all around are taking steps to tackle Climate Change. In this section, we will provide you with updates related to Climate Change.

Climate Change updates/news

“Costs of Climate Change in India Report”: India may lose 3-10% of its GDP in 2100

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What is the news?

Costs of Climate Change in India report has been released by London-based global think tank Overseas Development Institute.

About Costs of Climate Change in India Report:
  • It looks at the economic costs of climate-related risks in India. It also points to the possibility of increased inequality and poverty due to climate change.

Key Highlights from the Costs of Climate Change in India Report:

 Impact of Climate Change: India is already feeling the impacts of 1°C of global warming such as:

  • Heatwaves are becoming more common and severe;
  • Heavy rain events have increased threefold since 1950 and
  • Rising sea levels are posing new risks as a third of India’s population live along the coast.

Also Read: Causes behind natural climate change

Economic Costs due to Climate Change:
  • India may lose anywhere around 3 to 10% of its GDP annually by 2100 due to climate change.
  • Moreover, even if the temperatures are contained to 2oC, India will still lose 2.6% GDP annually.
  • In case the global temperatures were to increase to 3oC, this loss will increase to 13.4% annually.
Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Mahanadi deltas
  • The report has analyzed the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Mahanadi deltas.
    • In these deltas, over 60% of cropland and pastureland is devoted to satisfying demand from elsewhere.
  • The report found that the climate-induced disappearance of the activity around these deltas will lead to an economic loss of 18–32% of GDP.
Increase in Poverty and Inequality due to Climate Change:
  • Rise in poverty: India’s poverty rate may rise by 3.5% in 2040 due to climate change. This equates to around 50 million more poor people than there otherwise would have been in that year.
    • This can happen because of various factors. Such as rising cereal prices, declining wages in the agricultural sector and the slower rate of economic growth attributable to climate change.

Source: Indian Express

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: Environment, PUBLICTagged

COP26 a last chance to fulfil Paris agreement goals

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Synopsis: There are certain issues that need to be addressed in the upcoming Cop26 to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Background
  • The Paris Agreement aims to restrict the rise of global temperature this century below 2-degree Celsius, above pre-industrial levels. And also, to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • But an average global temperature rise of 2 °C, compared to 1.5 °C, would affect 100 million more people.
  • Worryingly, the Climate Action Tracker estimates that countries’ current emissions reduction targets will lead us to an average temperature rises of 2.4 °C.
  • In this background, COP26, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties is set to be hosted by the United Kingdom in Glasgow from November 2021.
  • So, restricting the global temperature rise well below 1.5 degrees Celsius should be the main focus of COP26.

Read Also :-Important of Stepping Up National Climate Action Plans .

Steps taken by India to mitigate climate change
What areas should Cop26 focus on?
  • One, achieving Net-zero emissions. CoP26 leaders should push for a global action to reach net-zero emission by the middle of this century. Ambitious short-term targets backed up by a net-zero target will lead to a low carbon future.
  • Two, addressing the issues of communities most vulnerable to climate change. CoP26 leaders should address, plan and deliver for the communities most vulnerable to climate change. Flood defences, warning systems and other vital efforts to minimise, the loss and damage caused by climate change should be worked out. India’s CDRI initiative is a step in the right direction.
  • Third, Climate Finance. The CoP26 leaders should convince developed countries to deliver the $100 billion they promised annually to support developing countries. Right flow of finance and technology will help to meet the needs of developing countries such as India in their transition.
  • Fourth, building consensus among governments, international collaboration, businesses and civil society Partnership are key to achieve the Paris agreement goals.

Source: The Hindu


 

 

Progress on Paris Climate Change Agreement: In India and world

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, CURRENT AFFAIRS, PUBLICTagged

Human-induced global warming causes over a third of “heat-related deaths”: Study

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What is the News?

According to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, more than one-third of the world’s heat-related deaths between 1991 and 2018 are due to global warming.

Key Findings of the study:
  • Between 1991 and 2018, more than a third (37%) of all deaths in which heat played a role were due to human-induced global warming,
  • Region-Wise: The highest percentage of heat-related deaths due to global warming was in Southern and Western Asia (Iran and Kuwait), south-east Asia (the Philippines and Thailand) and Central and South America.
  • Country Wise: The heat-related deaths due to human-induced global warming was between 35 and 39% in the United States, Australia, France, Britain and Spain. This was roughly in line with the average across all countries.
About the Study:
  • The study was led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) alongside the University of Bern within the Multi-Country Multi-City(MCC) Collaborative Research Network.
  • The researchers analysed the data from 732 locations in 43 countries around the world from 1991-2018. They calculated the contribution of human-induced climate change in increasing mortality risks due to heat.
  • However, the study was limited to the warm season, defined as the four warmest consecutive months in each location. This is to focus on heat-related mortality alone.
  • Moreover, there were limitations of the study. There is a lack of empirical data from large parts of Africa and South Asia which are known to be especially vulnerable to extreme heat deaths.
  • The study has supported the urgent need for more ambitious mitigation and adaptation strategies to minimise public health impacts of climate change.

Source: Down To Earth

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: Environment, PUBLICTagged

World Bank report highlights the role of “Black Carbon” in the Himalayas

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What is the News?

The World Bank has released a report titled “Glaciers of the Himalayas, Climate Change, Black Carbon and Regional Resilience”.

About the Report:

  • The report studies the impact of Black Carbon (BC) on Glacier melting. It covers the Himalaya, Karakoram and Hindu Kush (HKHK) mountain ranges.
  • In the end, it concludes that managing Black Carbon emissions in South Asia has the potential not only to achieve global and regional climate benefits but will also lead to other valuable advantages like improved air quality and energy security.
Himalaya, Karakoram and Hindu Kush (HKHK) mountain region
  • The glaciers in the HKHK mountain ranges, containing almost 55000 glaciers. They store more freshwater than any region outside the North and South Poles.
  • Their ice reserves feed into three major river basins in South Asia—the Indus, Ganges, and the Brahmaputra. These rivers are home to 750 million people.
Key findings of the report:
  • South Asian countries can reduce BC deposition in the region by 23% by implementing policies currently in place. It can further reduce to an additional 50% by implementing new policies that are currently feasible.
  • Glaciers in the Himalaya, Karakoram and Hindu Kush (HKHK) mountain ranges are melting faster than the global average ice mass.
  • Even with all existing measures, water from glacier melt is still projected to increase in absolute volume by 2040, with impacts on downstream activities and communities.
Reasons for Glacier Melting:
  • Climate change: One major reason for the accelerating glacier melt is climate change, which is altering the patterns of temperature and precipitation.
  • Anthropogenic Black carbon: A second major reason may be deposits of anthropogenic black carbon (BC). It increases the glaciers melting process in two ways:
    • By decreasing surface reflectance of sunlight, and
    • By raising the air temperature.
About Black Carbon (BC):
  • Black carbon (BC) is a short-lived climate pollutant. It is the second-largest contributor to warming the planet after carbon dioxide(CO2).
  • It absorbs solar energy and warms the atmosphere. When it falls to earth with precipitation, it darkens the surface of snow and ice. Thus reducing their albedo (the reflecting power of a surface), and warming the snow, resulting in the faster glacial melting.
  • However, unlike other greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), BC is quickly washed out and can be eliminated from the atmosphere if emissions stop.
  • Source of Black Carbon in HKHK region:
    • Industry [primarily brick kilns] and residential burning of solid fuel together account for 45–66% of BC emissions
    • On-Road diesel fuels(7–18%) and
    • Open burning (less than 3% in all seasons).

Additional info

Other types of Carbon:

  1. Blue Carbon: It refers to coastal, aquatic and marine carbon sinks held by vegetation, marine organisms and sediments.
  2. Green Carbon: It is the carbon that is stored in terrestrial ecosystems such as forests, pastures and soils.
  3. Brown Carbon: It is a light-absorbing particle in the Earth’s atmosphere that has the unique characteristics of both cooling the planet’s surface and warming its atmosphere.

Clean Cooking Fund (CCF):

  • It was launched by the World Bank at the UN 2019 Climate Action Summit.
  • The $500 million CCF seeks to scale up public and private investment and accelerate progress toward universal access to clean cooking by 2030.
  • Transitioning to cleaner fuels is necessary to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 on energy.
    • SDG7 – Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: Environment, PUBLICTagged

“Climate Breakthroughs Summit” and “Race To Zero Campaign”

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What is the News?

The Climate Breakthroughs Summit is being held virtually.

About Climate Breakthroughs Summit:
  • Climate Breakthroughs Summit is a collaboration between the following. World Economic Forum, Mission Possible Partnership, United Nations Climate Champions and the United Kingdom Climate Change Conference (COP26) Presidency.
  • Aim: It aims to demonstrate progress in critical sectors of the global economy. This includes sectors such as steel, shipping, green hydrogen and nature. It also aims to discuss the breakthroughs needed to achieve a net-zero world in time.
Key highlights of the summit:
  • During the summit, the United Nations made a call for coordinated action to secure global net-zero emissions. UN also demands to fulfil the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels by 2050.
  • Moreover, Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping line and vessel operator, joined the Race to Zero campaign during the summit.
About Race To Zero Campaign:
  • Race To Zero is a global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, investors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery. As the recovery will prevent future threats, creates decent jobs and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth.
  • Objective: The campaign is committed to halving its emissions by 2030. This is in line with achieving the long-term goal of full decarbonisation under the Paris Agreement, 2015.
  • Coalition Members: The campaign mobilises support of 708 cities, 24 regions, 2,360 businesses, 163 investors, and 624 higher education institutions to move towards zero-carbon recovery for a sustainable future.

Note:

  • According to a World Meteorological Organization report, there is a 40% chance of the annual average global temperature temporarily reaching 1.5 degrees Celsius in at least one of the next five years. Apart from that, these odds will increase with time.
  • According to a Nature report, natural climate solutions have the potential to provide a third of the climate mitigation. This is to reach a 1.5- or 2-degree pathway by 2030.

Source: Down To Earth

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: Environment, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged

Climate Change impact on Cave Arts of Sulawesi Island of Indonesia

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What is the News?

A new Australian study has suggested that climate change may be accelerating the degradation of Pleistocene-era rock paintings located in the Sulawesi Island of Indonesia. It is the world’s oldest cave art.

About the study:
  • Australian and Indonesian archaeological scientists conducted the study. 
  • The scientists examined around 11 caves and rock-shelters in the Maros-Pangkep region in Sulawesi Island of Indonesia.
  • These are Pleistocene-era rock paintings dating back to 45,000-20,000 years ago.

Which are those ancient cave arts of Indonesia? Some important artworks include:

  • Firstly, the world’s oldest hand stencil (almost 40,000 years ago): It was created by pressing the hand on a cave wall and spraying wet red-mulberry pigments over it.
  • Secondly, the world’s oldest depiction of an animal (almost 45,500 years ago): The animal depicted is a warty pig painted on the wall.
  • Lastly, one of the caves contains what researchers describe as possibly the earliest known narrative scene in prehistoric art depicting a hunting scene.
Key Findings of the study:

 Salts on Rocks:

  • The researchers studied the flakes of rock that have begun to detach from cave surfaces.
  • It found salts such as calcium sulphate and sodium chloride on three of the cave samples.
  • These salts also form crystals on rock surfaces, causing them to break.
Change in Temperature and Humidity:
  • The artworks made with pigments are decaying due to a process known as haloclasty.
  • Haloclasty is a type of physical weathering caused by the growth of salt crystals. It occurs due to repeated changes in temperature and humidity, caused by alternating wet and dry weather in the region.

Natural Disasters:

  • Indonesia has also experienced several natural disasters in recent years, which have quickened the process of deterioration.
Recommendations:
  • Firstly, Researchers have recommended regular physical and chemical monitoring of the sites to reduce environmental degradation.
  • Secondly, preservation efforts undertaken at the French and Spanish prehistoric cave art sites such as Lascaux and Altamira should also be implemented here.

Source: Indian Express

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged , ,

“Beema Bamboo”: A clone of “Bambusa balcooa” can mitigate climate change

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What is the News?

Tamil Nadu Agricultural University(TNAU) has designed an ‘oxygen park’ within its premises at Coimbatore with Beema Bamboo.

About Beema Bamboo:
  • Beema or Bheema Bamboo is a superior clone selected from Bambusa balcooa. It is a higher biomass yielding bamboo species.
    • A clone is an animal or plant that has been produced artificially. For example, It may be produced in a laboratory, from the cells of another animal or plant. A clone is exactly the same as the original animal or plant.
  • Developed by: It has been developed by N Bharathi of Growmore Biotech Ltd, the agri-technology company based at Hosur, Tamil Nadu.
  • The method used: Beema Bamboo has been developed by the conventional breeding method. It is not a product of genetically modified organisms.
Key Features of Beema Bamboo:
  • Firstly, the Fastest Growing: Beema Bamboo is considered to be one of the fastest-growing plants. It grows one-and-a-half feet per day under tropical conditions.
  • Secondly, Mitigate CO2 Emissions: Beema Bamboo is said to be the best ‘carbon sink’ to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions. Hence, it can be an excellent choice for making the earth greener and mitigating climate change.
  • Thirdly, Permanent Green Cover: Beema Bamboo is sterile. This means it does not produce any seed and does not die for several hundred years. Also, it keeps growing without death. As a result, it is able to establish a permanent green cover.
  • Fourthly, Does not Require Replanting for Decades: It is produced through tissue culture. So,  the culms (hollow stem of a grass or cereal plant, especially that bearing the flower) grow almost solid and adapt to different soil and climatic conditions.
    • Hence, after every harvest cycle, it re-grows and does not require replanting for decades.
  • Fifthly, Diverse Applications of Beema Bamboo: The Beema bamboo’s calorific value is equal to that of coal. Hence, cement industries can buy this bamboo species for their boilers. Further, Bamboo fibre can also be used by the textile industry for making fabric and garments.
About Bambusa balcooa bamboo:
  • Bambusa balcooa is also known as Female Bamboo is a tropical clumping bamboo. It is native to Northeastern India. It is also spread in the regions of Indo-China.
  • Uses:
    • This bamboo species is often used as a food source in scaffolding, for paper pulp or wood chips.
    • The length and strength of Bambusa balcooa make it a useful material for the construction industry.
    • Furthermore, it is a drought-resistant species with low rainfall requirements. It can reach yields upwards of 100 metric tons per hectare.

Source: Down To Earth

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Environment, PUBLICTagged ,

“Global Methane Assessment” :The UN Report on human-caused methane emissions

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What is the News?

Climate and Clean Air Coalition(CCAC) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has released a report titled “Global Methane Assessment: Benefits and Costs of Mitigating Methane Emissions”.

Objective: The report has suggested that the world needs to dramatically cut methane emissions to avoid the worst of climate change.

Key Findings of the Global Methane Assessment Report:

Increase in Methane Emissions:

  • Currently, Human-caused methane emissions are increasing faster at any other time (since record keeping began in the 1980s).
  • Carbon dioxide levels have dropped during the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. However, methane in the atmosphere reached record levels last year.
  • This was a cause of concern as methane was an extremely powerful greenhouse gas. It was responsible for about 30% of global warming since pre-industrial times.
Source of Methane Emissions:
  • More than half of global methane emissions stem from human activities in three sectors: fossil fuels (35%), waste (20%) and agriculture(40%).
  • Fossil fuel sector: Oil and gas extraction, processing and distribution account for 23%. Coal mining alone accounts for 12% of emissions.
  • Waste sector: Landfills and wastewater make up about 20% of global anthropogenic emissions.
  • Agricultural sector: Livestock emissions from manure and fermentation represent roughly 32%. Further, rice cultivation accounts for 8% of global anthropogenic emissions.

Methane Mitigation according to Global Methane Assessment Report:

The mitigation potential in different sectors varies between countries and regions:

  • Europe had the greatest potential to curb methane emissions from farming, fossil fuel operations and waste management.
  • India had the greatest potential to reduce methane emissions in the waste sector.
  • China’s mitigation potential was best in coal production and livestock.
  • Africa’s mitigation potential was best in livestock, followed by oil and gas.
What needs to be done?
  • Human-caused methane emissions must be cut by 45% to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
  • Such a cut would prevent a rise in global warming by up to 0.3 degrees Celsius by 2045.
  • It would also prevent 26 lakh premature deaths, 77 lakh asthma-related hospital visits annually as well as 25 million tonnes of crop losses.
  • Further, three human behavioural changes could reduce methane emissions by 65–80 million tonnes per year over the next few decades. The behavioural changes are:
    • Reducing food waste and loss
    • Improving livestock management and
    • Adopting healthy diets (vegetarian or with a lower meat and dairy content).
Climate and Clean Air Coalition(CCAC)
  • Climate and Clean Air Coalition is a voluntary partnership of governments, intergovernmental organizations, businesses, scientific institutions and civil society organizations.
  • Aim: The coalition aims to protect the climate and improve air quality through actions to reduce short-lived climate pollutants.
  • India is a member of the coalition.
What are Short-lived Climate Pollutants?
  • Short-lived climate pollutants are climate pollutants that remain in the atmosphere for a much shorter period of time than carbon dioxide (CO2). Though short-lived they have the potential to warm the atmosphere many times greater than CO2.
  • Several short-lived climate pollutants like black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons. These alone are responsible for up to 45% of current global warming.
About Methane:
  • Firstly, Methane (CH4) is a colourless, odourless, and highly flammable gas composed of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms.
  • Secondly, Methane is found in small quantities in Earth’s atmosphere. Methane is also a powerful greenhouse gas.
  • Thirdly, Major natural sources of methane include emissions from wetlands and oceans, and from the digestive processes of termites.
  • Fourthly, Methane sources related to human activities include rice production, landfills, raising cattle and other ruminant animals, and energy generation.

Source: Down To Earth


 

 

Pollution in India: Basic and concepts

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Environment, PUBLICTagged

A report on “Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions”: India is the 3rd-largest emitter

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What is the News?

The research and consulting firm, Rhodium Group, has released a report on Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

Key Findings of the report:

  • Global Greenhouse gas emissions including emissions of all six Kyoto gases have reached 52 gigatons of CO2-equivalent in 2019. This is an 11.4% increase over the past decade.
  • The six main gases under Kyoto Protocol are:
    • Carbon dioxide (CO2);
    • Methane(CH4);
    • Nitrous oxide(N2O);
    • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs);
    • Perfluorocarbons(PFCs);
    • Sulphur hexafluoride(SF6).
  • Of the total emissions, China alone contributed more than 27% of total Global Greenhouse gas emissions. Further, China’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 exceeded the combined emissions of the US and other developed nations.
  • China’s net emissions in 2020 also increased by roughly 1.7%. This is significant as the emissions from almost all other countries had declined during the pandemic.
  • However, China’s history as a major emitter is relatively short compared to developed countries. Since 1750, members of the OECD bloc have emitted four times more CO2 on a cumulative basis than China.
  • The United States is the second-highest emitter. The US alone contributed 11% of the total Global Greenhouse gas emissions.
  • For the first time, India has surpassed the European Union and became the third-highest Global Greenhouse gas emitter. India contributed 6.6% of the total emissions.

Source: BBC

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Environment, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged

Climate Change is Shifting Earth’s Axis of Rotation

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Synopsis-According to a new study, loss of water on land is shifting the earth’s axis of rotation. The reasons behind loss of water are ice melting and human-induced factors [such as excessive groundwater pumping].

Introduction-
  • According to a study published in the Journal Geophysical Research letters, Earth’s axis of rotation has been rotating faster than normal since the 1990s due to the significant melting of glaciers caused by global warming.
  • According to NASA, the spin axis drifted around 10 cm every year in the 20th century. It means, in a year, polar motion exceeds 10 metres.
Concept of earth’s axis of rotation and polar motion
Source: NASA website
  • Earth’s axis of rotation – It is the line along which Earth spins around itself as it revolves around the Sun.
    • The points on which the axis intersects the planet’s surface are the geographical north and south poles
  • Polar motion- Changes in the distribution of Earth’s mass around the globe also changes the earth’s axis of rotation and as the axis moves, the poles move as well. This is known as polar motion.
  • Earth’s rotation decreases if its mass is moved away from the rotation axis (From poles towards equators) and vice versa.
Key finding of the study-
  • Firstly, in the mid-1990s, melting glaciers redistributed a large amount of water. It changed the direction of the routine polar wander to turn eastward and also accelerate it.
  • Secondly, the average drift speed rose by around 17 times between 1995 and 2020.
  • Thirdly, the primary cause of polar drift is water loss from the Polar Regions, with contributions from water loss in nonpolar regions, which describes the eastward shift of polar drift.
What are the major factors causing the shift in Earth’s axis of rotation?

