Time to set ourselves a carbon-neutrality goal

Source: Livemint

Relevance: Future course of action to for India in keeping its Paris commitment

Synopsis: India should take steps to fix itself specific carbon neutrality targets so that we can have a healthy carbon market in India.

Background

Right now, our average mercury reading is at least 1.2° Celsius higher than it was before the debut of industrial exhaust. On our current trajectory, by an estimate of the Climate Action Tracker, we are on course for an average of almost 3° Celsius more than the pre-industrial level by century-end.

What is carbon neutrality?

  • Carbon neutrality refers to that situation when carbon emissions are equal to absorptions in carbon sinks.
  • It is the balance between emitting carbon and absorbing carbon emissions from carbon sinks and refers to achieving net-zero carbon dioxide emissions.
Sub-continent is vulnerable 

Recent studies suggest that apart from Arctic countries, the subcontinent would bear the brunt of a 3° Celsius increase in temp, in terms of crop distortion or sea elevation, the survival of species or the extra-humid heat.

In this scenario, we may even be exposed to temperatures a degree or two above 3°C. To avert this from happening, the global mean must go no more than a third of a degree higher than it already has (i.e. no more than 2°C)

Paris target is possible

America has stated that it will go carbon neutral by 2050 and China declared its goal to do likewise by 2060.  According to climate trackers, this means that our Paris target of 2° is well within possible limits. But, this also means that we’d still overshoot our 1.5° danger mark by half a degree Celsius.

What must India do?

India must set itself a carbon-neutrality date. For all the climate action we’ve taken, we still need a firm target from which quotas can be derived for a carbon market of our own. China, which launched a national one recently, has emission permits trading at some $8 per tonne. We need price discovery, too.

We should move swiftly on a cap-and-trade exchange.

 

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