By: K V VENKATASUBRAMANIAN, Senior Journalist
In less than 100 days from now, world leaders are expected to gather in Glasgow in the United Kingdom to deliberate on measures to combat climate change. More than 190 world leaders are expected at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP26. Hosted by the UK in partnership with Italy, the conference will take place from October 31 to November 12.
Ahead of the Glasgow meeting, energy and environment ministers from the Group of 20 developed nations assembled for two days in Naples in Italy from July 22. The 16th G20 Summit, under the Italian Presidency, focused on three broad, interconnected pillars of action — “People, Planet and Prosperity”.
India was represented virtually by a delegation led by Union Environment, Forests, and Climate Change Minister Bhupender Yadav. The Minister told the delegates that India remains steadfast in its commitments to join and lead efforts to fight climate change within the multilaterally agreed convention and its Paris Agreement.
The Paris Accord, adopted by 196 countries in 2015, is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to the pre-industrial level (1850 to 1900). The agreement aims at shifting the global economy off fossil fuels to a cleaner, safer and healthier future. Hence, the meeting assumes significance at a time when stakeholders are exploring various options to reach the Paris goals.
India emphasised its commitment to work with them for a better world, leaving no one behind. New Delhi stands together in solidarity with the global community in mounting a strong and effective response that secures the health of the planet and its people. India urged the G20 nations, with per capita greenhouse gas emissions above the global average, to reduce the levels, thereby vacating ‘some’ carbon space for developing nations. The developed world occupies 67 to 75 percent of carbon space.
India has progressed significantly in achieving its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) targets while staying committed to meeting its climate goals under the Paris Agreement. India is the only major economy with actions in line to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels.
Against the targeted emission reduction of 33 to 35 percent by 2030, India has already achieved 28 percent over 2005 levels. At this pace, it is all set to exceed its NDC commitments before 2030. India has already accomplished 38.5 percent installed capacity from renewables.
India’s per capita emissions are just about one-third of the global average. Even so, it is working on several measures to help reduce pollution and facilitate commitments made at the Paris conference. These actions include clean electricity, ethanol blending with fossil fuels, green mobility, battery storage, and green hydrogen.
In a Joint Communiqué, the G20 nations acknowledged the importance of a science-based approach in policymaking. The countries agreed that decarbonization was a necessary goal. However, there were two points of disagreement. The conference could not arrive at a consensus on the wording of a key climate change commitment in their final communique, according to Italy’s Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani.
The other point concerned the wording surrounding a 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius limit on global temperature increases–set by the 2015 Paris Agreement. The countries also remained at odds over how to pay for costly policies to reduce global warming.
India reminded the rich nations of the principle of ‘equity’. It said any solution to the global crisis must not be at the cost of “developing countries’ competitiveness”.
The G20 meeting is a decisive step ahead of the Glasgow climate talks. The Naples meet was held in the backdrop of weather events. Nations have been battling climate-related catastrophies. Deadly floods devastating parts of Western Europe and massive wildfires in the United States and Siberia this month have underlined the urgent need for climate action.