Mass redistribution affects the rotation of the earth on and within the planet, such as shifts in soil, ice sheets, seas, and mantle movement. The following are the main forces that contribute to the mass redistribution-

  • Melting of glaciers -Climate change has caused billions of tonnes of glacial ice to melt into oceans. This has caused the Earth’s poles to move in new directions.
  • Groundwater pumping – The excessive use of groundwater has caused changes in groundwater storage in non-glacial areas. Further, it led to polar wander as most of it eventually joins the sea, thus redistributing the planet’s mass.
    • For example- The changes in groundwater mass in areas like California, northern Texas, Beijing and northern India, areas that have been pumping large amounts of groundwater for agricultural use.
Way forward-

The shifting of the Earth’s axis as a result of climate change demonstrates how much active human action can affect changes in the mass of water on land.

Source- The Indian Express

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, CURRENT AFFAIRS, PUBLICTagged ,

At Leaders Climate Summit, Countries Adopted Net Zero Targets

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Synopsis:

At the Leaders Climate summit, the countries including U.S, U.K, Japan, etc. have adopted revamped Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) (under the Paris agreement). This is a step in the right direction, but a higher commitment is desired to keep temperature rise below 1.5 degrees celsius.

Background:
  • The two-day Leaders Climate Summit was hosted by the US virtually.
  • It was attended by leaders of more than 40 countries amongst whom many have resorted to new NDCs targets and climate commitments.
New Targets and Commitments as part of NDCs:
  • US:  It has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 50-52 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
    • The country aspires to attain net zero emissions status before 2050. Also, it committed to double its annual public climate finance to developing countries by 2024. 
  • Japan: It has pledged to reduce emissions by 46 per cent from 2013 levels by 2030.
  • Canada: It has pledged to cut emissions by 40-45 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.
  • EU: It has shown a commitment to reduce emissions by 55 per cent from 1990 levels by 2030.
  • U.K: It has shown a commitment to reduce emissions by 78 per cent from 1990 levels by 2035.
  • India: It didn’t announce any updated NDC. However, India reached a consensus with the US over a new India-US Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership. 
    • It aims to mobilize investments in clean technologies for industry, transportation, power, and buildings.
Analysing the new targets of Leaders Climate Summit:
  • The new 50-52% reduction target of the U.S is 12 percent higher than its previous commitment. As its previous NDC worked out to a 38 percent reduction by 2030.
  • Similarly, the targets of Japan, EU, U.K, and Canada are greater than their previous emission targets.
  • U.K’s commitments and targets are the most ambitious amongst all the countries.
  • Although the U.S has increased the commitment, it falls short of a 1.5˚C-compatible 2030 target as per the Climate Action Tracker (CAT). The commitment is even short of a  Fair Shares NDC estimate.
    • The fair share of the US is 70 percent domestic emissions’ reduction below 2005 levels by 2030 and a further 125 percent reduction abroad through support to developing countries.
Way Ahead:
  • Firstly, the summit has put climate back on the agenda and forced leaders of major economies to confront the scale of the task ahead.
  • Secondly, the U.S should adopt a  57-63 % domestic target to be 1.5˚C compatible by 2030 as per CAT. 
  • Further, the U.S must adhere to the recommendations of  Fair Share NDC analysis. It recommends: 
    • A climate finance contribution of $800 billion between 2021-2030
    • Use of Special Drawing Rights (SDR) of $3 trillion to help developing countries

Source: DTE

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, CURRENT AFFAIRS, daily news, Daily News Updates, PUBLICTagged

WMO Releases “State of the Global Climate Report 2020”

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What is the News?

The World Meteorological Organization(WMO) has released its annual State of the Global Climate Report 2020.

Key Findings of annual State of the Global Climate Report 2020:
  • Temperature: 2020 was one of the three warmest years on record, despite a cooling La Niña. The other two warmest years were 2016 and 2019.
    • Moreover, the six years since 2015 have been the warmest on record. Further, 2011-2020 was the warmest decade on record.
  • Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic: Extreme weather combined with COVID-19 is a double blow for millions of people in 2020. However, the pandemic-related economic slowdown failed to slow down climate change and its impacts.
  • Greenhouse Gases: Concentrations of the major greenhouse gases continued to increase in 2019 and 2020 despite a temporary reduction in emissions in 2020 due to the COVID-19 response.
  • Oceans: In 2020, the oceans had the highest heat content on the record. Over 80% of the ocean services area experienced at least one marine heatwave in 2020.
  • Sea-level rise: Sea level has recently been rising at a higher rate partly due to the increased melting of the ice sheets.
  • Arctic Region: In 2020, the Arctic sea-ice extent came down to second-lowest on record.
  • Antarctica Region: Antarctic ice sheet has exhibited a strong mass loss trend since the late 1990s. This trend accelerated around 2005.
Findings Related to India:
  • India experienced one of its wettest monsoons since 1994, with a seasonal surplus of 9% that led to severe floods and landslides.
  • Cyclone Amphan which hit Kolkata in May 2020 was the costliest tropical cyclone for the North Indian Ocean region. It brought about an estimated loss of USD 14 billion.
About World Meteorological Organization (WMO):
  • WMO is an intergovernmental organization established by the ratification of the WMO Convention in 1950.
  • Origin: WMO originated from the International Meteorological Organization(IMO) which was established after the 1873 Vienna International Meteorological Congress.
  • Members: 193 Member States and Territories. India is one of the members.
  • Significance: It is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN).
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.

Source: Down To Earth

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Environment, Factly: IR, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

Important of Stepping Up National Climate Action Plans

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Synopsis: Governments must effectively step up their national climate action plans. There is an opportunity to bring consensus for that in the upcoming Leaders’ Summit hosted by the United States.

Introduction 

It is time for bold climate action. We need to limit global heating to 1.5 degrees Celsius to stop the climate crisis from becoming a permanent disaster.

  • There is a need to reach net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases by mid-century. Every country, city, business, and the financial institution needs to join this league and adopt solid plans for reaching net-zero.
  • The governments should be able to match this long-term ambition with solid actions to re-engineer our future.
  • Under the Paris Agreement, all countries are committed to set their own national climate action plans and strengthen them every five years. To achieve them, decisive and effective actions are required.
What actions should be taken?

The new national plans must reduce global greenhouse gas pollution by at least 45 percent by 2030. Clearer policies should be set up to adapt to the effects of climate change and lift access to renewable energy. 

  • Firstly, governments must step up their ambitions, mainly the biggest-emitting countries. Removing coal from the electricity sector is a very important step to achieve the 1.5-degree goal. 
    • Global coal use in electricity production must reduce by 80 percent below 2010 levels by 2030. This means developed nations have to phase out coal by 2030 and other countries must do this by 2040.
  • Secondly, no new coal plants should be built anywhere. One-third of the global coal task force is more costly to run than building new renewables and storage. COP26 must indicate an end to coal.
  • Thirdly, workers in affected industries and the informal sector should be supported as they switch jobs. Women and girls must be supported to drive transformation.
  • Fourthly, the developed nations should commit to provide and assemble $100 billion yearly by: 
    • Doubling current levels of climate finance.
    • Devoting half of all climate finance to adaptation.
    • Stopping the international funding of coal.
    • Shifting subsidies from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
  • Fifthly, the G7 Summit in June provides an opportunity for the world’s richest nations to step up the needed financial commitments. It will confirm the success of COP26.
  • Lastly, the decision-makers everywhere have an important role to play. By COP26, all multilateral and national developments banks must have clear policies in place to fund the COVID recovery and change into strong economies in developing countries.
    •  This should be done taking into account crippling debt levels and huge pressures on national budgets.

Source: click here

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PM Addressed “Leaders Summit on Climate”

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The Prime Minister of India has addressed the Leaders Summit on Climate virtually.

 About Leaders Summit on Climate:
  • Leaders Summit on Climate is a conference hosted by the United States(US) President on Earth Day.
  • The summit coincides with the fifth anniversary of the opening of the Paris Agreement on climate change for signature.
  • Further, the summit is also a precursor to the United Nations Climate Change Conference(COP26) that will take place later this year in Glasgow.

Objectives of the Summit: The summit brings together 40 leaders of major economies. Its main objectives are:

  • Firstly, to get the world’s major economies to reduce emission in this decade while also getting the public and private sector involvement.
  • Secondly, to see how climate action can have economic and social benefits.
  • Thirdly, to use the technology available to reduce emissions and adapt to Climate Change.
  • Fourthly, to use nature-based solutions to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
Key Takeaways from the Summit:
  • India has taken steps on clean energy, energy efficiency, afforestation and bio-diversity. That is why it is among the few countries whose Nationally Determined Contributions(NDCs) are 2-degree-Celsius compatible.
  • India’s per capita carbon footprint is 60% lower than the global average. It is because India’s lifestyle is still rooted in sustainable traditional practices.

India-U.S. climate and clean energy Agenda 2030 partnership:

  • India-U.S. climate and clean energy Agenda 2030 Partnership was announced at this Leaders Summit on Climate.
  • Goals of the Partnership:
    • Firstly, to mobilise finance and speed clean energy deployment;
    • Secondly, to demonstrate and scale innovative clean technologies needed to decarbonise sectors including industry, transportation, power, and buildings.
    • Thirdly, to build capacity to measure, manage and adapt to the risks of climate-related impacts.
  • Tracks: The partnership will proceed along two main tracks: the strategic clean energy partnership and the climate action and finance mobilisation dialogue, which will build on and subsume a range of existing processes.
Commitments by US:
  • The United States has announced its target to achieve a 50-52% reduction from 2005 levels in economy-wide net greenhouse gas pollution in 2030.
  • This will be the US new Nationally Determined Contribution(NDCs) under the Paris Agreement.

Source: The Hindu

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Short Term Targeted Approach to Achieve Net Zero Emissions Target

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Synopsis: India needs to follow a sector-wise Short term targeted approach with a focus on achieving short-term targets. Rather than admitting the long-term goal of achieving Net Zero Emissions Target by 2050.

Background
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1.5 °C report called for global carbon emissions to reach net-zero by 2050.
  • Presently, the target to achieve the net-zero target by 2050 is strongly put forward as the solution to achieve Paris climate targets.
  • The US will organize the ‘Leaders’ Climate Summit this week, consequently, India is under pressure to adopt a net-zero target by 2050.
Should India adopt net-zero target by 2050?
  • India is a climate-vulnerable country and therefore India must also contribute to limit global temperature rise.
  • However, India should factor in the history of global climate negotiations and its own developmental needs before announcing its contributions. For example,
    • India is still a very poor country with a significant development deficit. Further, India’s per-capita carbon emissions are less than half the world average.
  • Further, India should compel developed countries to reach net-zero before 2050. Since developed countries made use of a larger portion of the carbon space.
How India Could Contribute?
  • India needs to focus on Short term targeted approach of low-carbon development pathways that combine competitiveness, job-creation, distributional justice, and low pollution. This approach will be consistent with India moving towards net-zero emissions.
  • A pragmatic approach towards low carbon development in the Power sector is illustrated as an example below. A similar approach to other sectors can be adopted.
What changes the power sector requires?
  • De-carbonizing power sector will help India achieve its net-zero emissions. Since it is the single largest source (about 40%) of India’s greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Till now, India has focused only on expanding renewable electricity capacity. For instance, 175GW of renewable capacity by 2022 and 450GW of renewable capacity by 2030.
  • But India should also aim at limiting the expansion of coal-based electricity capacity. Coal accounts for roughly 75% of the electricity today.
How to bring about those changes?
  1. First, India needs to pledge that it will reach peak coal electricity capacity by 2030. It would be beneficial for India, since coal is increasingly uneconomic, and phasing it out will bring local gains, such as reduced air pollution, climate mitigation, etc.,
  2. Second, the creation of a multi-stakeholder Just Transition Commission representing all levels of government and the affected communities. This is necessary because the transition costs of a low-carbon future should not affect India’s poor.
  3. Third, address existing problems of the Power sector such as the poor finances and management of distribution companies.
  4. Fourth, India should aim to become a leader in technologies of the future such as electricity storage, smart grids through a partnership with the private sector.
  5. Fifth, India’s electricity transition should couple with job creation and global competitiveness.
  6. Sixth, Enhancing the efficiency of electricity use is important to decarbonize the electricity supply. For instance, Air conditioners, fans, and refrigerators together consume about 60% of the electricity in households. Increasing the efficiency of electric appliances will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions will also lower consumer electricity bills.

    Read Also- Net Zero Emission Principle is not in Line with India’s .

Way forward
  1. Such a sector-by-sector approach can be developed for other sectors to set India on the path toward net-zero emissions target.
  2. Going further, India may even consider committing to submit plausible pathways and timelines to achieving net-zero emissions target as part of its future pledges. It will give India adequate time to
      1. One, undertake detailed assessments of its development needs and low-carbon opportunities.
      2. Two, to assess the seriousness of the net-zero actions by developed countries,
      3. Three, to assess the potential geopolitical and geo-economic risks of over-dependence on certain countries for technologies or materials.
      4. Four,  to develop a strategic road map to enhance its own technology and manufacturing competence as part of the global clean energy supply chain.Source: The Hindu
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National Climate Vulnerability Assessment Report

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What is the News?

The Department of Science and Technology(DST) has released the National climate vulnerability assessment report.

About National Climate Vulnerability Assessment Report:
  • The National Climate Vulnerability Assessment Report identifies the most vulnerable states and districts in India, as per the current climate risk and key drivers of vulnerability.
  • Indicators: Several key drivers of Vulnerability used by the report for the assessment, For instance: 1) percentage of the population living below the poverty line; 2) income share from natural resources; 3) Also, the proportion of marginal and small landholdings, 4) women’s participation in the workforce, and; 5) the density of healthcare workers among others.
  • Participation: Around 24 states and 2 Union Territories participated in the exercise. The DST and the Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation(SDC) organized it jointly.
Key Findings:
  • Firstly, High Climate Vulnerable States: The report identifies eight eastern states as highly vulnerable to climate change: Jharkhand, Mizoram, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal.
    • These states are mostly from the eastern part of the country. Thus, they require prioritization of adaptation interventions.
  • Secondly, Lower-middle Vulnerable States: Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Sikkim, and Punjab.
  • Thirdly, Low Vulnerable States: Uttarakhand, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Nagaland, Goa and Maharashtra.
  • Fourthly, Climate Vulnerable Districts: The report also identifies Climate Vulnerable districts. According to it, among all states, Assam, Bihar, and Jharkhand have over 60% districts in the category of highly vulnerable.

Significance:

  • The assessment will help Policymakers in taking appropriate climate actions.
  • Further, it will also benefit climate-vulnerable communities across India through the development of better-designed climate change adaptation projects.

Source: AIR

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Introducing Green Targets for Corporates

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Synopsis: The government can introduce green targets and obligations on corporates. Adoption of such targets will help the global fight against climate change.

Introduction: 

The massive levels of production, consumption, and disposal of goods and services benefited economic growth. But it slowed the replenishment cycle of limited resources. This is evident from the impacts of Climate Change.

Both the consumers and corporations have to equally bear the growth of large-scale manufacturing and services and their impact on Climate Change. So the loss of resources and increase in greenhouse gas emissions is the responsibility of both the consumers and corporations.

Consumers can reduce their usage through awareness campaigns. But so far, everyone is focussing on sustainable efforts by the government and their policies. But the impact of corporations is neglected. Indian corporations can become a major help in India’s story of sustainable growth by achieving ‘green targets’.

 

What are Green targets?

These are commercial contracts. Under this, the contracting parties set a mandate to cut down greenhouse gas emissions at different stages of delivery of goods/services. This includes all the phases of industry such as design, manufacturing, transportation, operations, and waste disposal.

Read AlsoGreen tax on vehicles older than 15 years – blog.forumias.com

How India can enforce Green Targets?
  1. The government can introduce the green targets when the companies participate in the tender process. During these ‘green tenders,‘ the government can introduce ‘Green qualifications’. This includes a range of qualifications from pre-defined usage of ‘green energy’ to adequate on-site waste management, reducing carbon emissions, etc.
  2. Once the bidding process is complete, then the government can sign a contracting agreement(green contract). Under this, the government can prescribe the ‘green obligations’.
  3. These green contracts are necessary as this makes the obligations binding and legally enforceable for the corporates. Further, these green contracts will vary from one industry to another.
  4. Thus, the green targets can help in cutting down emissions. The targets can provide good quality and energy-efficient infrastructure, reducing noise, air, and water pollution and ensuring eco-friendly means of transportation within corporates like bicycles, etc.
How to enforce these ‘green obligations’ and achieve ‘green targets’?
  1. The government can formulate measurement criteria and conduct performance audits against these ‘green obligations’.
  2. During these, the government has to identify the non-performer. Further, the government has to prescribe penalties for non-compliance with such green obligations.
  3. The government can also make the green obligations trickle down to all levels of the supply chain.

The economic cost of executing green contracts may be greater than normal contracts. But the corporates have to undertake such green targets to attain greater benefit to the environment.

Source: The Hindu


Read Also[Answered] “Contact farming can solve India’s agricultural …

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Challenges Posed by Phasing Out Coal Use in India

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Synopsis:

India is considering a proposal to adopt a net-zero emission target. This demands a Phasing out coal use which would pose numerous challenges. 

Background:
  • The UN has urged wealthy nations to end Phasing Out Coal use by 2030. 
  • Similarly, a private member bill was introduced in Lok Sabha in March 2021. The bill aims to adopt a net-zero emission target by 2050.
  • A lot of debates after this, have given surety of a coal use phase-out in near future
    • As the conversation on net-zero emissions has almost always come after or gone hand-in-hand with a Phasing Out Coalphaseout plan.
Challenges posed by ending coal use:
  1. Firstly, Energy Security: As currently 70% of India’s energy needs are fulfilled by coal. In 2019-20, the country consumed approximately 942 million tonnes (MT) of coal. Out of this, 730 MT was produced domestically.
  2. Secondly, Social Challenges: There would be significant job losses post the phase-out. Coal India Limited and Singareni Collieries Company Limited employ 2.24 lakh workers. Their job loss will impact almost 9 lakh people considering a four-person household.
    • Further, a setback to workers in coal-consuming sectors like power, steel, sponge iron, etc. will also be seen.
  3. Thirdly, Economic Challenges:  In FY20, the Centre alone collected approximately Rs 29,200 crore in GST compensation cess from coal. The revenue from coal allows centre and states to undertake various development activities. 
    • Similarly, 40 percent of total freight revenues in railways are generated from coal. 
  4. Fourthly, Data Discrepancies: This will hinder prudent policy formulation and adaptation plans in the future.
    • For instance, robust data on contract employees working for mine development operators (MDOs) is not available. 
    • Similarly, there is a lack of data for statecraft coal and subsistence coal economies.
      • Statecraft Coal – non-legal small scale coal mines in the northeast
      • Subsistence Coal – small-scale collieries run on village commons usually bordering formal mines.
    • Data on workers’ skill set, education parameters, caste, and willingness to migrate is also not available.  
Way Forward:
  • India must ensure adequate support for people and communities dependent on the sector. It can learn from plans of other countries like:
    • German coal phaseout plan: It seeks to end coal burning by 2038. It also involves an investment of more than 50 billion euros for mining and plant operators, impacted regions, and employees.
    • US’s Interagency Working Group: It is supposed to deliver resources that will revitalize the coal, oil, and gas communities.
    • Canada’s Phasing Out Coal plan: As per the plan, the phase-out will happen by 2030. A Just Transition Task Force has been created for the welfare of dependent communities.
  • The phase-out plan should also ensure social, climate, economic and environmental justice.

