India’s policy towards Climate change

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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