Cop 26 Climatic Take away in the divided world

VK Bahuguna

November 19, 2021, 10:14:56   

Cop 26 Climatic Take away in the divided world

(The writer is Chairman of Centre for Resource Management and Environment)
The Conference of Parties (in short known as Cop26) on climate change under the Chairmanship of Britain ended on 13th November 2021 at Glasgow and as usual with very little to cheer at but lot of polemics considering the grim picture painted by the sixth report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published few months before the cop 26. The IPCC report has warned that the world leaders had to work really hard with deep commitment to ensure limiting temperature to 1.5 degrees. The Cop 26 was one of the biggest Cops when large number of heads of States and governments attended the meet and pledged their views and commitment on implementation of Paris Agreement arrived at during 2015. The British Prime Minister termed the meet as very successful and hoped it will signal new trend in uniting the world to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degree Celsius by the end of the century. The environmentalist have however, criticized it saying that the key elements of climate change were side lined and rather ignored. The developed world as usual was harping on stopping use of coal and subsidies on fossil fuel ignoring the ground realities of developing world who are faced with challenges of meeting the energy needs of developmental works and reduction of poverty among the large sections of the world population and at the same time combating the adverse effects of climate change as a large number of people would suffer if these impractical selfish ideas were accepted. However, thanks to India and other developing nation the final agreement toned down the words and pledged to reduce the use of coal and fossil fuel. 

As per the Paris agreement the developed world was supposed to provide 100 billion dollars annually by the year 2020 to the developing countries to meet their targets of adaptation and mitigation. The new technologies and innovative attempts require finances and unless it is done it will be a pipe dream to achieve targets of meeting the targets. The Glasgow declaration is weak on promises especially on loss and damages though the developed countries now agreed to provide the 100 billion dollars by 2023. In reality after 2025 if the net-zero emission targets are to be achieved by 2050 to 2070 at least 500 billion dollars annually would be needed. Further, because of the intransigence of developed world the scope for opening of adequate space for carbon trade is still an issue. In nutshell, the developed world had failed to recognize and accept their historical responsibilityfor emissions in the past and on the contrary in each Cops they pressurise the developing world to opt for impractical conditions. Thus the question of equity and differential responsibility always gets side lined in these negotiations. 

From Indian side there were some positive declarations by the Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi on how Indian proposes to achieve the net-zero emissions by 2070. He announced the ‘Panchamrit’ concept while delivering the National Statement. The PM said the first agenda was to raise the non-fossil fuel based energy capacity of the country to 500 GW by 2030.

Also, by 2030, 50% of the country's energy requirements would be met using renewable energy sources. The country will reduce the total projected carbon emission by one billion tonnes between now and the year 2030. The carbon intensity of the economy would be reduced to less than 45% by 2030 and the final agenda, he said the country would become carbon neutral and achieve net zero emissions by the year 2070. Indian had set a big target as it is on course to achieving its promised commitment as per the Paris agreement. 

Let us see what has Glasgowpact said about the achievements of Cop 26. On mitigation it asks the countries to prop up their climate action plan for 2030 by the next year and also propose to hold ministers meetings to raise the ambitions (as it says!) of climate action plan for 2030.Asked countries to make efforts to reduce usage of coal as a source of fuel, and abolish "inefficient" subsidies on fossil fuels. It called for a phase-down of coal, and phase-out of fossil fuels. This is the first time that coal has been explicitly mentioned in any COP decision. It also led to big fracas at the end, with a group of countries led by India and China forcing an amendment to the word "phase-out" in relation to coal changed to "phase-down". On adaptation it asked the developed countries to at least double the money being provided for adaptation by 2025 from the 2019 levels. The Paris agreement has been good for mitigation goals but silent on adaptation goals. The global goal on adaptation has been missing, primarily because of the difficulty in defining such a target. Unlike mitigation efforts that bring global benefits, the benefits from adaptation are local or regional. On the insistence of developing countries this declaration has proposed a two year programme to define global goal on adaptation. For loss and damages it has been agreed to establish a dialogue on the insistence of developing countries. The carbon market vanished after the end of Kyoto Protocol. The Glasgow Pact has offered some reprieve to the developing nations. It has allowed these carbon credits to be used in meeting countries’ first Nationally Determined Contributions till 2025. 

The Climate Change targets can only be met if the developed world accepts the reality and stop dilly-dallying. The Prime Minister of India as well as the Environment Minister need to take several innovative actions to achieve the targets of net-zero emission by 2070. At the country level we need to integrate and converge the development process with the ecological sustainability and a lot is needed to be done beyond energy sector.