Source: Indian Express

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Phasing Out Coal in India – Explained, Pointwise

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Introduction

Coal is the largest source of electricity in the world. Recently, the UN Secretary-General urged wealthy nations to end coal use by 2030. But, about 30% of the primary energy supply of the G20 countries depends on coal. Further, only a negligible decrease in coal use(0.9%) is observed between 2012 and 2017 in G20 Countries. So phasing out coal is not an easy step despite setting Net Zero carbon emission by developed countries. Phasing out coal in India is a bigger challenge than in developed countries.

A few of the International Organisations and few developed countries are asking India to adopt a net-zero emissions target. But it is not an easy step. According to The Energy and Resources Institute(TERI), to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions India needs to phase out coal altogether by 2050. This is because coal is the most important and abundant fossil fuel in India.

According to the 2017 data, almost 94 GW of coal-based power plants are planned(announced, pre-permitted or permitted) or already under construction in India. Further, India also has the 2nd largest coal share in electricity generation globally. This underlines the challenge in phasing out coal in India.

Needs to phase out coal
  1. Climate change: Coal-fired electricity generation accounts for 30% of global
    carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2018.
    According to the IPCC’s Special Report Global Warming of 1.5 °C, a near-total reduction in the use of coal and other fossil fuels for electricity generation by 2050 is necessary to limit global warming to 1.5 °C. So to achieve the Paris climate deal reduction of coal is essential.
  2. Health benefits: Coal is a major and is often the leading contributor to air pollution. Estimates found that coal burning is responsible for more than 800,000 premature deaths per year globally. Further, coal is also the reason for many millions of cases of serious and minor illness. This also has economic implications, like increased healthcare costs and a higher number of lost working days.
  3. Costs: Renewable energy rapidly emerged as the lowest cost option of new power generation. By 2025, electricity generation from new renewable energy infrastructure will get cheaper than power generation from new coal infrastructure.
  4. Energy independence and fiscal benefits: Reducing coal imports promotes energy independence, improves the balance of payments. Further, it can also reduce geopolitical tensions in purchasing coal. For example, India can reduce importing coal and save Forex reserves.
Capacity of Coal usage around the world

China has the biggest energy supply from coal. China alone accounts for nearly half of the world’s coal consumption.

In 2017, the G20 countries accounted for 85% of global coal exports. The major exporters include Australia (37% of global coal exports), Indonesia (16%), Russia (12%). So phasing out coal will impact their coal export revenue and create associated job loss, etc.

However, countries like the UK, Italy, France, the European Union, the United States shows strong commitment and reduction in coal usage due to their policies. Such as pre-retiring coal plants, the introduction of the carbon tax, etc.

The following image shows the share of coal in electricity generation in 2017.

Capacity of Coal usage in India
  1. India holds the 5th biggest coal reserves in the world. Around 7% of the world’s proven coal reserves are located in India.
  2. According to the Ministry of renewable energy, the total installed capacity of renewable energy is 368.98 GW. But still this only accounts for 23.39% of India’s energy mix. On the other hand, the coal sector accounts for more than 60% of India’s energy mix. This shows the importance of Coal in India.
  3. In FY20, India consumed approximately 942 million tonnes (MT) of coal. Of that 730 MT was produced domestically.
  4. India is also the 3rd biggest coal importer among G20 countries. Further, India also accounts for 12% of global coal imports.
  5. According to the monthly production pattern of the Ministry of Coal, the Majority of Coal was used in Power production and Captive Power Plant(CPP).
Challenges in Phasing out coal in India

Phasing out the entire coal sector is not an easy task in India. There are many associate issues involve in phasing out coal. Such as,

  1. Depriving the geographic advantage of resource-rich state: According to the Geological Survey of India, India has 319.02 Billion tonnes(bt) cumulative coal reserves in India. Of these 219.65 bt(68% of total reserves) present in only 3 states.  Jharkhand, Orissa, and Chhattisgarh. The entire economy of these states depends upon coal for other developments. Phasing out coal will reduce their economic capacity.
  2. Reduction in Taxes: In FY20, the Centre alone collected approximately Rs 29,200 crore in GST compensation cess from coal. Phasing out coal will impact India’s tax collection
  3. The economic influence of coal in freight movement: Coal alone accounts for 40 percent of the total freight revenue in Indian Railways and trucks. So, phasing out coal will reduce the revenue of Railways in India.
  4. The impact of Job loss: Using different employment factors, one study has mentioned direct coal jobs at 7,44,984. This figure does not include contract employees, Captive mine workers, employees in coal transportation, coal consuming sectors like steel, power, etc. Phasing out coal in India will create a huge job loss across the sector.
  5. Stranded assets risk: Economic shifts and policy changes may turn coal-fired power plants into stranded assets(non-performing assets). This will rapidly decrease their value, or they may turn into liabilities. This process is already observed in some G20 countries.
  6. Economic Cost in phasing out: Phasing out coal is not an easy task considering the associated cost involved in the transition. For example, The German coal phaseout plan calls for an investment of more than 50 billion euros for mining and plant operators, impacted regions and employees. Similar investment is not feasible in India.
Suggestions to phase out Coal in India
  1. Deployment of clean energy on a mass scale: According to The Energy and Resources Institute(TERI), If India needs to achieve a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target, then the share of renewables in the power mix needs to climb to 90%(From 23.39% now). So India needs to deploy clean energy on a large scale.
  2. Adopting net-zero emissions target: Various environmentalist and even the CEO of NITI Aayog wants India to embrace the Net-Zero emission target. It is important to note that there is also a Private member bill submitted in Lok Sabha, urging the Indian government to commit a net-zero emissions target by 2050. So, India needs to adopt such a target.
  3. Focus on energy efficiency: Instead of phasing out coal immediately, India can move towards energy-efficient buildings, lighting, appliances, and industrial practices. This will help faster phase-out of coal in the future.
  4. The government has to encourage all states and UTs to make their respective carbon-neutral plan.
    • The UT of Ladakh and Sikkim state are already planning such a carbon-neutral plan.
    • Further, at the local level cities like  Bengaluru and Chennai, the Panchayat of Meenangadi in Wayanad, Kerala also planning such a carbon-neutral plan.
  5. Other initiatives like,
    • India also has to develop both natural and man-made Carbon Sequestration practices. 
    • Use of biofuels: Can help reduce emissions from light commercial vehicles, tractors in agriculture.
Conclusion

Phasing out coal is essential not only for India but for all countries. But developed countries that started their Industrialisation by burning coal has to adopt the Common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC) for phasing out coal. This will not only provide adequate time for developing countries like India and Least Developed Countries but also fix their responsibility also.

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India should Ensure Climate Justice in Net Zero Target Debate

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Synopsis: India needs to propose an alternative formulation that ensures Climate Justice in achieving the ‘net-zero target’.

Background
  • Recently, the United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate visited India. Both sides discussed briefly about their cooperation on climate change and strategy for long term priorities and long-term targets.
  • Also, S. President Joe Biden’s ‘Leaders’ Summit on Climate’ is scheduled on April 22-23. This summit is expected to set a stage for major countries to outline their climate plans.
  • Today, climate action to reduce GHG emissions has become equal to achieving a net-zero emission target by 2050.
  • However, achieving net zero emissions have created a dilemma for the fast-growing developing countries like India. Because, these countries need carbon space to develop, and they are also among the most vulnerable countries to climate change.

What are the different views on adopting Net zero-emission targets in India?

  • The debate on whether India should declare a net-zero target or not has centred around two alternative strategies.
    1. One view supports delegitimizing long-term targets and to focus on measurable near-term progress.
    2. Whereas the other view argues that without long-term targets, the path to decarbonization has little value.
Which way to decide?
  • Neither the short- nor the long-term targets delink from the climate action plan.
  • Because a short-term target such as improvements in energy efficiency and fast penetration of electric vehicles cannot substitute a clear long-term target. Also, avoiding net zero emission targets will make India look like a climate laggard.
  • Rather, India should attempt to reframe the net-zero debate on the basis of climate justice. Climate justice ensures that countries are equitably responsible based on their past and future emission.
  • This approach will facilitate economic advancement and climate responsibility on parallel lines without compromising one another.
How climate justice can be ensured?

To ensure principles of climate justice, a formula that combines per capita income and aggregate emissions is required.

  1. First, high-income countries (i.e., per capita income of $12,536 or more in 2019 prices) should achieve net-zero emissions within 15-20 Years. For instance,
      • European Union or the United States needs to achieve net-zero emissions by 2035-40, rather than 2050.
      • Whereas India, which may become a high-income economy around 2050, should need to achieve net-zero emissions by 2070.
      • Even by this method, high-income countries will have a longer transition period between peaking emissions and net-zero compared to India, according to Council on Energy, Environment and Water report.
  2. Second, Countries that are not in the high-income category should aim to reduce their Aggregate emissions (historical emission + future emission) compared to high-income countries. Because this idea accounts for the advantages enjoyed by developing countries to tap into technological advances and cost reductions.
      • For example, India benefited from falling solar costs and was able to aim higher for its renewable energy ambitions.
      • This will also create the conditions for further innovation and investment in climate-friendly infrastructure, technologies, business models, and behavioral changes.
      • As climate mitigation technologies become more widely available and cheaper, all countries will be able to achieve net-zero much earlier.

Countries need both short-term and long-term targets to establish certainty of action, the credibility of promises and create incentives for markets to respond.

Source: The Hindu


What is net zero target? How fair and realistic these targets are?

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Why India should avoid Carbon Neutrality targets?

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Synopsis: India must reject carbon neutrality as it would lead India into a low-development trap.

Background
  • Achieving carbon neutrality by midcentury is conceived as a scientific approach to limit temperature rise by 2°C
  • According to the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit(ECIU), nearly 32 countries had declared their intention to achieve carbon-neutral status by 2050.
  • Many global civil society organisations are persuading all countries, especially India, to make explicit declarations on achieving Carbon Neutrality.
  • Article 4.1 of the Paris Agreement gives impetus for pushing towards carbon-neutral economies.
    • It states that to achieve the long-term temperature goal, Parties should aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible.
    • Since peaking will take longer for developing countries, countries should take initiatives to achieve the removal of greenhouse gas emissions at least in the second half of this century. (Carbon Neutrality might come under this article).
    • Further, the article also mentions that this will be on the basis of equity. Apart from that, it should also aim to achieve sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.
What are the issues in achieving Carbon neutrality?
  • First, the achievement of carbon neutrality is not compatible with achieving 1.5°C or 2 °C goals of the Paris agreement. The current pledges are highly inadequate. For example,
    1. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°c mentions some key points. Such as the World now left with only 480 Giga-tonnes or Gt (billion tonnes) of carbon space for restricting to 1.5 °C targets.
    2. At the current rate of emissions of about 42 Gt of CO2(GtCO2) equivalent per year. The world will reach this in just 12 years.
    3. So, to keep within the 480 Gt budget, global carbon neutrality must be reached by 2039.
  • Second, the commitments made by the US and the European Union to achieve carbon neutrality targets is not compatible with achieving the 1.5 °C or 2 °C goals. For example,
    1. In the case of the US, even if it reaches carbon neutrality by 2050, it will consume 106 GtCO2 carbon space. That is 22% of the total remaining carbon budget for the whole world.
    2. To stay within its fair share of the remaining carbon budget, the US has to reach net-zero emissions by 2025.
    3. Even then it has to owe a carbon debt of 470 GtCO2 (($14 trillion) to the rest of the world.  This is for its past usage and providing a fair share of carbon space.
    4. This is applicable to the EU also. The EU has to reach net-zero by 2033. And the EU owes the world a carbon debt of about $9.3 trillion for its past emissions.
Why India should not join Carbon Neutrality?

India has many reasons to avoid Carbon neutrality. These are,

  • First, India needs to focus on development and its aspirational goal. Though sustainable development is feasible, the question of how low India’s future carbon emission will look is highly uncertain.
  • Second, India does not owe a carbon debt to the world. Further, India’s current per capita emissions are very low compared to the developed countries. Also, India’s mitigation efforts are quite compatible with a 2 °C target.
  • Third, India has a twin burden of low-carbon development and adaptation to climate impacts. So, If India announces Carbon-neutrality now, then it will become a triple burden.

In conclusion, India should avoid announcing such carbon neutrality targets. That too, without making the developed countries liable for their past emission is risky. Further, It will also lead India into a low-development trap.

Source: The Hindu


[Answered]What is carbon tax? Do you think carbon tax can help in reducing air pollution in India? Suggest some measures to reduce air pollution in India.

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Achieving Paris Agreement is the key to save “endemic species”: Study

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What is the News?

According to a study published in the journal Biological Conservation, 90% of the endemic species will face extinction unless the goals of the Paris Agreement are met.

Note: Endemic species are those plants and animals that exist only in one geographical region. Species can be endemic to an island, state, nation, country or other defined zone.

For example, Kolar Leaf Nose Bat is endemic to India and endemic to only one cave in Hanumanahalli village in Kolar district, Karnataka

About the Study:
  • The scientists analysed almost 300 biodiversity hotspots — places with exceptionally high numbers of animal and plant species — on land and at sea.
  • Many of these hotspots contain endemic species that are unique to one geographic location.
What did the study find out?
  • Endemic species are 2.7 times more likely to go extinct due to unchecked increase in temperature than other species. This is because they are only found in one place. Climate change alters their only habitat. So, they are at risk of permanent extinction.
  • According to this study, If the planet heats by over 3 °C, then one-third of endemic species living on land will face extinction. Similarly, about half of the endemic species living in the sea will also face extinction.
    • On mountains, 84% of endemic animals and plants face extinction at these temperatures.
    • On islands, the number rises to 100%. It means no endemic at all.
  • Overall, 92% of land-based endemic and 95% of marine endemics face negative consequences.
  • Some endemic species threatened by climate change include:
    • Lemurs: unique to Madagascar
    • Snow leopard: unique to the Himalayas.
    • Medicinal plants such as lichen Lobaria pindarensis (this is used to alleviate arthritis).
  • In Asia, islands in the Indian Ocean islands, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and the Western Ghats will lose most of their endemic plants and animals by 2050.
  • However, remaining within the climate goals of the Paris Agreement (keep global heating well below 2 °C, ideally at 1.5 °C) will save the majority of the species.

Source: Indian Express

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India’s policy towards Climate change

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Synopsis: India adopted a liberal policy towards climate change in the pandemic era. This might generate significant negative impacts, thus demanding a comprehensive review.

Background:
  • Recently a meeting took place between U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry and PM Narendra Modi. The U.S has shown commitment to support India’s initiatives to combat climate change.
  • After this, a demand has been raised to review India’s policy towards climate change and consider the proposal of adopting a net-zero emission target.
    • It is a situation in which a country balances its emissions with sufficient removal measures. 
Should India adopt Net Zero Emission Target?
  • Arguments in Favour:
    • India is among the top 5 largest emitters of carbon dioxide.
    • An increase in intense storms, drought, and heat waves is seen in India due to enhanced climate change. 
  • Arguments against adoption:
    • A substantial cost would be incurred towards this strategy. It can hamper India’s socio-economic programs. The country needs to focus on millions of people that live in energy poverty and underdevelopment.
    • India is not a legacy emitter like the U.S, U.K, etc. Legacy emitters have a greater responsibility towards climate change.

However, whether it adopts a net-zero emission target or not, a review of the present approach is desired.

Why Government needs to review its policies?
  • The government took various decisions (especially during the Covid pandemic) that will hamper the environment and enhance climate change. This includes:
    • Giving approval to projects that might hamper the environment.
    • Extending the deadline for coal plants to adopt strict pollution control.
    • Drafting liberal environmental impact assessment norms.
  • Similarly, the strategy of imposing a higher tax on fuel prices is not paying a significant environmental dividend. Rather the poor are facing undue problems due to rising inflationary pressures.
Way Forward:
  • India should come up with a comprehensive domestic climate plan before the next UN Convention on Climate Change.
    • It should have reduction targets for every sector
    • It should enlighten the citizens towards the government’s green development path for the next decade
  • Such a plan will induce the biggest historical contributors (U.S, U.K, Europe, etc.) to do more reduction. It will provide greater support to the developing countries. 
    • They should provide more funds and technology as per the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
  • In the meanwhile, India can impose an emission tax on luxury items like air conditioners, big properties or aviation, etc. The collected proceeds can then be used for specified green development outcomes.

Source: The Hindu 

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Net Zero Emission Principle is not in Line with India’s National Ambitions

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Synopsis: The principle of Net Zero emission is against Climate Justice. It needs reworking considering the national priorities of developing countries like India.

Background
  • The Paris Agreement, explicitly recognized that the peak of emissions will take longer for developing countries. It is to be achieved in the context of “sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty”.
  • However, this balance enshrined in the Paris Agreement is being upset by enforcing common ‘Net Zero emission’ targets on all countries.
What are the issues in the Paris treaty?
  1. First, the Paris Climate Treaty does not consider the equity principle. For example,
    • India’s annual carbon emissions are just 3% compared with 26% for the United States and 13% for China.
    • According to the United Nations, the richest 1% of the global population emits more than two times the emissions of the bottom 50%.
    • Yet, developing countries like India needs to contribute equally in controlling carbon emission.
  2. Second, the treaty does not focus on the cause of the problem that is the excessive use of energy for high levels of well-being. For instance,
    • It focuses on physical quantities such as, emissions of carbon dioxide, increase in global temperature, impacts on nature. And It suggests finance and technology transfer as solutions to solve the problem.
    • But the solutions require an analysis of drivers, trends and patterns of resource use.
  3. Third, the recommendations ignore the costs for the poor. It states that early capping of energy use will not affect the growth of the poor.

Why adopting Net Zero emission targets will be disastrous for India?

For developed countries, the peaking of emissions came 20 years after infrastructure saturation levels were reached. However, developing countries cannot adopt Zero emissions because;

  1. First, the development of infrastructure is vital for developing countries. It will contribute to carbon emissions. For example, China’s emissions increased three times in the period 2000-2015, driven largely by infrastructure.
  2. Second, the middle class of developing countries requires infrastructure, mobility, buildings, and diet. There will be a need for half the available carbon space for their development.
  3. Third, India has a young population and much of the future emissions in India will come from infrastructure, buildings and industry. This cannot be altered much if India wants to reach comparable levels of well-being with major economies.
What needs to be done?

India must highlight unique national circumstances with respect to the food, energy and transportation systems that have to change. For example,

  1. First, India should stress on change in dietary patterns of western countries. Consumption of meat contributes to a third of global emissions. Indians eat just 4 kg a year compared with around 68 kg in the European Union and twice of that in the U.S.
  2. Second, India should stress on cutting down the Transport emissions. Because transport emissions account for a quarter of global emissions. For example, transport emissions have surpassed emissions from generation of electricity in the US
  3. Third, India should stress on finding alternatives for coal use. Need to shift focus on renewable energy and hydrogen as a fuel for electrification.
What changes should be brought to the Paris treaty?
  1. First, the Paris Agreement should have changes in line with the sustainable development of countries with per capita emissions below the global average
  2. Second, the verifiable measure should be well-being within ecological limits.
  3. Third, international cooperation to facilitate sharing technology of electric vehicles and hydrogen as a fuel.

Source: The Hindu

 

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Carbon neutrality is against the interest of Developing countries

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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.

Background
  • 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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Net Zero Emissions Target for India – Explained, Pointwise

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Introduction

Globally, the idea of net-zero emissions by 2050 gaining momentum. It is advised by many countries as a solution to tackle Climate Change. So far 58 countries have announced net zero emissions targets.  Together these countries account for more than half the world’s current GHG emissions.

In the next 30 years, they all aim to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and other GHGs.  There are requests from the global forums that India also needs to adopt a net-zero emissions target. But there are other sections of environmentalists not in favour of adopting Net-zero emissions targets. They say that it is unjust for developing countries.

What is the Net-zero emissions target?

Net-zero emission is the method of balancing the greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere by the greenhouse gas absorption from the atmosphere.

In zero-carbon emission, the country will focus on limiting carbon emission. But in Net-zero carbon the country will focus on bringing the net carbon emission to zero.

In the initial phase, the country will focus on reducing human-caused emissions like burning fossil fuels, balancing factory emissions, etc. But, gradually the Net-zero emissions can be extended to the remaining areas as well.

Net zero is not part of the Paris Agreement.

