Climate change is a reality that cannot be wished away. No country in the world could remain isolated from its impacts, as it is not dependent on any one country’s actions or inactions alone. India has already started to experience the heat of the change in the climate system. Unseasonal rainfall, extreme spells of heat wave, diametrically opposite cold spells are all its consequences, and its results on food production, health, etc.
The just concluded Madrid Conference on Climate Change or CoP25 deliberated on how to complete the action plan to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement from 2020.
The two-weeklong conference reviewed the scientific warnings on the impact of climate change and its attendant consequences and actions to save the globe from the catastrophic cost on humankind. UN agency, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had warned that unless nations scale up their actions from the present level, we could not achieve the desired level to mitigate the damages already inflicted on the nature.
The most serious warning came from the UN Environmental Programme in its ‘Emission Gap Report 2019’, which said, “We are on the brink of missing the opportunity to limit global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius.”
IPCC had in its Special Report, based on thousands of scientific references warned that global warming is likely to rise to 1.5 degree Celsius above the pre-industrial levels between 2030 and 2052, if global warming continues to increase at the current rate.
The 2015 agreement arrived at the Paris Climate Summit was the first convergence of nations onto a common cause to undertake efforts to combat climate change. The key objective of the Paris Agreement was to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Madrid conference thus had an ambitious target in getting all nations agree to adhere to a global action plan.
China, India, the European Union and the United States accounted for almost 60 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion in 2017. India had pledged to reduce
emission intensity of its green-house gas emissions per unit of GDP by 33-35 percent over 2005 levels by 2030. India is expected to meet its unconditional target with current policies and projected to exceed its target by more than 15 percent. New Delhi’s commitment to enhance its ambition for reducing carbon dioxide emissions dwells on four key initiatives – transmission from coal-fired power plants to non-fossil fuel sources, developing an economy-wide green industrialisation strategy towards zero-emission technologies, expanding mass public transit systems and, national electric mobility – 100 per cent new sales of zero-emission cars.
India projected Mahatma Gandhi’s wisdom of sustainable development at the Madrid Conference – espousing his philosophy of minimising wants and living with simplicity. India said, it is implementing ambitious solutions to deal with the issue of climate change, based on principles of sustainable consumption and production.
“India has reduced emissions intensity of GDP by 21 per cent and is on track to achieve the goal of 35 per cent emissions reduction as promised in Paris,” Prakash Javadekar, Head of the Indian delegation and Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change told the CoP25. He also claimed India was one of the top six global performers when it came to taking climate action.
According to the Minister, India had already installed 83 Gigawatt, out of the 175 Gigawatt renewable energy target set for it in the Paris commitment, and was now planning to raise the target to 450 Gigawatt.
Climate science is clear: the world faces a massive ecological and humanitarian crisis. The climate emergency is the defining and most urgent issue of our time, and it cannot be avoided without a global shift away from fossil-fuel dependency.
Script: N. Bhadran Nair, Executive Editor, Indian Science Journal