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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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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;
- 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.
- 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.
- 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,
- 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.
- 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
- 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?
- First, the Paris Agreement should have changes in line with the sustainable development of countries with per capita emissions below the global average
- Second, the verifiable measure should be well-being within ecological limits.
- Third, international cooperation to facilitate sharing technology of electric vehicles and hydrogen as a fuel.
Source: The Hindu