It emerged as a concept in IPCC’s 2018 special report ‘Global Warming of 1.5°C” (SR1.5)’, which said global emissions need to be 45% lower than the 2010 levels in 2030 to keep the temperature rise to 1.5°C above the pre-industrial level.

As per the report, the world must also become a net zero carbon emitter by 2050. To stay under 2°C, it has to be net zero between 2070 and 2085.

Status of Net-zero Emissions Targets at the global level

A number of countries have already set targets, or committed to do so, for reaching net-zero emissions. The developed countries mention this as a step towards the fulfilment of the Paris Climate deal.

  1. All G-7 states (except the US) and 11 G20 members have mid-century (2050 or 2060) net-zero emissions targets (carbon dioxide or other GHGs). These include Argentina, Mexico, the UK, Japan, Canada, Germany, France, the Republic of Korea, Italy, China, and the EU.
  2. Of the 192 countries who have signed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, 65 have announced national net zero targets.
  3. Bhutan and Suriname are already carbon-negative – meaning, they sequester more carbon in their forests than they emit.
  4. Few countries even enacted statutory provisions towards its fulfillment. For example, The UK, France, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. The other countries like  Spain, Chile, and Fiji are looking for ways to incorporate the Net-zero emissions targets under their national law.
  5. 21% of the world’s 2,000 largest public companies have also announced net zero targets as of March 2021. Most countries do not yet have clear plans on how to achieve net zero by 2050, or in the case of China, by 2060. Most projections rely on removing CO2 from the atmosphere by enhancing the planet’s natural carbon sinks or through carbon removal technologies.

Advantages of adopting Net-zero emissions targets

Many developed countries adopted the Net-Zero targets. They all mention the following reasons as an advantage of such adoption. This includes,

  1. Fulfilment of Paris Climate deal: Achieving Net-Zero targets can take countries closer to limiting the global temperature to 1.5 degrees. The developed countries also mention that the adoption of the Net-zero target fulfils the provision “rich nations should lead on climate change” enshrined in Paris deal.
  2. Earlier and greater improvements in human and natural environments, such as biodiversity improvements.
  3. Health and wellbeing benefits: The achievement of the Net-zero target can bring a host of benefits to people. Such as reduced air pollution, reduction in climate change and associated disease, etc.
  4. Greater economic benefits: Early investment in carbon-neutral ventures can attract large-scale economic opportunities in future. For example, the Net-zero emissions target can generate 24 million jobs in 15 years across multiple sectors.
  5. Adoption of clean sources of energy: This will reduce the dependence on fossil fuels, lower energy bills, etc. Further, the Net-zero emissions targets can spur the growth of renewable energy and associated developments.
  6. Other benefits: This includes benefits such as promotion of energy efficiency in buildings, reduced water demand by thermal power plants, etc.
Few major Criticisms and challenges in adoption of Net-Zero emissions target

The adoption of the Net-zero target does have few serious concerns. Such as,

  1. Dilution of Paris climate agreement: The adoption of Net-zero emissions target aid the dilution of the Paris deal in the following ways.
    • Violate the common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC) : As the net-zero targets generally aim to achieve around the mid of this century, the poor countries and developing countries have to take many initiatives to achieve the net-zero targets. In other words, the developed countries can evade their historical responsibility and transfer burdens to developing countries.
    • The Climate Action Tracker report mentions that Even after five years of the Paris deal, the climate action of major developed countries is incompatible with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Apart from that, the report also mentions that only a few developing countries including India, are taking enough step towards climate justice. So the adoption of these targets is to dilute the country’s immediate responsibility and to emit as much as GHGs at present.
  2. Credibility and accountability of Net-Zero emissions: The Paris climate deal itself lacks accountability. Perhaps, this is the major reason for the non-monetisation of Climate finance(100 billion $ annually from 2020(now it is shifted to 2025)). If that is the case, then the individually determined Net-zero targets will remain as targets alone.
  3. Other associated Challenges: This includes the challenges like,
    1. Non-availability of Negative emissions technologies
    2. Impact on employment. For instance: As many as 744,984 people in India are directly employed by the coal industry, with hundreds of thousands more connected through the informal sector. Clamps on fossil fuel-dependent industries would leave millions of workers jobless.
    3. The higher annual cost to the Government as the target demand high financial incentives.
    4. Challenges in developing the necessary carbon-neutral supply chains
    5. Initial high cost of materials and installations, etc
Why India Need to adopt net-zero emissions?

Despite many criticisms, the Net-zero emissions targets have few advantages for India. For example,

  1. IEA (International Energy Agency) findings indicate that the majority of India’s future emissions are supposed to come from things that are yet to be made. This includes transport infrastructure, buildings, industry, etc.
  2. Adopting net-zero emissions will give the country an opportunity to build a cleaner economy. Thereby, India can reduce its oil import bill, generate additional jobs.
  3. Recently, TERI(The Energy and Resources Institute) and Shell jointly released a report “India: Transforming to a Net-Zero Emissions Energy System”. In that, they mention few advantages of net-zero emissions. Such as,
      • Increase in share of renewables:  The report mentions that to achieve the target India has to increase the renewable energy share from the present 11% to 90%.
      • Access to technologies: The report mention by adopting the target India can fast pace access to technologies such as biofuels, etc.
      • Creation of Jobs: Promoting e-vehicles, clean energy, and hydrogen electrolysis can create jobs in the auto manufacturing, electricity, and construction sectors.
Suggestions in adoption Net-zero emissions targets
  1. The focus should be on greater electrification. Further, The government has to encourage using hydrogen as a fuel in industries like cement, iron and steel, and chemicals. Further, India has to pre-retiree the coal plants to improve energy efficiency.
  2. India can impose a carbon tax to offset the tax revenue loss. The government has to start initially with the amount equivalent to the present Coal Cess.  The amount can increase gradually to Rs. 2500 for per ton emission by 2050.
    • The government can use this cess to supporting poor households. Especially for those who are badly hit by the emission reduction strategies.
  3. The government has to encourage all states and UTs to make their respective carbon-neutral plan.
    • The UT of Ladakh and Sikkim state are already planning such a carbon-neutral plan.
    • Further, at the local level cities like  Bengaluru and Chennai, the Panchayat of Meenangadi in Wayanad, Kerala also planning such a carbon-neutral plan.
  4. India: Transforming to a Net-Zero Emissions Energy System report also suggested few important observations. Such as,
    • India has to focus on Energy Efficiency, biofuels, etc.
    • Further, India also has to rely on both natural and man-made Carbon Sequestration practices. 
    • The government has to work on deploying lower carbon energy(wind, solar, hydro and Nuclear) for satisfying the power demand.
Conclusion

The adoption of the net-zero emissions target itself is not criticised so far. It is only the inaction of the country towards the climate deal after enacting such a target that is criticised globally. India is a responsible nation and one of the very few countries performing towards the fulfilment of the Paris climate deal and Nationally Determined Contribution. So, the adoption of Net-zero targets will only fast pace India’s mission towards Climate Justice.

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Working towards Climate Justice

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Synopsis: New Delhi has to control its green commitment to guarantee carbon and policy space for its developmental goals. It will ensure Climate Justice.

Introduction

Joe Biden in the U.S. Presidential elections promised to lead a major diplomatic push to increase global climate ambition.

  • The U.S. is moving back to Obama’s achievement of the Paris Accord and to the Bush days. It is evident by the presidential call to resume the Major Economies Forum (MEF).
  • The MEF was started in March 2009. It aimed to push for a way forward on climate change without attention to the differentiated responsibilities and historical responsibilities.
What actions have been taken to control greenhouse gas emissions?

All the countries are being told to commit to net-zero (Green House Gas emissions) by 2050. China committed to reaching the target by 2060, but they have been strictly told to be there a decade earlier.

  • Firstly, the UN Secretary-General asked the countries to build a coalition for a carbon-neutral world by 2050. Countries representing around 65% of global CO2 emissions have already agreed to this. The UN Secretary-General wants this figure to reach 90% within 2021.
  • Secondly, the implementation of these plans will be subject to international reviews and verification. India can easily be the focus of this dialogue because of its huge population and one of the world’s largest economies.
  • Thirdly, the EU might impose carbon border taxes on those who do not take on high carbon cut-down targets. This could add to the challenges of this proposed global goal.
  • Fourthly, the U.S. Administration appears uncertain on these border taxes, but this possibility cannot be ruled out. In such a situation, World Trade Organization rules that currently exclude the use of charges on environmental grounds will surely get modified.
What is the idea suggested by Raghuram Rajan?

The lack of money is a constant issue in the climate discourse. Raghuram Rajan has recently put forward a proposal for India to consider. It asks countries to pay into a global fund amounts based on their carbon emissions over and above the global per-capita average of five tons.

  • This step disincentive coal and incentivises renewables. Countries above the global average would pay, while those below would receive the taxes. This method may be unacceptable to the developed countries.
  • This proposal may appear attractive to India as today it has a per capita CO2 emission of only 2 tons. India is a global record-setter in pushing renewables. However, it is unlikely that real politics would allow a major economy to benefit from such fund flows.
  • The long-term consequences of this proposal require examination in detail. Alternatives such as emission trading should also be considered.

However, The proposal focuses on current and future emissions. Thus, it penalizes developing countries while giving developed countries a certain free pass. Because more than 75% of the carbon space available to keep global temperature rise to 1.5° C already been utilized by the developed world and China.

The way forward
  • Climate negotiations are also about global governance and will hereafter be pursued with a drive. It requires India to carefully regulate its approach including on the economic and political fronts.
  • Climate justice is very important for India. It needs to influence its green and pro-nature commitment to ensure carbon and policy space for its developmental and global aspirations. India’s diplomatic and negotiating efforts must be quickly geared to that end.

Source: click here

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Why India should Focus More on Climate Change Adaptation?

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Synopsis- Climate Change initiatives are not working as per their aims. India’s climate policy should focus on Climate Change Adaptation measures instead of emission mitigation.

Introduction

  • The United Nations COP-26 summit is set to take place in Glasgow in November 2021. This conference was originally scheduled to be held last year but delayed due to COVID-19.
  • The COP-26 will be the first time after the Paris Climate agreement concluded in 2015. Countries will be expected to raise their nationally determined commitments they made as part of that agreement.

Target announced by the major economies to reduce emissions

Countries globally are more focussed upon Climate Change Mitigation instead of adaptation, as depicted below:

  • The EU and the UK have committed to net-zero GHGs by 2050.
  • Japan, Korea, Canada, South Africa all have statements of intent for 2050 targets in either GHG or carbon terms.
  • The US rejoined the Paris Agreement under the Biden administration and will achieve net-zero emissions no later than 2050.
  • China has announced a 2060 carbon neutrality target.
What are the Climate Change challenges in front of India?
  1. Present strategies are not effective in containing the Temperature rise- The original commitments to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions might be enough to limit global warming to near 3˚ C by 2100, but it is still not enough to limit it to 1.5˚ C.
  2. As depicted in the data above, the Net Zero target strategy is not that effective. Climate Change is already a reality and India’s population is much more vulnerable. India needs to focus on Adaptation strategies rather than just focussing on mitigation.
  3. US-China collusion on climate policy framing before COP- 26 same as Barack Obama and Xi Jinping before Paris climate summit.
    • Indian interests were neglected at that time despite China being part of the BASIC group. There is a full possibility that the interest of India will not be taken into account this time also.
  4. Financing – By 2020, developed countries committed to mobilize $100 billion in climate financing each year, including a mix of mitigation (carbon reduction) and adaptation projects. According to the OECD, they delivered $21 billion short at the end of 2018. 
    • As per estimates of the Indian finance ministry only a billion dollars in new and additional finance transferred to developing countries annually.
What should India’s stance be at these meetings?
  • Both climate mitigation and Adaption strategies are required. India should focus more on adaptation measures to climate changes. Adaptation and mitigation should be given equal weight if climate change action is discussed.
  • India should highlight the finance component – Developed countries, must keep their pledge to channel $100 billion annually.
  • India needs to implement a new climate change policy to protect its interests and commit to a global climate regime that benefits rather than hinders India’s growth prospects.
  • Delinking from China. India must delink from China and make BASIC a consultative forum only. India needs to forge a coalition with like-minded developing countries on climate change.

India should focus more on Climate Change Adaptation rather than following the Net Zero targets like countries.


Climate mitigation

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An evaluation of India’s actions against Climate Change

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Synopsis: Events like Uttarakhand and Texas demand urgent climate action. However, the actions of India against climate change are not sufficient.

How Uttarakhand floods and extreme events in Texas are related to Global warming?

  • Natural disasters such as Himalayan glacier flooding and extreme cold wave in Texas (USA) are the consequences of global warming.
  • In 2013, glacial flooding caused over 6,000 deaths in Uttarakhand. Melting of the Himalayan glaciers due to increased global warming has caused floods and landslides in Uttarakhand.
  • Further, the decrease in ice cover reduces the amount of light reflected back (Low Albedo) contributing to an additional rise in temperature.
  • Similarly, the extreme cold weather in Texas and the double-digit negative temperatures in Germany this year, are consequences of global warming.
  • The warming of the Arctic-peninsula at a rate almost twice the global average has damaged the Polar vortex. (The “vortex” refers to the counter-clockwise flow of air that helps keep the colder air near the Poles).
  • As a result, the cold winds that are restricted to the north poles were able to move south, causing extreme cold weather in sub tropic countries.

Why India’s response to Global warming is not satisfactory?

India has taken many steps to mitigate climate risks. However, the measures taken are not proportional to the risk posed by climate change, particularly to India.

  1. India is the 3rd largest carbon emitter after China and the United States. Also, India is particularly vulnerable to global warming. For instance,
      • HSBC ranks India at the top among 67 nations in climate vulnerability (2018)
      • Whereas, Germanwatch ranks India fifth among 181 nations in terms of climate risks (2020).
  2. In spite of being highly vulnerable to climate risks, India hasn’t committed itself strongly to climate mitigation measures. For example, While China has announced carbon neutrality by 2060, India is yet to announce its target.
  3. Also, public spending in India to mitigate climate risks does not reflect the urgency to shift towards cleaner and renewable power sources.
  4. Further, instead of strengthening climate safeguards the governments both center and state are diluting it. For example, unsustainable construction of hydroelectric and road projects in Uttarakhand.
  5. Similarly, Kerala ignored the Gadgil and Kasturirangan report on western ghats which called for regulation of mining, quarrying, and dam construction in ecologically sensitive places. The neglect contributed to the massive floods and landslides in 2018 and 2019.

What needs to be done?

  1. First, a significant step would be, including policies for climate mitigation explicitly in the government budget, along with energy, roads, health, and education. Moreover, specific growth targets including timelines for switching to cleaner energy will be required.
  2. Second, the government needs to launch a major campaign to mobilize climate finance.
  3. Third, India’s Central and State governments must increase allocations for risk reduction for building climate-resilient infrastructure. For example, agricultural innovations to resist droughts.

Sustainable growth depends on timely climate action. For that to happen, policymakers need to understand the connection between carbon emissions, atmospheric warming, melting glaciers, extreme floods, and storms.

Issues in the Process of Decarbonization

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Russia’s “Arktika-M satellite” to monitor Arctic climate

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What is the News?

Russia has successfully launched the Arktika-M satellite. The satellite was launched from the Soyuz carrier rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

About Arktika-M Satellite:

  • Arktika-M satellite is a remote-sensing and emergency communications satellite
  • Objective: It is designed to monitor the climate and environment in the Arctic region.
  • Russia plans to send up a second satellite in 2023. This satellite will be combined with the Arktika-M Satellite. These two satellites will offer round-the-clock, all-weather monitoring of the Arctic Ocean and the surface of the Earth.
  • Significance: The satellite will help create more accurate models for compiling short-term weather forecasts. The compilation will give researchers a large amount of new data for studying global climate change.

Source: TOI

Government policies and initiatives : news and updates

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Issues in the Process of Decarbonization

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Synopsis- Grid failure in Texas and flash flood in Uttarakhand highlighted the issues in the process of decarbonization.

Introduction

Almost every major country has agreed to a time-bound, “net-zero” carbon emissions target. They are also in agreement over the steps required for decarbonization. However, it is not sufficient to just set the targets. There are certain legacy hurdles in the way of decarbonisation, such as:

    1. Poorly designed planning systems.
    2. Poor regulatory mechanism for the energy ecosystem and lack of decision-making.
    3. Lack of investment in energy infrastructure.

2 recent incidents, i.e. The Nanda Devi flash flood and electricity grid system failure in Texas highlights these issues.

What is decarbonization?

Decarbonization It is the process of eliminating or reducing the carbon emissions sent into the atmosphere. Reducing the amount of CO2 output is essential to meet global temperature standards set by the Paris Agreement [Net zero carbon emissions target by 2050]. The Following are some steps required for decarbonization;

  • Reduce– Reduce greenhouse gases and use renewable energy sources like solar power and wind power.
  • Use of Electric vehicles instead of combustion engines.
  • Energy conservation- Energy demand should be conserved by reducing wastage and losses and using it more efficiently.

How incidents of grid failure in Texas and flash floods in Uttarakhand highlight the issues in the decarbonization process?

  1. First, lack of preparedness- The planners had incorporated emergency response procedures for cold waves and floods. However, they didn’t prepare for such extremes of weather conditions.
    • For exampleIn Texas- The authorities planned a worst-case scenario based on a 15GW drop in generating power. However, they lost 30GW, which resulted in a total blackout.
    • One reason for this is experts presume every scenario based on historical data. Thus
  2. Second, poor regulatory and institutional mechanism. It is evident in both Grid Failure in Texas and Uttarakhand flash flood.
    • No umbrella authority was present to manage the disaster with responsibility for the entire system.
    • The recommendations made after the Kedarnath floods about land use and watershed management were not implemented.
  3. Third, lack of investment in energy infrastructure-
    • In Texas, the grid was not resilient enough to absorb the surge in the flow of intermittent renewable electrons.
    • India’s transmission system is also not capable of managing the energy transition. The Transmission issue slows down the adoption rate of solar power by failing to introduce green energy to the grid.

All of these factors have negative effects on the decarbonization process. They must be resolved in order to reach the Paris Agreement’s global temperature goals.

Way forward-

To ensure the sustainability of the decarbonisation process the following steps are required-

  • Policymakers need to create robust mechanisms. It will facilitate inter-ministerial and inter-state collaboration within the country and multilateral cooperation internationally.
  • Poorly designed planning systems, inadequate regulatory frameworks, and a lack of investment are all challenges that policymakers must tackle.

[Answered]Discuss the need and significance of NATGRID project? What are various concerns related to NATGRID?

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Clean energy is the key to COVID-19 recovery

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Synopsis – United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) report shows that energy demand reductions mainly impacted fossil fuels. But Renewable energy development continued to grow throughout 2020. This shows that clean energy is key to the COVID-19 recovery, not fossil fuels.

Introduction-

UN-ESCAP released the Regional Trends Report, 2021. The report titled ‘shaping a sustainable energy future in Asia and the Pacific – A greener, more resilient and inclusive energy system’. The report examines the ambitions and progress of ESCAP member states in achieving sustainable energy goals.

Importance of continuous energy supply during the pandemic-

  1. Hospitals and healthcare facilities require continuous energy supply to function 24X7.
  2. Allowing work from home, distance learning and, communication of essential health information status all required uninterrupted power.
  3. Support for cold chain systems and logistics also needs an uninterrupted power supply. This is essential for the proper transportation, distribution, and storage of the Covid-19 vaccine.

How to make society more resilient to future crises such as COVID-19?

  1. Governments should make meaningful progress on SDGs. The government can achieve this by addressing the systemic issues that made societies more vulnerable to COVID-19. Such as addressing issues in health, decent work, poverty and socio-economic inequalities,
  2. Fiscal stimulus packages focussed on investments that support SDGs. This can be achieved by not investing in Industries such as fossil fuels. At the same time focussing more on renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. This will create industries that are resilient to crisis.

What are the advantages of promoting clean energy?

