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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS : COP-27: Payback time for rich nations

Source: Indian Express, Indian express, Indian express

 

  • Prelims: Current events of international importance, COP, IPCC, G20 etc
  • Mains GS Paper II: Bilateral, regional and global grouping and agreements involving India or affecting India’s interests, Important international institutions etc

 

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

  • The United Nations Climate Change Conference 2022 — COP27 — opened in Sharm el-Sheikh(Egypt) with the aim of ensuring full implementation of the Paris Agreement adopted in 2015.

      

 

INSIGHTS ON THE ISSUE

Context

COP🙁held annually)

  • It stands for the annual ‘Conference of the Parties’ to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol(1997) or the Paris Agreement.
  • Meetings review the progress made by countries in the fight against climate change and in the implementation of decisions taken in earlier COPs.
  • The first COP meeting was held in Berlin, Germany, 1995.

 

Selection of COP host:

  • The venue for the COP meeting rotates among the five UN-identified regions:
    • Africa
    • Asia-Pacific
    • Eastern Europe
    • Latin America and Caribbean
    • Western Europe and Others.
  • The countries in the region propose a candidate, and a host is usually decided at least two years in advance.

 

Key Findings in COP27:

  • Global warming: It has already touched 1 degrees Celsius
  • Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe
  • The current commitments and policies of different nations will lead to a temperature rise of 8(two point eight)degrees by the end of this century
  • Global warming: To restrict global warming to 5(one point five), carbon emissions must come down 45 per cent by 2030 and touch net zero by 2050
  • Loss and damage: COP27 includes ‘loss and damage’ in the main agenda.

 

Loss and damage:

  • It refers to costs the rich and developed countries, who are majorly responsible for industrial emissions, should pay to poorer nations(made negligible contribution to pollution) but are more vulnerable to extreme climate events –
    • For example: the devastating floods in Pakistan
  • Polluter Pays” principle: It makes the polluter liable for paying not just for the cost of remedial action, but also for compensating the victims of environmental damage caused by their actions.
  • Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) for Loss and Damages(2013): It was the first formal acknowledgment of the need to compensate developing countries struck by climate disasters.

 

Climate change and G20:

  • The G-20 countries account for over 70 percent of global carbon emissions, especially the US and China.

US:

  • Its per capita carbon emissions, declined from over 20 to 14.6 tonnes per capita(still the highest in the world)
    • China is next at 4(eight point four)tonnes per capita and Europe-6.8(six point eight)tonnes per capita.
  • Funding: $369-billion dollar funding for climate action(far less than what was proposed)
  • US Supreme Court’s EPA (Environment Protection Agency): To mandate a progressive reduction in carbon emissions.

China:

  • Net Zero: It has declared 2060 as the year to achieve net zero.
  • China has acted strategically: It developed technologies and competitive manufacturing capacities across the entire range of renewable energy sectors
    • Solar panels to electric vehicles (EVs) and batteries.

India:

 

Paris Agreement:

●    It is a legally binding international treaty on climate change.

●    Adoption: It was adopted by 196 countries at Conference of the Parties COP 21 in Paris, 2015.

●    Goal: To limit global warming to well below 2° Celsius, and preferably limit it to 1.5°(one point five)Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

●    Objective: To achieve the long-term temperature goal, countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate-neutral world by mid-century.

 

 

Way Forward

  • Lead by example: Germany gets 40 percent of its electricity from renewables, and has decided to have a fossil fuel-free electricity system by 2035.
    • So has California in the US.
  • The advanced economies: They should ideally aim at achieving carbon-free electricity systems by 2030.
    • Though challenging, but not beyond the technological capacities of these economies.
  • Europe: Ending the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035(UK has already set 2030)
    • The increasing share of renewables in the electricity system will decarbonise EV transport
  • Hydrogen: It can be a substitute for fossil fuels.
    • Green hydrogen made from renewables is one such solution.
  • Lower tax rates: A rapid transition can be promoted by having lower tax rates for goods whose production has low to zero carbon emissions.

 

QUESTION FOR PRACTICE

  1. Describe the major outcomes of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). What are the commitments made by the India conference? (UPSC 2021)

(200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)