  1. Clean energy will create more jobs. Evidence suggests that clean energy will create more jobs than fossil fuel projects for similar investments. For example, an increase in spending on clean cooking and electricity access will enhance economic activity in rural areas. Further, it will improve the health and well-being of women and children
  2. Low-carbon infrastructure and technologies reduce global warming. This will take a step closer towards achieving ambitious climate pledges, and the Paris Climate deal.
    It is also important to note that several countries have announced the carbon neutrality targets

Conclusion:

COVID-19 crisis has shown that we can restrict fossil fuels and can be more adaptive and resilient. But we should not waste the opportunities of the crisis to phase out fossil fuels.

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Miscellaneous informations in news

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What is “Extinction Rebellion”?

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What is the News?

Delhi Police have named environmental activists Disha Ravi, Nikita Jacob, and Shantanu Muluk, in its report. These activists were volunteers of the “Extinction Rebellion” movement. It seeks to call attention to the climate change emergency.

Extinction Rebellion

  • It was launched in the United Kingdom in 2018 as a response to a report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
  • Purpose: The movement describes itself as a decentralized, international, and politically non-partisan movement. It uses non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to persuade governments to act on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.
  • Logo: The logo of the movement is an ‘X’ with the top and bottom cross. It resembles an hourglass which stands for a warning that time is running out for many species. The extinction(X) hourglass is placed within a circle that represents the planet Earth.
  • Core Demands: The group has three core demands: The Government should “Tell the Truth”, “Act Now” and “Go Beyond Politics”. By that, it confronts the climate and ecological emergency that the world is facing.

 Source: Indian Express

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: Environment, PUBLICTagged

“Hydrogen as a Fuel”: Applications, Advantages and Disadvantages

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What is the news?

In the Budget 2021-22, the Government of India announced the National Hydrogen Mission. This mission will aim at generating hydrogen from green power sources and using it as a fuel.

Read more about Green Energy Initiatives in Budget 2021

About Hydrogen fuel 

  • Hydrogen is the chemical element with the symbol H and atomic number. It is the lightest element in the periodic table. Moreover, it is the most abundant chemical substance in the universe.
  • However, the most common element in nature is not available freely. Hydrogen also exists only in combination with other elements. Thus, it has to be extracted from natural compounds, like water.
  • Hydrogen is categorized by colour tabs, based on its source. We can divide it into ‘grey’ hydrogen (produced from fossil fuels), ‘blue’ hydrogen (produced from fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage) or ‘green’ hydrogen (produced from renewable electricity).
  • Green Hydrogen is specifically focussed upon in the government mission.

Hydrogen as a fuel:

  • Hydrogen is considered an alternative to fossil and other types of fuels.
  • However, Hydrogen is a carrier of energy, not a source of it. Fuel cells are required to transform Hydrogen into electricity and use it. Cells use oxidizing agents through an oxidation-reduction reaction, to convert chemical energy into electrical energy.
  • In the case of Hydrogen, fuel cells combine Hydrogen and Oxygen to generate electricity.  A catalyst, usually made from platinum is generally used for this.

Advantages of Hydrogen fuel:

  • Readily Available: It is a basic earth element and is available in abundance.
  • Doesn’t Produce Harmful Emissions: When it burns, it doesn’t emit harmful substances. The only by-product or emission from the usage of hydrogen fuel is water. It makes this fuel 100% clean.
  • Environmentally Friendly: It is a non-toxic substance which is rare for a fuel source.
  • Fuel-Efficient: Compared to diesel or gas, it is much more fuel-efficient as it can produce more energy per pound of fuel.

Disadvantages of Hydrogen Fuel:

  • Expensive: Although it is widely available, it is time-consuming to separate hydrogen gas from its companion substances.
  • Difficult to Store: Hydrogen is very difficult to store. Its transportation even in a small amount is very expensive.
  • Not Easy to Replace Existing Infrastructure: There is not much infrastructure that can support hydrogen as fuel. Also, cars need to be refitted in order to accommodate hydrogen as fuel.
  • Highly Inflammable: Since it is a very powerful source of fuel, hydrogen can be very flammable. Hydrogen gas burns in air at very wide concentrations – between 4% and 75%.

Source: Indian express

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: Environment, Factly: Science and Technology, PUBLICTagged ,

Green Energy Initiatives in Budget 2021- Explained

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Green energy initiatives are one of the most focused sectors in Budget 2021. India is already the 4th largest country in terms of total Renewable Energy installed capacity in the world. With the help of budgetary allocation and private participation, India has all the chances to be a global leader in green energy. But it is not an easy task as India is also facing many challenges in the implementation of its green energy initiatives.

What is Green Energy?

The power generated from natural sources is termed as green energy. For example, wind, water, sunlight etc. Green energy is clean, eco-friendly and sustainable. Green energy has a very minimal negative impact on the environment and also provides the highest environmental benefit.

Present installed capacity of India:

First, the economic survey mentions solar energy of cumulative capacity of 36.9 GW has commissioned till November 2020. Around 36 GW solar energy capacity is under installation, and an additional 19 GW capacity has been tendered.

Second, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) mentions 38.6GW of Wind energy power plants has commissioned till December 2020. The MNRE also mentions around 10 GW of Biomass-based power plants has commissioned.

On an average, the renewable energy installed capacity till December 2020 stands above 91GW.

Need to focus on Green Energy:

First, green energy will reduce India’s oil import bill. India currently imports 84% of its oil needs. If India enhances its green energy capacity then the oil import bill of India will come down drastically.

Second, green energy being clean and eco-friendly will reduce the level of Pollution in India. Air pollution is the third-highest cause of death if we consider all health risks.  Apart from that, India recorded the world’s highest annual average concentration of PM 2.5 exposure in its air in 2019

Third, India’s international commitments. India being a party to Paris Climate Agreement 2015, submitted its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC). In this India promised to increase the share of non-fossil fuels-based electricity to 40 per cent by 2030. So the focus on green energy is much needed.

Fourth, the failure of global commitments. The year 2020 was supposed to be the year by which developed countries of Paris Agreement were about to fulfil the goal of jointly mobilizing US$ 100 billion a year for climate finance. But it has not materialized. So India has to invest on its own and not rely on the global community as India is one of the most vulnerable countries to Climate Change.

Fifth, current capacity is insufficient to meet India’s target of 450 GW renewable energy by 2030. India at present has the capacity to produce 2-3 GW solar PV(Photo Voltaic) per year. But to achieve the target of 450 GW, India needs to have at least 30 to 40 GW manufacturing capacity of renewable energy per year.

Budgetary allocation on green energy:

This year’s budget primarily focuses on spending on infrastructure development and also increasing the domestic capacity of green energy manufacturing in India.

First, the budget provided the target of 100% electrification of Broad Gauge Routes in Railways by 2023. At present  63 per cent of total broad-gauge routes are being electrified in India.

Second, the budget also has a proposal for the launch of the National Hydrogen Energy Mission in 2021-22. The government stressed on the green hydrogen (Hydrogen is obtained from clean and green sources).

Benefits of Hydrogen:

Department of Science and Technology has released a report ‘India Country Status Report on Hydrogen and Fuel Cells’. That report mentions, “Hydrogen has better combustion characteristics, high energy density, nonpolluting nature etc, and also has vast advantages as compared to the conventional fuels”.

Hydrogen can satisfy India’s mobility and energy security demands. Today, India produces around 6 tonnes of hydrogen. TERI estimates that it will increase to 5 times by 2050. Benefits of Hydrogen will be

    • It can be used as fuel for long-distance mobility. For example, Railways, shipping and trucks etc can use Hydrogen as a fuel.
    • It can co-exist with the Electric vehicle in long-distance travel. As the EVs require charging of vehicle which is not feasible for long-distance travel. For example, 1KG of hydrogen can give 100KM range for a car.
    • Hydrogen can also act as a carrier device to store energy.
    • Like Solar energy, Hydrogen is also cost-effective in long run. For example, the initial investment in solar was 17 Rs per unit in 2010. But today the cost was around 2 Rs per unit or even less than that.

Japan and Australia also focus on Hydrogen as future energy. On the other hand, Germany and Italy are planning to power trains with hydrogen.

The Department of Science and Technology under the hydrogen and fuel cell programme is currently supporting nearly 30 hydrogen research projects in India.

Third, the budget provided for more metro and community transport initiatives to reduce the carbon footprints of private transport. For example, Private financing of Rs. 80,000 crores for 20000 new busses in India and Innovative financing with Public-Private Partnership (PPP) models for the transport sector.

Fourth, the budget also provided for Voluntary Vehicle Scrapping Policy in India. This is applicable for private vehicles older than 20 years and commercial vehicles older than 15 years.

Fifth, more focus on the capacity building of solar energy. For example, duty on the solar inverter, solar lanterns were raised from 5 to 20 and 15% respectively. This will boost domestic manufacturing and deter imports.

Sixth, the government has earmarked Rs 2,217 crore for 42 urban centres with a million-plus population to focus on clean air. The overall focus will be on segregated waste management, handling of construction and demolition debris, stress on public transportation and emphasis on renewable energy.

Challenges faced by green energy initiatives:

First, currently, India imports the majority of its solar equipment from China. The domestic solar equipment manufacturing needs a boost to reduce India’s dependence.

Second, weather-dependent: Green energy sources like solar, wind, etc., are primarily dependent on weather conditions. If the favourable weather conditions are not available, it becomes inefficient and inconvenient.

Third, location and occupation of space: Most green energy plants occupy large areas. Land acquisition in India to implement projects is one of the worst-ranked factors in Ease of Doing Business Report of the World Bank. Apart from that, there is also an issue of the cost of the vast land area.

Fourth, high initial cost: The coal-based power plants require an initial investment of about Rs. 4 crores per MW, the investments required for solar and wind energy plants are even much higher.

Fifth, acceptance of green energy in society: Despite government’s incentives like installation of solar water heaters at home and solar pumps under KUSUM scheme, etc, the penetration of EVs, solar and other green energy initiatives are very low.

Suggestions to improve green energy in India:

First, India needs to promote consumer awareness. The government has to use the techniques like green labelling of products, allow more tax incentives and discouraging consumers from using conventional energy devices etc. The government can also launch a mass awareness campaign in rural India to improve penetration level.

Second, India needs to build the capacity of Green technology and associated industries. But it is only possible with proper land leasing and land acquisition policy, faster environmental clearance of projects etc.

Third, India also has to focus on research capacities. Not only we need to start manufacturing, but also we need to build research capacities in relevant technologies. So that India can be self-sufficient in long run and also avoid staying dependent on other countries like India was depending on China on solar and PV equipment.

Fourth, India has to frame an integrated approach. It should focus on the domestic and international front to get the necessary resources, market access to sell the green products and other essentials required for the improvement of green technology.

Fifth, the collaboration of states is also needed. There are 11 states that have rolled out E-mobility plans. Other states also have to release their individual State plans to support India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC).

In conclusion, an estimate suggests that India has the capacity to extract 900 GW energy from commercially available sources like wind energy, solar energy etc. The estimate can turn into reality only when all the stakeholders (government, private and public) work and contribute towards it.

Posted in 7 PM, PUBLICTagged , ,

“Global Climate Risk Index 2021” – India is 7th Worst Hit Nation

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What is the News?

German watch, the Germany-based think tank, released the Global Climate Risk Index,2021.

About the Index 

  • Data Sources: The index is prepared based on the data from the Munich Re NatCatSERVICE11.  The data is identified as one of the most reliable and complete databases worldwide, on this matter. Other than that, It also uses Socio-Economic data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
  • Functions: It analyses quantified impacts of extreme weather events. This analysis is presented both in terms of fatalities and economic losses, due to extreme weather events.

Key Findings of the report for India:

  • India ranked at 7th Position in Climate Risk Index 2021. It means India is the 7th worst-hit country by extreme weathers. In 2020, India ranked 5th on the index.
  • Monsoon in India: In 2019, the monsoon continued for a month longer than normal in India. 110% of the long-period average was recorded, between June to September 2019.
  • Flooding caused by heavy rain was responsible for 1,800 deaths across 14 states. It led to the displacement of 1.8 million people.
  • Cyclones: There were 8 tropical cyclones in India. 6 of them intensified to become “very severe”. ‘Extremely Severe’ Cyclone Fani affected 28 million people killing 90 people in India and Bangladesh causing economic loss to the tune of US$8.1 billion.

Other Key Findings:

  • As per the report by German Watch, there were  11,000 extreme weather events globally between 2000 and 2019.  Due to these events, over 4,75,000 people lost their lives and economic losses were around the US $2.56 trillion (in purchasing power parities).
  • Top 3 countries: Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and the Bahamas were respectively the top three countries,  most affected in 2019.
  • Top 3 Countries most affected in the past 20 years: Between 2000-2019, Puerto Rico, Myanmar and Haiti were the countries most affected by the impacts of such weather events.

Source: TOI

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Environment, PUBLICTagged ,

PM addressed “Climate Adaptation Summit 2021”

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What is the News?
The Prime Minister of India addressed the Climate Adaptation Summit 2021 virtually.

About Climate Adaptation Summit 2021

  • Climate Adaptation Summit 2021: The summit is being hosted online by the Netherlands Government.
  • Aim: CAS is aimed to accelerate, innovate and scale up global efforts in adapting to the effects of climate change. It will make the world as a climate-resilient world.
  • Summit will keep up the momentum of the global efforts towards climate change adaptation till UNFCCC’s COP26 in Glasgow in 2021.

Commitments made by India

During the summit, the Indian Prime Minister mentioned the following aims of India towards adaptation:-

  • To increase the renewable energy capacity to 450 gigawatts by 2030.
  • Promoting LED lights and saving 38 million tons of carbon-dioxide emissions annually.
  • To restore 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.
  • Providing clean cooking fuel to 80 million rural households.
  • Connecting 64 million households to a piped water supply.

 1000 Cities Act Now initiative

The Initiative has been launched at Climate Adaptation Summit 2021.

  • Aim: The initiative aims to at implementation of comprehensive climate resilience strategies and adaptation measures in 1,000 cities by 2030.
  • To achieve this, the program is promoting a comprehensive package of measures. It includes the implementation of nature-based solutions, urban water resilience solutions, and a transformative capacity building program.

Additional Facts:

  • Global Commission on Adaptation(GCA): It was launched in Hague in 2018 by the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon. But it was established by the Prime Minister of the Netherlands and the leaders of 22 other convening countries
  • Mandate: To accelerate adaptation by elevating the political visibility of adaptation and focusing on concrete solutions.
  • The Commission’s mandate came to an end following its Year of Action in 2020 with its work showcased at the Climate Adaptation Summit,2021. The Global Center on Adaptation will be taking forward its work.

Source: PIB

Posted in Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged

Global Risk Report, 2021

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Why in News?

The World Economic Forum(WEF) has released the 16th edition of the Global Risk Report, 2021.

Report findings are based on the Global Risks Perception Survey (GRPS). GRPS was undertaken by more than 650 members of leadership communities of WEF (World Economic Forum).

Aim: To highlight the risks and consequences of widening inequalities and increasing societal fragmentation,  due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2021 and over the next decade.

 Key Takeaways: 

TOP RISK

  • Top Risk by Impact: The risk posed by infectious diseases has been ranked as no. 1 on the list of risks, while in 2020 was listed at 10th place. 
  • Impact of Covid-19: The immediate human and economic cost of COVID-19 is huge. It threatens to scale back years of progress on reducing global poverty and inequality. It will also damage social cohesion and global cooperation. 
  • Climate concerns: Despite the impact of COVID-19, climate-related matters make up the bulk of this year’s risk list. The report has described these threats as an existential threat to humanity.  
  • Widening digital gaps: Digitalization which was accelerated by the pandemic is widening the digital gap between individuals and across countries. Thereby it is aggravating existing inequalities, polarization, and regulatory uncertainties. 
  • Intensifying pressures on businesses: Businesses under increasing pressures from inward-looking national agendas, greater market concentration, and popular scrutiny and volatility. 

 Recommendations: According to the report, response to COVID-19 offers four governance opportunities to strengthen the overall resilience of countries, businesses, and the international community: 

    • Formulating analytical frameworks that take a holistic and systems-based view of risk impacts. 
    • Investing in high-profile risk champions to encourage national leadership and international cooperation. 
    • Improving risk communications and combating misinformation. 
    • Exploring new forms of public-private partnership on risk preparedness. 

Article Source

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Environment, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

UNEP releases Adaptation Gap Report 2020 

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Why in News?  

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has released the Adaptation Gap Report 2020. 

Key Facts: 

  • Adaptation: It is one of the pillars of Paris accord. It involves increasing capacity and reduction of vulnerability of countries and communities to climate-related disasters. This capacity will be built by national efforts and funding mechanisms 
  • Aim of the reportThe report aims to indicate national and international efforts to advance adaptation. 

Findings of the Adaptation Gap report, 2020: 

  • Finance: Annual adaptation costs in developing countries is much higher at $70 billion, compared to current finance of around $30 billion annually for adaptation. This cost is estimated to at least quadruple by 2050. 
    • Cost of Adaptation includes costs like planning, preparing for, facilitating and implementing adaptation measures. 
    • The flow of funds to developing countries is increasing faster than the cost of adaptation. 
  • Rise in Temperature: The world is heading for at least a 3°C temperature rise this century. Even if countries are successful in limiting global warming to well below 2°C, or even 1.5°C, the poor countries will suffer. 
  • Impact of Pandemic: The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to hit the ability of countries to plan for, finance and implement adaptation actions. It will disproportionately affect the most vulnerable countries and population groups. 

Recommendations: 

  • Along with faster implementation, Countries need to step up the Public and private finance for adaptation 
  • Nature-based solutions – locally appropriate actions that address societal challenges, such as climate change, and provide human well-being and biodiversity benefits by protecting, sustainably managing and restoring natural or modified ecosystems – must also become a priority. 
  • Cutting greenhouse gas emissions will reduce the impacts and costs associated with climate change. 
  • Pursue a Green Pandemic Recovery and increase the Nationally Determined Contributions(NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. 

Article Source

Read Also :ias current affairs

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Environment, Index | Reports | Summits, PUBLICTagged ,

Implication of warming in Arctic region

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Synopsis- Warming in the Arctic region has many implications and the geopolitics is also changing in the region. 

Introduction- 

  • The Arctic has been warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, with higher temperatures pushing sea ice into a loop of melting and thinning. 
  • Since 1980, the amount of summer ice in cubic kilometers has decreased by an estimated 75 percent.  
  • Climate change is increasingly opening up the Northwest Passage, an Arctic sea route north of the Canadian mainland.

These developments will have a critical impact in several sectors, most fundamentally on climate. 

What are the adverse impacts of global warming? 

A warming climate holds important implications for other aspects of the global environment. 

  • First,  it had led to many changes on the planet, such as a rise in sea level, massive melting of snow and land ice, salinity levels, and current and precipitation patterns 
    • Moreover, The Tundra is returning to the swamp, the permafrost is thawing, sudden storms are ravaging coastlines and wildfires are devastating interior Canada and Russia. 
  • Second, Arctic biodiversity under serious threat from climate change- The distribution of flora and fauna is shifting northwards as the Arctic continues to warm.  
    • Increasing human encroachment with its attendant stresses will only aggravate this impact and upset a fragile balance.

What are the opportunities due to opening the Arctic region? 

The opening of the Arctic presents huge commercial and economic opportunities such as shipping, energy, fisheries, and mineral resources. 

  • First, new shipping route– The shrinking of ice on The Northern Sea Route will open new possibilities for shipping companies.
    • The distance from Rotterdam to Yokohama will be cut by 40 percent compared to the Suez route. 
  • SecondRaw materials underground– The area above the Arctic Circle is underlain by sedimentary basins and continental shelves that hold enormous oil and natural gas resources. 
    • The Arctic holds about 22 percent of the world’s undiscovered conventional oil and natural gas resource base along with mineral deposits including 25 percent of the global reserves of rare earth, buried in Greenland.

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What are the challenges in doing so? 

  • First, Navigation conditions are restrictive and dangerous due to- 
    • extreme conditions: ice floes, fog, imprecise charts
    • Lack of search and rescue infrastructure and lack of deep-water ports.
  • Second, added cost of navigation in polar waters – 
    • more expensive shipbuilding and crew training requirements need for ice-breakers, high insurance costs
    • Mining and deep-sea drilling carry massive costs and environmental risks. 

These difficulties may provide a crucial window to work out norms that are focused on balanced and sustainable development. However, the Arctic is not a global common and there is no overarching treaty that governs it. 

What are the impacts of Arctic warming on India? 

The extensive coastline of India makes it most vulnerable to the impact of Arctic warming as- 

  • It is found that rising temperatures in the Arctic region is causing the sea-ice to melt faster than expected, impacting a major ocean current linked to extreme weather events. 
  • The global warming phenomena have resulted in a change in the monsoon onset time and pattern.

How Russia and china using Arctic geopolitics as a strategic posture? 

  • First, Russian priority is to ensure the Northern Fleet’s access to, and passage along, the Northern Sea Route (NSR) from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.  
  • Second, Russia has deployed substantive force and capabilities along its northern border, including through an exercise with China in the eastern Arctic. 
  • Third, China in the Arctic- China’s economic partnership with Russia in the Arctic with a focus on projecting the Polar Silk Road as an extension of the BRI, and has invested heavily in ports, energy, undersea infrastructure and mining projects.

Thus, an active China in the Arctic and its growing economic and strategic relationship with Russia need close monitoring. 

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, PUBLICTagged

Inequality of emission targets among developed and developing world

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Synopsis: The current Climate change policy is designed to favour the interest of developed world over the interest of countries in the process of development, like India.

Background:

  • India, during the Climate Action Summit in Paris, avoided the commitments to cap emissions but agreed on an intended nationally determined contribution to reduce global temperature below 1.5 degree Celsius.
  • Currently, with India’s per capita emissions at one-third of the global average, India is set to meet its Paris Agreement target for 2030.
  • Whereas the western and EU countries which are responsible for the majority of the resources used, and have achieved the well-being of their people, are not committed in the proportion of their contribution to climate change.

Why India’s stand on not committing to cap emissions is justifiable?

Main problem doesn’t lie with the Indian model of development but with the colonial model of Industrialisation and urbanisation i.e., overly resource-intensive and defining progress as material abundance. This model has created the inequality, which western countries are not acknowledging.

  • Firstly, Inequity is built into the climate treaty, which considers total emissions, size, and population, making India the fourth largest emitter, not the per capita emission.
      • For example, China, with four times the population of the U.S., accounts for 12% of cumulative emissions while India, with a population close to that of China’s accounts for just 3% of cumulative emissions, have almost same commitments.
      • According to the United Nations, the richest 1% of the global population emits more than two times the emissions of the bottom 50%.
  • Second, North America and Europe were responsible for half of the global construction material use before 1970s, the share declined after the development started in Asia
      • Reconstruction in the West after World War II led to acceleration of material use, resulting emissions and sharp rise in global temperature around 1970, before growth commenced in Asia.
  • Third, Targets of ‘carbon neutrality’ are not justified for the countries like India, which are already on the path of less energy-intensive development and is on the pathway to reach comparable levels of well-being of the west.
  • Fourth, India is already performing better than the West in certain sustainability benchmark like housing size and density, public bicycle transport and eliminating food waste.
      • For example, the meat industry, especially beef, contributes to one-third of global emissions. Indians eat just 4 kg of meat a year compared to those in the European Union who eat about 65 kg and Americans who eat about 100 kg.
      • Also, it is to be noted that the average American household wastes nearly one-third of its food.
  • Fifth, While the Transport emissions which is one of the fastest-growing emissions worldwide and regarded as the symbol of Western civilisation account for a quarter of global emissions they are not on the global agenda.
  • Sixth, India is under pressure to stop using coal, which powered colonialism, even though India’s per capita coal use for electricity generation is one-tenth that of the U.S.. Also, India’s measures to shift to electric vehicles and eliminate oil has not been recognised.

Way forward

India should push for an alternate 2050 goal in the UN for the countries with below average per capita emission by utilising it credibility based on its civilisational and long-standing alternate values for the transition to sustainability.

The goals should be aimed at well-being of people within ecological limits, Sustainable Development Goals and multilateral technological knowledge cooperation around electric vehicles.

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, PUBLICTagged

Carbon capture technology not on track to reduce CO2 emissions

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Source: DownToEarth

News: According to a report by the International Energy Agency(IEA), progress on carbon capture and storage(CCS) technology from 2010-2020 was not on track to effectively control greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and achieve net zero emissions to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050.

Facts:

What is CCUS? CCUS technology is designed to capture CO2 emissions from combustion of fossil fuels. It can absorb 85-95% of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere.

What is the process?

  • The process starts with the capture of generated CO2 which undergoes a compression process to form a dense fluid. This eases the transport and storage of the captured CO2.
  • The dense fluid is transported via pipelines and then injected into an underground storage facility.Captured CO2 can also be used as a raw material in other industrial processes such as bicarbonates.

Why is CCS crucial?

  • IPCC Report: The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming presents four scenarios for limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius: All require CO2 removal and three involve major use of CCS.
  • Transition to Net-Zero Emissions: The cement, iron and steel and chemical sectors emit carbon due to the nature of their industrial processes and high-temperature requirements. They are among the hardest to decarbonise.CCS can facilitate a just transition by allowing industries to make sustained contributions to local economies while moving toward net-zero.
  • Production of Low Carbon Hydrogen: Enabling the production of low-carbon hydrogen at scale coal or natural gas with CCS is the cheapest way to produce low-carbon hydrogen.

Global progress on CCS

  • Absent from INDCs: CCS is absent from intended nationally determined contributions(INDCs) of most countries.Thus, it is clear that national policies have not accepted CCS as a promising technology.
  • Less CCUS Facilities: As of 2020, there were only 26 operational CCS facilities capturing around 36-40 million tonnes of carbon per year as cost on storage and transportation is one of the major bottlenecks for implementation of CCS.

Indian Government Initiative:

  • National Programme on CO2 Research:India’s Department of Science and Technology has established a national programme on CO2 storage research.
  • ACT Initiative: In August 2020, India made a call for proposals to support CCS research, development, pilot and demonstration projects.This is part of the accelerating CCS technologies(ACT) initiative.
    • ACT is an international initiative of 16 countries to facilitate the emergence of CCUS via transnational funding of projects aimed at accelerating and maturing CCUS technology through targeted innovation and research activities.
  • Industry Charter: In September 2020, an ‘Industry Charter’ for near zero emissions by 2050 was agreed to by six Indian companies that will explore different decarbonisation measures including carbon sequestration.
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CO2 emissions from building sector highest in 2019: UNEP

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Source: DownToEarth

News: United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP) has released a report titled Global Status Report for Building and Construction,2020. 

Facts: 

  • The report has been prepared by the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction(GlobalABC), the Secretariat of which is hosted by the UNEP. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • CO2 Emissions from the Building Sector: The building sector emitted more than a third of global energy-related carbon dioxide(CO2) in 2019. 
  • The CO2 emissions increased due to a high proportion of fossil fuels used for power generation, combined with higher activity levels in regions where electricity remains carbon-intensive. 
  • Impact of COVID-19 on Construction: The construction activities dropped by 20-30% in 2020 compared to 2019 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and 10% of overall jobs lost or at risk in the building construction sector. 

Recommendations: 

  • Buildings and construction sector needs to urgently implement a triple strategy of a) aggressively reducing energy demand in the built environment b) decarbonisation of the power sector and c) implement materials strategies that reduce lifecycle carbon emission 
  • Governments must prioritize low-carbon buildings in pandemic stimulus packages. It should launch programmes that can create jobs, boost economic activity and activate local value chains in the construction sector. 
  • Investors should reevaluate all real estate investment through an energy-efficiency and carbon reduction lens. 

Additional Facts: 

  • GlobalABC: It is the leading global platform for governments, private sector, civil society and intergovernmental organizations to increase action towards a zero-emission, efficient and resilient buildings and construction sector. GlobalABC was a key outcome of the 2015 UN climate conference. 
Posted in Index | Reports | SummitsTagged

India and EU cooperation on Climate Neutrality

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Context: How India and EU are working towards the goal of mitigating climate change and what needs to be done further.

In the Post-Covid world, investment towards greening the global economy has become a necessity so that situation doesn’t get any worse than at present, due to climate change. India and EU are taking many positive steps towards greening the global economy.

What were the steps taken by EU to achieve climate neutrality by 2050?

  • Firstly, to achieve climate neutrality in the EU by 2050, the European Commission has launched the European Green Deal (a new growth model and roadmap).
  • Second, EU has designated more than half a trillion euros to address climate change by 2050 under “Next Generation EU” recovery package and long-term budget.
  • Third, EU leaders have agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% compared to 1990 levels by 2030. Achieving this target will also help them to save up to €3 trillion by 2050.

How EU countries and India has been responded to climate change?

No country alone will be able to deal with the issue of climate change, thus There is a need to foster cooperation with partners from all around the world on the same format as has been done by EU and India;

  • Firstly, with participation of EU countries like UK and France, India has taken several initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance, the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, and the Leadership Group for Industry Transition to tackle climate change.
  • Second, India and Europe are engaged to make upcoming COP 26 in Glasgow on climate change and COP 15 in Kunming on biodiversity successful.
  • Third, Team Europe has assured close cooperation with India on green investments and the sharing of best practices and technologies.

What is the Way forward?

  • Clear targets: International community need to come forward with a clear strategy for net-zero emissions and to enhance the global level of ambition for 2030.
  • Climate Financing: There is an urgent need to mobilize $100 billion to countries most in need, together with the commitments from the receiving countries.
  • Nudge Individuals: Along with good public policies, countries need to foster small individual actions to attain a big collective impact.
  • Collective action: Countries should mobilize best scientists, business people, policymakers, academics, civil society actors and citizens to achieve climate neutrality.

By ensuring cooperation and taking all necessary steps most dramatic impacts of climate change on our societies can be avoided otherwise out next generation will have to bear the burden of climate change and pay off the debt of the recovery.

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Climate mitigation

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Context: The fifth anniversary of the Paris accord provided the scope of a virtual global meeting.

What steps has India undertaken to mitigate climate change post Paris Agreement?

  • Renewable energy targets: Initially, India had set a target of 175 GW of installed renewables capacity by 2020 and a guarantee that by 2030, 40 per cent of its energy needs will come from renewables.
  • In 2018, at the Global Climate Action Summit: PM announced an ambitious plan to make India less dependent on coal and natural gas by aiming for 450-500 GW of installed capacity by 2030 through renewable energy.
    • The target was five times the amount of existing installed renewables capacity of 81 GW. Over the last six years, there has been a 72 per cent increase in installed renewables capacity.
  • Electrification of transportation: This seems to be the most promising sector as transportation systems around the country look set to go electric, including local transportation in big cities.
    • The Indian railways, too, is expected to go fully electric by 2024 with completion of electric lines by 2023, according to the ministry of railways.

What are the various problems?

  • The solar industry: The Central Energy Authority (CEA) published a report on “Under Construction Renewable Energy Projects” which listed 90 renewable projects amounting to 39.4 GW that were facing delays due to several reasons.
    • Out of these, 20 GW worth of projects are facing delays and have been granted extensions of five months due to the impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns on global supply chains.
  • The market for rooftop solar: It was expected to grow to 40 GW by 2022 but has fallen flat with an installed capacity of only 6 GW. The primary reason is once again a poor regulatory environment.
  • Renewables have to compete with the coal industry: Despite significant gains in total installed capacity for renewable power in terms of actual power generation, coal still powers close to 72 per cent of India’s electricity requirement.
  • Financial distress: Another problem is the financial distress of the discoms, which prevents them from modernising plants, as the thermal industry is plagued by inefficient tariff setting, expensive PPAs and unsustainable cross-subsidies.
  • Carbon sequestration: It is mainly done through forest cover and other plant resources. The target of 33 per cent of forest cover remains to be achieved, as Indian forests currently stand at 21 per cent of total geographical area (TGA).
    • Forests are classified in three categories: “Very dense forests” represent 3 per cent of the TGA, whereas “moderately dense forests” and “open forests” represent 9 per cent each.
    • Commercial plantations and farms are sometimes classified as open forests conceals the true extent of the damage that forests are suffering.
  • Biodiversity loss: The Western Ghats has seen a significant loss in biodiversity with an expected third already lost due to human expansion in the region.
    • It is the Northeast that has witnessed the most damage in the past decade. Of the eight states in the region, only Assam and Tripura have not seen a decline in forest cover.

Way forward

  • The installation of smart solar meters with more expensive metering during peak hours, which could then incentivise the consumer and the discoms to actively push more affluent Indians to adopt rooftop solar.
  • India must plan a green recovery from the current COVID-19 crisis to ensure a just and sustainable growth for its population. Doing this will take an incredible amount of resources and political will.
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What is net zero target? How fair and realistic these targets are?

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Climate Ambition Summit, co-hosted by the UK, France, and the UN, on the fifth anniversary of the 2015 Paris Agreement has brought back the debate on the fairness issues regarding the Net Zero targets and the pathways regarding greenhouse gas emission reduction.

Status of emission reduction

Countries were expected to submit their upgraded national target before December 2020, but due to COVID disruption, only 13 countries, covering 2.4 percent of global emissions, have submitted such targets. 

Although COVID lockdowns resulted in a temporary 4.2–7.5 percent reduction in GHGs, the achievement of 1.5 degrees Celsius target would require global carbon dioxide emissions to fall by 45 percent from the 2010 levels by 2030.

According to Emissions Gap Report 2020, Despite a dip in 2020 carbon dioxide emissions due to Covid-19, the world is still heading for a temperature rise in excess of 3 degrees C, by the end of this century.

According to the latest State of the Global Climate provisional report, 2020 is set to be among the three warmest years on record, and the decade 2011-2020 would be the warmest ever.

However, several states have announced their “net zero” targets in the recent past including all G-7 states (except the US) and 11 G20 members, with mid-century (2050 or 2060) net-zero targets. The US is also expected to join this league very soon.

Also Read Progress on Paris Climate Change Agreement: In India and world

What is Net Zero Target?

A “net-zero” target refers to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by a selected date under which any emission (carbon dioxide or other GHGs) from any source is balanced by absorbing an equivalent amount of emission from the atmosphere. It differs from zero-carbon, which requires no carbon to be emitted.

How fair are these net-zero targets?

Before applauding the Paris Agreement and resulting efforts by the countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the net-zero targets and following issues must be taken care of to make the mitigation efforts of countries more effective, accountable, and realistic.  

  • Firstly, such long-term commitment, ending in mid-century rely on promises of future carbon removal – instead of reducing emissions now and are not coupled with short-term actions. There is a mismatch between short-term actions and long-term commitments. 
    • Negative emissions (such as carbon dioxide removal) technologies, required for zero-emission targets are largely unavailable. If the technologies anticipated to remove huge quantities of carbon in the 2040s and 2050s fail to work as expected it might have a devastating impact on the climate.
  • Secondly, there is no mechanism to ensure accountability for long-term net-zero goals and short-term national contributions.  States are not obliged to achieve their self-selected targets. Other than the requirement to provide justifications for the fairness and ambition of the state’s targets, there is no mechanism to review the adequacy of their contributions.
    • The compliance committee under this agreement is facilitative to help countries falling behind on their commitments get back on track. There are no penalties for noncompliance.
  • Third, the issue of equity and a fair share of states in emission mitigation has not been included in the Paris agreement, Unlike 1997 Kyoto Protocol that differentiated countries for emission reduction targets based on their past history of emissions. It is resulting in litigations and disputes between the countries over their commitments.  
    • They do not seem to address the issue of fairness between the present and coming generations. On this issue, a case was filed recently by six Portuguese youngsters, including two children in the European Court of Human Rights against 33 European states.

Though the pathways to net-zero target are plagued by certain loopholes on the fairness and compliance front, yet it must be appreciated that countries are taking initiatives in pledging their support to mitigate climate change. Thus, a more liberal pathway seems to need an hour. However, a proper mechanism for monitoring and accountability of these long term commitment needs to be put in place.

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Climate Ambition Summit 2020

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Source: UN News

News: The United Nations (UN), United Kingdom (UK) and France have co-hosted the Climate Ambition Summit 2020 in partnership with Chile and Italy to mark five years since the adoption of the Paris Agreement.

Facts:

  • The summit brings together leaders from across all levels of government, as well as the private sector and civil society, to present more ambitious and high-quality climate commitments, and measures to limit global warming to 1.5C.

Key Takeaways from the summit:

  • The United Kingdom has pledged to double its climate finance contribution to USD 15.5 billion over the next five years.
  • The European Investment Bank has announced a goal of 50% of investments going toward the climate and environment sectors by 2025. It also called for climate finance commitments to support the most vulnerable and ambitious adaptation plans and underlying policies.
  • China has committed to lower its carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by over 65% from 2005 levels by 2030.

India’s achievements:

  • India has reduced emission intensity by 21% over 2005 levels.
  • Solar capacity has grown from 2.63 Gigawatts in 2014 to 36 Gigawatts in 2020.
  • Renewable energy capacity is the fourth largest in the world.
  • It will reach 175 Gigawatts before 2022.
  • India has also set a new target of 450 Gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2030.
  • On the world stage, India has pioneered two major initiatives: (1) The International Solar Alliance; (2) Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.

Initiatives launched:

  • Race To Zero: It is a global campaign launched by UNFCCC to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, investors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth.
  • Net Zero Asset Managers initiative: It is a leading group of global asset managers that commit to support the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner, in line with global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C

Additional Facts:

  • Paris agreement: It was adopted at the UNFCCC COP21 held in Paris in 2015.It aims to keep global temperature rise in the 21st century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
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Five years after Paris agreement

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Context: The Climate Ambition Summit, co-hosted by the UK, France and the UN, on the fifth anniversary of the 2015 Paris Agreement, comes at the end of a dreadful year.

What is the climatic status of nations, 5 years after Paris agreement?
  • GHGs: Greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere are at record levels, with the global lockdowns only having resulted in a temporary 4.2–7.5 per cent reduction in GHGs.
  • National contributions: All states have submitted their national contributions to diminish and adapt to climate change.
    • These contributions are radically insufficient to reach the “well below 2 degrees Celsius” limit and are even further from the “1.5 degrees Celsius” temperature limit identified in the Paris Agreement.
  • Scaling up national targets: The logic of the Paris Agreement relied on scaling up of national targets over time to bridge the gap. The first of these moments for scaling up is 2020.
    • Although 151 states have indicated that they will submit stronger targets before December 31, only 13 of them, covering 2.4 per cent of global emissions, have submitted such targets.
    • Many are expected to submit their updated contributions or make other pledges at the Climate Ambition Summit.
  • Net zero targets: All G-7 states (except the US) and 11 G20 members have mid-century (2050 or 2060) net zero targets (carbon dioxide or other GHGs). These include Argentina, Mexico, UK, Japan, Canada, Germany, France, the Republic of Korea, Italy, China, and the EU.

Net zero targets need to be subject to credibility, accountability and fairness checks before being applauded. Discuss

  • The credibility check:It is crucial for updated national contributions to reflect targets and actions in 2030 that will take these states to their 2050 or 2060 net zero target.
    • The IPCC 1.5 degrees Celsius Report indicated that to stay within a reasonable chance of achieving 1.5 degrees Celsius, global carbon dioxide emissions have to fall by 45 per cent from the 2010 levels by 2030.
    • There is a significant “overshoot” in terms of GHGs in the short and medium-term, and a reliance on negative emissions technologies to get there in the long-term.
  • The accountability check:  accountability under the Paris Agreement is limited. States are not obliged to achieve their self-selected targets. There is no mechanism to review the adequacy of individual contributions.
    • The most commonly used metric by states (110 of them) is that their emissions are a “small share of global emissions”.
    • The transparency framework does not contain a robust review function, and the compliance committee is facilitative and limited to ensuring compliance with a short list of binding procedural obligations.
    • Accountability has thus far been generated by non-state actors outside the UN regime rather than in the regime.
  • The fairness check: The issue of equity and fairness, side-stepped in the Paris Agreement, is emerging in climate litigation before national and regional courts.
    • “Fair shares” are also an issue in the ongoing case filed by six Portuguese youngsters, including two children, in the European Court of Human Rights against 33 European states for inadequate climate action.
    • Issues of fairness and justice, both between and within generations, are “unavoidable”.
Way forward
  • Net zero pledges need to be credible, accountable and fair to get us to a stable climate. All states, including India, can pledge actions that are credible, accountable and fair.
  • Credible short-term commitments, with a clear pathway to medium-term decarbonisation, that take into account the multiple challenges states face, such as on air pollution, and development, might well be the more defensible choice for some.
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Emissions Gap Report 2020

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News: United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP) has released the Emissions Gap Report,2020.

Facts:
  • Emissions gap report: The report assesses the gap between anticipated emissions and levels consistent with the Paris Agreement goals of limiting global warming this century to well below 2°C and pursuing 1.5°C.
Key Takeaways:
  • Temperature Rise: World is still heading for a temperature rise in excess of 3°C this century – far beyond the Paris Agreement goals of limiting global warming to well below 2°C and pursuing 1.5°C.
  • Record GHG Emissions: In 2019, the total greenhouse gas emissions, including land-use change reached a new high of 59.1 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent (GtCO2e).
  • Record carbon emission: Fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (from fossil fuels and carbonates) dominate total GHG emissions.
  • Forest fires increasing GHG emissions: Global greenhouse gas emissions have grown 1.4% per year since 2010 on average, with a more rapid increase of 2.6% in 2019 due to a large increase in forest fires.
  • G20 countries account for the bulk of emissions: Over the last decade, the four emitters (China, the United States of America, EU27+UK and India) have contributed to 55% of the total GHG emissions.
  • Did the COVID-19 pandemic impact the emission level? Due to the pandemic, carbon dioxide emissions are predicted to fall up to 7% in 2020.However, this dip only translates to a 0.01°C reduction of global warming by 2050.
  • Which sector reported the lowest dip in emission due to pandemic? Studies indicate that the biggest changes have occurred in transport, as COVID-19 restrictions were targeted to limit mobility, though reductions have also occurred in other sectors.
Recommendations:
  • Green Pandemic Recovery: Governments can invest in climate action as part of pandemic recovery and solidify emerging net-zero commitments with strengthened pledges so that they can bring emissions to levels broadly consistent with the 2°C goal.
  • Change in Consumption Behaviour: The report finds that stronger climate action must include changes in consumption behaviour by the private sector and individuals.Around two-thirds of global emissions are linked to private households when using consumption-based accounting.
  • Responsibility on Wealthy: The wealthy bear the greatest responsibility as the emissions of the richest 1% of the global population account for more than twice the combined share of the poorest 50%. This group will need to reduce its footprint by a factor of 30 to stay in line with the Paris Agreement targets.
  • Lower Carbon Consumption: Possible actions to support and enable lower carbon consumption include replacing domestic short haul flights with rail, incentives and infrastructure to enable cycling and car-sharing, improving the energy efficiency of housing and policies to reduce food waste.
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Climate Change Performance Index(CCPI) 2020

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Source: Click here

News: Climate Change Performance Index(CCPI) 2020 has been released.

Facts:

  • Released by: The index has been developed by not-for-profit organizations Germanwatch and NewClimate Institute (Germany) together with the Climate Action Network(CAN International).
  • Objective: It is an important tool to enhance transparency in international climate politics and enables comparison of climate protection efforts and progress made by individual countries.
  • Parameters: The index is prepared by assessing performances of 57 countries and European Union in four categories – GHG emissions (40%), renewable energy (20%), energy use (20%) and climate policy (20%).

Key Takeaways:

Key Takeaways

Read Also : current affairs for upsc

  • Top ranking: Sweden (4th place) remains an international frontrunner in climate protection for the fourth year in a row.
  • India: India has dropped by one position from ninth in 2019 to 10th in 2020. However, India’s journey towards climate protection has been consistent with it improving its ranking from 31st in 2014.
  • China and US:The biggest current emitter of greenhouse gases(GHG) China figures at 33rd rank while the largest historical polluter USA appears at the bottom (61st) on the list.
  • G20: Only two G20 countries – the UK and India – are among the high rankers while six others – the USA, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Australia, South Korea and Russia (52nd) – are at the bottom of the index.
Posted in ENVIRONMENT, Index | Reports | SummitsTagged

Progress on Paris Climate Change Agreement: In India and world

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About Paris Agreement (COP 21)

  • As the Kyoto Protocol ultimately failed to induce significant emission reductions on a global scale, the Paris Agreement was adopted at the COP21 held in Paris.
  • It aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change and specifies long-term goals regarding global average temperatures, adaptation to climate change, and finance flows

Key differences between the Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement

Kyoto ProtocolParis Agreement
1.Legally binding1.Not Legally binding
2.Does not bind developing countries to cut down their GHG emissions.2.Makes all nations voluntarily commit on their own domestic emission reduction targets.
3.Top Down approach (sets targets)3.Bottom-up approach (INDCs)
4.Penalty imposed in-case of non-compliance4.No penalty
5. Centrally defined carbon market, with mechanism to offset from lower income countries (CDM)5. No mention of market but article 6 provides a hook for existing and new markets to count.

Key aspects of the Paris agreement

Goals:

  1. Temperature: hold warming below 2°C above pre-industrial levels with effective efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C
  2. Adaptation: Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development
  3. Low Emission Finance flows: Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development

Approach:

Intended Nationally Determined Targets: Unlike, the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement gives flexibility to both developed and developing countries to determine their own targets. The INDCs set out each country’s plan for addressing climate change, including a target for reducing GHG emissions, and how the countries intend to achieve that target.

Development after the Paris agreement

  1. COP22: The COP22 was held in Marrakech, Morocco in 2016 to discuss and implement plans about combatting climate change in the lines of the Paris Agreement
  2. COP23: COP 23 was held in Bonn, Germany in 2017. A major outcome of the COP was the Talanoa Dialogue. It is an inclusive and participatory process that allows countries, and non-Party stakeholders, to share experiences and showcase best practices in order to urgently raise ambition in nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
  3. COP 24: COP 24 was held in Katowice, Poland in 2018. The biggest achievement was the adoption of the Paris Rulebook which establishes the rules and processes needed to provide the operational guidance for fulfilling the ambition of the Paris Agreement.

What are the positive developments in the Paris Agreement?  

India’s performance in CCPI: In a recently released Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), India ranked high along with the European Union and the United Kingdom and remained in the top 10 for the second time in a row.

  • India has received a High ranking on all CCPI indicators except ‘renewable energy’

US re-joining Paris deal: As per the reports, US president-elect Joe Biden has announced that he will issue an executive order to re-join the Paris Agreement on his first day in office on 20 January 2021. With this signature, all 197 signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will have ratified the historic deal.

In June 2017, President Donald Trump announced U.S. exit from the Paris Climate Deal, but the withdrawal only took effect in November 2020.

China’s Commitments: China has announced significant climate change announcements at the virtual UN General Assembly in New York.

  • China would become carbon net-zero by the year 2060.
  • China has made a small but important change in China’s already committed target for letting its emissions “peak”, from “by 2030” to “before 2030”.

It is significant as China is the biggest emitter in the world with accounting for around 30 percent of global GHG, followed by the US, EU, and India.

China’s coercive environmentalism

  • Chinese Model: Chinese model of coercive environmentalism is finding an echo among some Western environmentalists. They believe planetary survival must be the foremost objective of the moment and all other considerations must be subordinated to it.
  • Issues with the model: Whatever the merits of authoritarian environmentalism, it has little political chance of being replicated in democracies. Plural societies are focused on improving the nature of liberal environmentalism that relies on political consensus in drafting new environmental norms and their effective enforcement as well as the reliance on market-based mechanisms.
  • Success Stories:
    • In total, eight international jurisdictions have made good progress since 2015, including Ethiopia, Morocco, India, European Union, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, and Argentina.
    • An increasing number of countries are adopting net zero emissions targets. Some, like the UK, have dumped coal, and are well on the way to achieving those targets.

Challenges in achieving Paris agreement targets

Climate Action Tracker is an independent scientific analysis produced by two research organizations tracking climate action since 2009. It monitors 32 countries, accounting for more than 80 percent of global emissions.

Countries like the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Indonesia have either made no progress since 2015 or having highly insufficient targets.

Today, Australia’s emissions are at a seven-year high, and continue to rise with the setting up of new coal and gas projects.

In 2018, Brazil recorded the world’s highest loss of tropical primary rainforest of any country — 1.3 million hectares — largely in the Amazon.

India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC)

  • To reduce the emissions intensity of GDP by 33%–35% by 2030 below 2005 levels;
  • To increase the share of non-fossil-based energy resources to 40% of installed electric power capacity by 2030, with help of transfer of technology and low-cost international finance including from Green Climate Fund (GCF).
  • Increase renewable energy generation to 175 GW by 2022;
  • To create an additional (cumulative) carbon sink of 2.5–3 GtCO2e through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

India’s progress against objectives

India’s per capita emission from fossil fuels (in 2017) is by far the lowest among major economies, i.e.

  • The US: 15.74 MT
  • China: 7.72 MT in China
  • The EU: 6.97 MT
  • India: 1.83 MT carbon dioxide (CO2)

Climate Action Tracker website has rated its climate efforts as “2-degree compatible”, making India the only major economy to achieve such high rating.

As per the report released by a coalition of 14 global think tanks including TERI, India is the only country among G-20 nations that is on track to meet its climate change mitigation commitments of 2 degrees Celsius under the 2015 Paris Agreement:

  • The target of achieving 40% of power from renewable sources by 2030 is likely to be achieved several years in advance. Non-fossil sources accounted for about 37 percent of India’s power capacity, as of September 2019.
  • India is actively reducing the component of coal-based thermal power in its energy mix.
  • India’s forest and tree cover has increased by only 5,188 km2 , yielding a 42.6 million tonne carbon sink increase.

India’s intiatives against Climate Change

National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC): This action plan aims to provide a low carbon development path for India. The plan has eight missions, focusing on solar, energy efficiency, sustainable habitat, water, ecosystems, forest cover, sustainable agriculture, and climate research.

ISA: Indian entered into International Solar Alliance with France, in 2015 at UNFCCC CoP 21 Paris, France with an aim of collaboration on the development of solar energy resources among solar resource-rich countries to address their special energy needs.

India’s draft National Forest Policy calls for a minimum of one-third of India’s total geographical area to be under forest or tree cover and supports the NDC target of creating an additional (cumulative) carbon sink of 2.5–3 GtCO2e by 2030.

While India still relies on coal, its renewables industry is making huge leaps forward, with investments in renewable energy topping fossil fuel investments.

National Solar Mission aims to install 100 GW of solar energy by 2022, which is part of India’s long-term goal to install 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030.

BS VI emission norms: India adopted BS VI vehicular and fuel emission standards as a part of its Auto Fuel Policy. Effective April 2020, India now has ultra-low sulfur fuel (10 ppm) in use across the country. The BS VI emission norms for 2-wheelers are also among the most stringent in the world

FAME-II Scheme: Scheme provides Rs. `10,000 crore ($1.4 billion) for demand incentives, charging infrastructure subsidies, and battery storage manufacturing Spanning over three years from 2019 to 2022. India has a target of 30% share of electric vehicles (EV) in new sales for 2030.

National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 aims to subsidize the cost and facilitate the sale of 6 to 7 million hybrid and electric vehicles over five years. To strengthen battery storage, the National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage is designed to support the battery and EV component manufacturing.

National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE) aims to improve efficiency in industry and implement demand-side management programs. The main program, the Perform Achieve Trade (PAT) scheme, establishes an energy trading program for high emitting industries – cement, aluminum, steel, iron, textiles, and paper and pulp.

Conclusion

Renewable energy is the key to unlocking rapid decarbonization. It already supplies more than 26 percent of global electricity generation and its costs are dropping rapidly. To accelerate this fundamental transition, more governments need to adapt and improve policies that enable renewable technologies to be rolled out faster.

Aggregation of the NDCs of countries do not add up to keep temperatures within the 2 degrees C limit. Much more action on GHG reduction, the introduction of green technologies, and adaptation are needed.

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Coercive and Liberal environmentalism

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Context– India’s ability to influence the new geopolitics of climate change will depend a lot on its domestic political resilience in adapting to the new imperatives.

What are China’s climate commitment?
  • China would become carbon net-zero by the year 2060.
  • Also, China now aims to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030.That means China would not allow its greenhouse gas emissions to grow beyond that point.
What is Coercive and liberal environmentalism?

China’s coercive environmentalism

The Chinese government pursues its environmental goals with the authoritarian tools it has available: mandatory targets, mass campaigns, top-down bans, factory closures, forced relocations, and even household trash inspectors who can ticket offenders.

  • Effective state intervention- Enforcing new environmental norms in the last few years has helped China shed the image of being the “bad boy” on climate issues.
  • China has been “codifying” environmental policies into clear rules, regulations and laws.
Joe biden’s environmental polices-
  • Modernizing liberal environmentalism that relies on political consensus in drafting new environmental norms and their effective enforcement as well as the reliance on market-based mechanisms.
  • To enforce environmental regulations which were either diluted or discarded by the Donald Trump administration and enhance the incentives for polluters to compensate for their violation of norms.
  • Climate justice– The recognition that pollution and other ecological problems have a greater impact on the poor and minorities.
  • Special focus on an early end to the worldwide use of coal.
  • Rejoining the Paris Accord to set accelerated timelines for reducing carbon emissions.

However, Coercive and Liberal approaches to managing climate change totally different but they share some important objectives.

  • Both China and the US (along with the West) recognize the urgency of the climate challenge.
  • US and China, both are racing to develop new technologies that will constitute the foundations of the green economic future.
  • Both have zeroed in on industrial policy to achieve their climate objectives.
  • Both understand that climate politics is in the end about rearranging the global order.
What are the challenges ahead of India?
  • The urgency of addressing climate change is likely to intensify in the immediate term with the election of Biden as US President and the prospect of cooperation on climate change between Washington and Beijing.
  • Puts Pressure on India: European Union and 70 other countries (that have relatively low emissions) have committed itself to a net-zero emission status by 2050. The new direction of Chinese and US policies in Environmental Initiatives puts pressure India

Way forward-

India’s real test on climate change is on building a new domestic consensus that can address the economic and political costs associated with an internal adjustment to the prospect of a great global reset.

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, CURRENT AFFAIRS, daily news, Daily News UpdatesTagged

State of the Global Climate Report

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Source: Click here

News: The World Meteorological Organization(WMO) has released the annual State of Global Climate Report,2020 to keep a track of global warming.

Facts:

Key Highlights from the report:

  • Hottest Year: 2020 will be one of the three hottest years just behind 2016 and 2019.
  • Rise in Global Temperature: The global mean surface temperature for January-October 2020 was 1.2 degree Celsius higher than the pre-industrial baseline (1850-1900).For that period, 2020 is the second-warmest year on record.
  • High Temperature over Ocean Surfaces: 80% of ocean areas have experienced at least one marine heat wave (MHW) so far in 2020.
  • Global sea-level rise was also similar to 2019 value.This was mainly due to the increased melting of the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica.
  • Consequences: Extreme weather events such as tropical cyclones, floods, heavy rainfall and droughts were the consequence of global warming that impacted many parts of the world.

    Read Also : Government Schemes for upsc

Additional Facts:

  • World Meteorological Organization(WMO): It is an intergovernmental organization established by the ratification of the WMO Convention in 1950.
    • Members: 193 Member States and Territories.
    • Significance: It is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN).
    • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
Posted in ENVIRONMENT, Index | Reports | SummitsTagged

Paris Agreement goals are not enough

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Context: The Paris Agreement fall short to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius.

What are the different conventions, declarations related to environment conservation?
  1. Stockholm Convention
  2. Objective – It is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from Persistent Organic Pollutants.
  3. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – Signed in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development also known as the Earth Summit, the Rio Summit or the Rio Conference.
  • A distinction was made between the “luxury emissions” of the developed countries, which were reduced mandatorily, and the survival emissions of the developed countries, which were allowed to increase.
  • Financial package was approved to develop environment-friendly technologies in developing countries.
  • A significant accomplishment of the summit was an agreement on the Climate Change Convention which in turn led to the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.
  1. Issues- Critics pointed out that many of the agreements made in the Rio have not been realized regarding such fundamental issues as fighting poverty and cleaning up the environment.
  2. The Kyoto protocol

    Objective-
     In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was adopted which aimed to achieve a legally binding emissions reduction by industrialized countries.
  • Legally binding– Equity and Common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR), legally binding targets for 39 developed countries. No legally binding targets for developing countries.
  1. Failure of Kyoto Protocol-
  • Exclusion of developing countries from emissions reduction targets notably Brazil, South Africa, India and China made the Kyoto Protocol inequitable. Ultimately failed to induce significant emission reductions on a global scale.
  • A very low number of member countries ratified– For example: USA never ratified.
  1. Paris Agreement-
  • Objective- To strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change and specifies long-term goals regarding global average temperatures, adaptation to climate change and finance flows.
  • Temperature- Hold warming below 2°C above pre-industrial levels with effective efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.
  • Makes all nations voluntarily commit on their own domestic emission reduction targets and incur no penalties for falling short of their targets.
  1. Issues and challenges with Paris Agreement-
  • No enforcement mechanism– As the agreement is not legally binding in nature there are no penalties to be imposed in case of non-compliance.
  • Commitment issue– It does not include any firm commitments by countries to reduce carbon emissions.
  • Unsustainable targets– The world reached at almost 1degree Celsius warming post industrialization and the Paris contributions are not enough to maintain 2 degree Celsius levels.
  • The scientific community has already rejected the Paris Agreement as a solution.
  • USA withdrawal– USA recently pulled out from the agreement seriously damaging the global effort to reverse climate change. This has created new barriers and more pressure on rest of the nations in achieving the targets of Paris agreement.
  • Russia, the fifth largest emitter, hasn’t even bothered to make a pledge.
What is the way forward?
  • Collaborative responses – The pathway to avoiding an even hotter world, require a swift and complete transformation not just of the global economy, but of society too.
  • All countries need to step up, accept that global emissions must reach net zero by 2050 and take very large steps to make it happen.

For example- Improvements in energy efficiency, while closing 2,400 coal plants and replacing them with renewables within the next decade.


International Conventions and Organizations

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US formally exits Paris climate deal

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News: United States has formally exited the Paris Climate Agreement amid election uncertainty.

Facts:

  • Why has the United States left the Paris Agreement?
    • According to the US, the agreement had imposed an unfair economic burden on the country and would lead to loss of jobs.
    • The Agreement also gives China and other big polluters an unfair advantage over the US by allowing them to continue to increase emissions.
  • Implications of the move: The US is the second leading producer of all carbon dioxide emissions globally, behind China.Hence, if it does not reduce its emissions, it could impact the objective of keeping the global temperature rise to within 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial times.
  • Could the US rejoin the agreement? Yes, it could.Under the rules, all that is required is a month’s notice and the US can join the agreement.
  • Can the US Still Attend Paris negotiations? The United States will be out of the Paris Agreement but by virtue of being a signatory to the UNFCCC can still attend negotiations and give opinions but is relegated to observer status.

Additional Facts:

  • Paris agreement: It was adopted at the UNFCCC COP21 held in Paris in 2015.
  • Aim: To strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change and specifies long-term goals regarding global average temperatures, adaptation to climate change and finance flows
  • Goals:
    • Temperature: hold warming below 2°C above pre-industrial levels with effective efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C
    • Adaptation: Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development
    • Low Emission Finance flows: Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development
  • Intended Nationally Determined Targets(INDCs):The Paris Agreement requires all Parties to put forward their best efforts to address climate change through INDC’s and to strengthen these efforts in the years ahead.
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COVID-19, climate and carbon neutrality

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Context: Environmental problems have profound public health consequences both in terms of morbidity and mortality and hence demand urgent actions in the post covid-19 world.

How are environment and public health inter-related ?

  • Human intrusions: Evidence has gathered that loss of biodiversity and ever-increasing human intrusions into the natural world have contributed heavily to the outbreak and spread of epidemic diseases.
  • The three Es: evolution, ecology and the environment will be key to identifying potential pandemics.
    • COVID-19 also reinforces the need to pay far greater attention to the biosciences that underpin agriculture, health and the environment that are going to be deeply impacted by the current pandemic.
  • Environmental problems such as air pollution, water pollution, chemical contamination, deforestation, waste generation and accumulation, land degradation and excessive use of pesticides all have deep public health consequences.
  • The traditional ‘grow now, pay later’ model is not only unsustainable in the medium- to long-term but also dangerous to public health in the short term.
  • A report of the Ministry of Earth Sciences called ‘Assessment of climate change over the Indian region’ points to the need for making our future science and technology strategy in different areas with an understanding of the impacts of climate change caused by continued emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • The depletion of the ozone layer has been fixed more or less, but HFCs are a potent threat from a climate change perspective since their global warming potential is a thousand times that of carbon dioxide.

What is carbon neutrality?

  • Carbon neutrality refers to that situation when carbon emissions are equal to absorptions in carbon sinks, of which forests are one.
  • Carbon neutrality, is a far bolder and worthwhile goal, the attainment of which has to be consciously engineered.
  • It will involve massive scientific invention and technological innovation especially when it comes to removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

Way forward

  • India can and should show to the world how the measurement of economic growth can take place while taking into account both ecological pluses and minuses.
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Divestment in fossil fuels

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What do you mean by Divestment movement in Fossil fuels?

  • Divestment is the process by which money put into stocks and bonds of certain companies is withdrawn. A divestment is the opposite of an investment.
  • For example, recently Goldman Sachs announced that it would no longer finance new oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and coal mines such as mountain-top mining
  • In this case, divestment has been directed against companies that extract, refine, sell and make profits from fossil fuels.
  • The purpose is to restrict fossil fuel companies’ ability to function to limit their impact on climate change.
  • As of 2019, it is estimated that more than $11 trillion in assets has been committed to divestment from fossil fuels.

What is the role of Climate activist in divestment process?

  • Systematic organised drives for divestment from fossil fuel companies have been undertaken by a large network of activists including Rainforest Action Network, 350.org, Go Fossil Free, university students and faculty etc.
  • They systematically attacked equity, investments, loans, or credit, available to the fossil fuel industry.

What are the challenges?

  • After the Paris Agreement of 2015, where countries agreed to try to limit average global warming to well below 2oC, global banks continue to finance the fossil fuel industry.
  • Finances has been increasing to fossil fuel sub-sectors such as oil from tar sands, Arctic oil ang gas etc. For example, coal power financing led by Chinese banks.
  • Companies might be divesting not for ethical reasons but because it considers fossil companies to be risky.

What is the way forward?

  • India’s contribution to the stock of greenhouse gases is less than two tonnes of CO2/capita.
  • Yet, with the costs of production and storage of renewables are falling policymakers should utilise this oppurtunity and foresee to make a just transition away from coal in the near future.
  • This process will be complex and necessarily involve many sectors and activities including land restoration, local jobs, and timely transfer of storage technologies for renewable energy, apart from dealing with entrenched vested and political interests
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Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)–Transport Initiative for Asia(TIA)

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Nationally Determined Contributions

News: NITI Aayog will virtually launch the India Component of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)–Transport Initiative for Asia (TIA).

Facts: 

  • NDC Transport Initiative for Asia (NDC-TIA): The initiative aims to promote a comprehensive approach to decarbonize transport in India, Vietnam, and China over the period 2020-24.
  • Supported by: It is supported by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Ministry for the Environment and Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).
  • Implementation: It is implemented by seven organizations namely: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), World Resources Institute (WRI), International Transport Forum (ITF), Agora Verkehrswende (AGORA), Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT) and Foundation and Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21).
  • Indian Component: The India Component is implemented by six consortium organizations all except SLoCaT. On behalf of the Government of India, NITI Aayog will be the implementing partner.
    Additional Facts: 

    Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC): The Paris Agreement (2015) requires all Parties to put forward their best efforts to address climate change through INDC’s and to strengthen these efforts in the years ahead.

    India’s intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) under Paris Agreement: 

    ·         Reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33% to 35% by 2030 from 2005 level,

    ·         Increase total cumulative electricity generation from fossil free energy sources to 40% by 2030,

    ·         Create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tons through additional forest and tree cover.

    NDC-TIA India Component will focus on establishing a multi-stakeholder dialogue platform for decarbonizing transport in India.

Posted in Environment & EcologyTagged ,

Climate financing adds to poor countries debt pile: Oxfam

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News: Oxfam has released a report titled Climate finance shadow report 2020 – assessing progress towards the $100 billion commitment. Facts:
  • Background: Developed countries had committed in 2009 to mobilize $100 billion every year by 2020 to help developing countries cut their carbon dioxide emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change.
  • What is progress?
    • Developed countries have pledged around $59 billion in 2017-18. However, around $47 billion of the pledged amount was forwarded as loans.
    • Hence, money being pledged by developed countries to their developing counterparts as climate assistance was making them sink into ever-increasing debt.
  • What are the other takeaways from the report?
    • Only around a third of climate finance projects are estimated to take account of gender equality.
    • Only a fifth (20.5%) of climate financing went to Least Developed Countries(LDCs) and just 3% to Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
  • Recommendations:
    • Climate financing could be funded through a range of sources including redirecting some fossil-fuel subsidies which cost governments over $320 billion in 2019 alone.
    • Developed countries should scale-up grant-based financing for adaptation and reduce the share of climate financing provided in the form of loans.
    • Mobilize more Private, locally-led, and Gender-responsive finance.
    • Increase Grants and Finance for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States(SIDS).
Posted in Environment & EcologyTagged

Climate Change and Gendered Vulnerabilities

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Context– Due to the pandemic, India has an opportunity to build climate resilience and address gender equality issues.

How India can tackle widening inequalities?

The recovery is offering India two golden opportunities:

  • To build climate resilience for the most vulnerable by ensuring that stimulus measures are green.
  • To meaningfully address long-standing gender equality issues.

What are effects of pandemic on vulnerable groups?

  • Most affected groups- Overburdened healthcare systems and frontline health workers lives and livelihoods impacted. The poor, Adivasis, migrants, informal workers, sexual minorities, people with disabilities and women all face a greater brunt than most.
  • Vulnerable groups, especially women bear a heavier burden of climate change, due to social inequalities that limit them.
  • Climate change, in turn, widens socio-economic gaps, trapping communities in a vicious cycle.

What are the measures needed to tackle climate change?

Women and marginalized groups, by virtue of their position and roles, are a fountain of solutions to tackle climate change.

  1. Green investment– The Indian government has invested huge amount in COVID-19 recovery. These recovery packages in green jobs will improve lives and environment.
  • These green investments ought to be reflected across agriculture, urban planning, energy and the health sectors and in climate-resilient civil works, including under MGNREGA.
  1. Equipping women with skills– It is critical to leverage women knowledge, capacities and skills towards adapting to and mitigating climate change.
  • The initiative like Disha, a UNDP supported by the IKEA Foundation energize local economies, reduce carbon emissions, enhance climate resilience and disrupt social norms and behaviors that restrict women’s participation in the workforce.
  • For Example– By training young rural women for the maintenance of solar pumps will introduce clean energy and reduce production cost.
  • Accelerating the transition to renewable energy will lower carbon footprints and provide sustainable livelihoods to poor women.

Way forward-

  • Recognizing the important contributions of women as decision makers, stakeholders, educators, careers and experts across sectors and at all levels can lead to successful, long-term solutions to climate change.
  • Women have proven to be leading the way towards more equitable and sustainable solutions to climate change.  Across sectors, women’s innovations and expertise have transformed lives and livelihoods, and increased climate resilience and overall well-being.
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What is Carbon Tax?

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Carbon Tax

  • A carbon tax is a fee imposed on the burning of carbon-based fuels (coal, oil, gas).
  • It is a way to have users of carbon fuels pay for the climate damage caused by releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It works on the ‘the polluter pays’ principle.
  • After economic reforms and carbon emissions have increased because of high growth in the Indian economy.
  • The aim of carbon tax is to set a price on the carbon content of goods & services to discourage their use.
  • Carbon tax becomes a powerful financial hindrance that motivates switches to clean energy across the economy, simply by making it more economically fulfilling to move to non-carbon fuels and energy efficiency if it is set high enough.
  • Carbon taxes effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Economists generally argue that carbon taxes are the most efficient and effective way to curb climate change, with the least adverse effects on the economy.
  • India imposed a Carbon tax of Rs 50 per ton of coal produced and imported, in 2010.
    • In 2014, it was increased to Rs 100.
    • In 2015, it was further increased to Rs 200.
    • Currently, the carbon tax is Rs 400 per ton

What is the significance of taxing carbon?

  • Rising extreme events: Record heat waves in Delhi, floods in southwest China, and catastrophic forest fires in California this year are indicative of the existential danger from global warming.   Carbon dioxide, CO2, is a greenhouse gas, and there is scientific consent that greenhouse gases emitted from human activity are an important source of global warming.
  • Climate change induced disasters: India ranks fifth in the Global Climate Risk Index 2020. Between 1998 and 2017, disaster-hit countries reported $2.9 trillion in direct economic losses, with 77% resulting from climate change, according to a United Nations report.
  • Carbon dioxide is the major contributor to global warming: It was 414 parts per million in August 2020 because of past accumulation. One half of it comes from the three top carbon emitters. They need to drive de-carbonisation. India is the world’s fourth largest emitter of CO2 according to CICERO.
  • National interest: It is needed to take stronger action before 2030, leading to no net carbon increase by 2050. India has committed to 40% of electricity capacity being from non-fossil fuels by 2030, and lowering the ratio of emissions to GDP by one-third from 2005 levels.
    • India’s pledge under the Paris Agreement is to reduce the carbon intensity (see below) of its economy by 33-35% by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.
  • Cost effective: Carbon taxes offer a potentially cost-effective means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • To combat air pollution: Air pollution is one of the biggest public concerns in world and India today. For example (Of the most polluted cities in the world, 21 out of 30 were in India in 2019. The health impacts of pollution represent a heavy cost to the economy.)
    • Around 91% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits.
    • Ambient air pollution accounts for an estimated 4.2 million deaths per year due to stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, acute and chronic respiratory diseases.
  • Emissions can be curbed only if people move away from polluting fossil fuels and adopt greener forms of energy. To achieve this we need carbon tax.
Posted in Environment & EcologyTagged

Paris Climate Change Agreement -From Kyoto Protocol to Paris Agreement

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Context: 196 countries at COP24, Katowice have agreed on a rulebook to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Background of Pro-active Climate negotiations

  1. The problem of climate change was brought to light at an international level by the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report in 1990 which highlighted the issue as a subject in need of a political platform.
  2. Consequently, in United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted in 1992which sets the framework for negotiating specific agreements, such as the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. 

1st agreement on Climate Change- The Kyoto protocol

In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was adopted which aimed to achieve a legally binding emissions reduction by industrialised countries.

Key elements of Kyoto Protocol:

1.Target-

  • Reduction of collective Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 5.2% from the 1990 level by 2012. This is known as the “first commitment period”
  • Second commitment period (2013-2020) to reduce emissions by 18% was adopted by the Doha Amendment (2012)

2.Approach: Equity and Common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR)- Legally binding targets for 39 developed countries. No legally binding targets for developing countries.

3.Mechanisms:

a) Clean Development mechanism: It involves investment in emission reduction or removal enhancement projects in developing countries that contribute to their sustainable development

b) Joint implementation: It enables developed countries to carry out emission reduction or removal enhancement projects in other developed countries.

c)Emission trading: It allows countries that have emission units (carbon dioxide) to spare (emissions permitted them but not “used”) to sell this excess capacity to countries that are over their targets.

Failures of Kyoto Protocol:

  • Exclusion of developing countries from emissions reduction targets notably Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASIC) made the Kyoto Protocol inequitable.
  • Disagreement on the strategies to achieve emissions reduction targets and poorly designed mechanisms which did not effectively reduced GHG emissions.
  • A very low number of member countries ratified– For example: USA never ratified
  • Poor compliance by member countries- For example: Japan failed to meet their obligations, and chose not to participate in the second commitment period.
  • Top down approach– The Kyoto Protocol had a top-down approach as it had legally binding targets providing very less flexibility to member countries

2nd Agreement on Climate Change: Paris Agreement

  • As the Kyoto Protocol ultimately failed to induce significant emission reductions on a global scale, the Paris Agreement was adopted at the COP21 held in Paris.
  • It aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change and specifies long-term goals regarding global average temperatures, adaptation to climate change and finance flows

Key differences between Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement

Kyoto ProtocolParis Agreement
1.Legally binding1.Not Legally binding
2.Does not bind developing countries to cut down their GHG emissions.2.Makes all nations voluntarily commit on their own domestic emission reduction targets.
3.Top Down approach (sets targets)3.Bottom-up approach (INDCs)
4.Penalty imposed in-case of non-compliance4.No penalty
5. Centrally defined carbon market, with mechanism to offset from lower income countries (CDM)5. No mention of market but article 6 provides a hook for existing and new markets to count.

Key aspects of Paris agreement

Goals:

  1. Temperature:hold warming below 2°C above pre-industrial levels with effective efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C
  2. Adaptation:Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development
  3. Low Emission Finance flows:Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development

Approach:

Intended Nationally Determined Targets: Unlike, the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement gives flexibility to both developed and developing countries to determine their own targets. The INDCs setout each country’s plan for addressing climate change, including a target for reducing GHG emissions, and how the countries intend to achieve that target.

Development after Paris agreement

  1. COP22: The COP22 was held in Marrakech, Morocco in 2016 to discuss and implement plans about combatting climate change in the lines of Paris Agreement
  2. COP23: The COP 23 was held in Bonn, Germany in 2017. A major outcome of the COP was the Talanoa Dialogue. It is an inclusive and participatory process that allows countries, and non-Party stakeholders, to share experiences and showcase best practices in order to urgently raise ambition in nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
  3. COP 24: The COP 24 was held in Katowice, Poland in 2018. The biggest achievement was the adoption of the Paris Rulebook which establishes the rules and processes needed to provide the operational guidance for fulfilling the ambition of the Paris Agreement.

 

Paris Agreement Rulebook
It includes details on several fronts:

  • How the emissions from every country should be measured
  • How these measurements should be reported and verified
  • Kinds of financial flows – loans, concessions, grants-that can be classified as climate finance,
  • The manner in which financial flows should be accounted
  • the information that every country needs to provide regarding their climate actions
  • The mechanisms for diffusion of appropriate technologies to developing countries
  • How collective efforts will be reviewed, leading to scaled-up actions and support every five years (Global Stocktake)

Persistent Issues and Challenges with Paris agreement

1.Enforcement Issues:

  • As the Paris agreement is not legally binding, there are no penalties to be imposed in case of non-compliance. Further, it lacks mechanism to ensure accountability and verify claims of carbon reductions

2.Targets and commitments:

  • Environmentalists have raised concerns that the 2°C target of limiting global warming is inadequate to address the current pace of climate change and curtail sea-level rising which will impact the island states most.
  • Also, the Paris Rulebook falls short of the radical action to address climate change and does not include any firm commitments by countries to reduce carbon emissions despite the recent report of U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
IPCC 6th Assessment Report, 2018:
1. The report states that the world has become 1°C warmer because of human activities, causing greater frequency of extremes and obstruction to the normal functioning of ecosystems.
2. Notes that limiting global warming at 1.5 C above preindustrial levels rather than 2 degrees can soften climate impacts
3. Warns that the world has to reduce net carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 and bring them down to zero by 2055, if it wanted to keep the planet liveable in the 21st century.

3.Mitigation Centric Approach:

  • Critics have opined that the Paris agreement through its rulebook has adopted primarily a mitigation-centric approach and the urgent adaptation needs of the developing countries are not prioritised.

4.Common but differentiated responsibilities

  • Egypt, Africa group and the association of small island states have alleged the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities has been compromised in the Paris rulebook in its global stocktake and thus the burden to climate change has been put inequitably on the developed and developing nations who lack both technology and finance.

5.Methodolgy:

  • The countries that have ratified the Paris Agreement are required to set a target for emissions reduction through their INDCs, however, there is no threshold or minimum emissions reduction it must achieve.
  • The key question of how countries will step up their targets on cutting emissions also remains unaddressed by the Paris rulebook.

6.Finance:

  • According to Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), Delhi the rulebook does not include provisions to assess the reporting of financial grants or review whether it is adequate
  • Under the Paris Rulebook, countries are allowed to count all sorts of non-grant instruments, including commercial loans, as ‘climate finance’. This raises concerns over a poor country repaying debt on commercial loans provided as climate finance. Further, there are no proper rules for accounting when the loans are repaid.
  • According to critics, rulebook does not put adequate emphasis on the adaptation finance needed for developing countries and ‘loss and damage’ finance which is crucial for poor and island nations
  • Further, the rulebook does not incorporate any mechanism to examine the utilization of climate finance flowing to developing nations.

7.Technology:

  • Critics allege that the Paris climate agreement inadequately address the pressing need of developing environment-friendly technology and transfer of technology to ill-equipped nations.

8.Market mechanism on carbon:

  • A major issue riddling climate negotiation has been carbon credit mechanism which witnessed a major setback after most of the developed nations did not commit to the 2nd period of Kyoto Protocol which resulted in accumulation of large amount of unsold carbon credits. A key element of the rulebook was supposed to be the governance framework for a new carbon market. However, consensus on carbon credit market could not be reached due to contradicting views between developing nations like Brazil and developed nations
  1. Development Dilemma:
  • Developing countries face the dual challenge of reconciling their rapid fuel-based economic growth with a pressing need to address climate change. This raises concerns over the successful implementation of the Paris agreement.

10.Exclusion of Private players:

  • The climate change conferences do not incorporate corporate players like Facebook or Google who have huge potential to help fund projects and take part in mass awareness.
  1. Consumer Behaviour
  • A major challenge in successful implementation of any climate change agreements is tweaking the consumer behaviour. For example; for switching to low-carbon economy it is important to nudge people to adopt energy efficient behaviour
  1. Implementation:
  • Critics have raised doubts about effective implementation of the Paris Agreement. This is because the UNFCCC has become primarily a platform to collect and synthesise information and a forum to discuss and debate but lacks tools to drive global collective action against climate change.
  1. Withdrawal of USA
  • Climate change negotiations have more of an economic negotiation rather than collaborative environmental initiative. This can be clearly seen from US’s decision to withdraw from Paris agreement owing to vested economic interests.
India’s stance on Paris Rulebook
1. India has welcomed the Paris Rulebook and stated that it addresses the concerns of all stakeholders and provides roadmap for effective implementation of the Paris Agreement.
2. However, India also opined that provisions of global stocktake did not adequately reflect the principles of equity and differentiated responsibilities.
3. India has been largely satisfied with the finance aspect dealt by the Rulebook-primarily the transparency in climate finance flows
4. However, a certain section in India has advocated that India being the ‘face’ of developing nations should have bargained on the quantum of climate finance

 

Conclusion:

  1. Multi-level engagement: Non-state actors such as business and financial organisations, cities and other subnational governments, intergovernmental organisations and non-governmental organisations should be actively engaged for implementing climate change agreements
  2. Cooperation:Dissenting voices and their concerns must be assuaged and subsequently incorporated into this concerted effort to deal with climate change through effective and meaningful bilateral and regional engagements
  3. Lessons from Montreal: Lessons should be learnt from the successful Montreal Protocol which shows one of the finest examples of international collaboration to address environmental concerns
  4. Domestic Policies: It is important for governments to align domestic policies with respective INDCs in order to effectively implement the Paris agreement. For example: India’s Zero Defect Zero Effect Policy which aims at ensuring zero environmental effect through manufacturing process.
  5. Sectoral Convergence: The focus should not only be on fossil-fuel based industries but Governments will need to scale up climate action in the agriculture, forestry and other land-use sectors.
  6. SDGs and Paris Climate Deal:It is important to align and intertwine the sustainable development goals (SDGs) with the Paris dealfor an efficient method to reduce carbon emissions. For example: Ethiopia addresses both climate and development challenges, with changes to agricultural practices, replanting forests and introducing low-carbon technologies for its infrastructure.
  7. R&D:Research and development in new technology (such as carbon capture and storage, negative emissions technologies and electricity storage) is crucial for a better transition to low carbon economies
  8. Role of Individuals: The most important dimension for success of any environmental policy is the individual. Thus, it is important to raise awareness and educate people about climate change- the biggest challenge of 21st
Posted in Featured EditorialsTagged