Saturday, September 18, 2021

The Climate Crises: India extends support for successful CoP 26 Summit

“If we have to tackle climate crises, what we are doing today is not enough. We need a global behavioural change”

~ Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Aligning with the vision of PM Narendra Modi, Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav has extended full support to the United Kingdom for the successful CoP (Conference of Parties) 26 Summit to be held in Glasgow in November this year. The Environment Minister also stated that India is always committed to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC) Framework and the Paris Agreement, and will work constructively for a successful and balanced outcome at COP26.

The 26th session of the CoP is set to take place in Glasgow from 9th to 19th November and the session will deal with ways to tackle the crises of climate change and the countries will deliberate on the actions to be taken to curb the rising temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The CoP session comes against the backdrop of the climate report that was released by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), which indicated that the blue planet Earth will hit 1.5 degrees Celsius warming in the coming two decades.

Concerns reflected in IPCC Climate Report

Human activity has increased the threat of climate change in an unprecedented and irreversible way. A report by IPCC, an intergovernmental body of the United Nations that works on analysing climate change suggests that the emission of greenhouse gases need to peak by the year 2025 and there is a need to close fossil fuel power plants over the next decade. Part I of the IPCC report indicated that the planet Earth will hit the crucial warming limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius in two decades. The report has identified emissions and human activities responsible for this grim situation. The session that held over two weeks in the month of July led to the approval of the report by the 195 member governments of the IPCC that forecasted that in the coming decades, heat waves will be extreme in all the regions across the world. Global warming will lead to increased heat waves, longer warm sessions and subsequently shorter cold seasons.

In view of this, Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav has stated, “India believes that Climate actions must be nationally determined and strongly advocates that the differentiation and operationalisation of flexibility provided in the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement for developing countries should be at the core of decision-making.”

Significance of Ozone Layer

With the chemical formula of O3, the Ozone layer protects the Earth from harmful Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Life on Earth would be critical without the presence of the Ozone layer as the plants will be unable to grow in heavy ultraviolet radiations, nor the planktons that serve as food for most of the ocean life will be able to survive. With the depletion of the Ozone layer shield, humans would become more susceptible to skin cancer, cataracts and impaired immune systems. From 1970 onwards, scientists and researchers have discovered humans as the key responsible for disrupting the ozone balance.

Since the 1970s scientists have observed human activities to be disrupting the ozone balance. Production of chlorine-containing chemicals, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), have added to the depletion of the Ozone Layer.

UNFCCC & Paris Agreement

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman met CoP 26 president-designate Alok Sharma and deliberated on various issues related to climate change. On this, the Finance Minister said that India is among a few G20 countries on track towards United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Paris Agreement goals. She further suggested that the government is taking concrete steps and at appreciable speed to meet its commitments on the target of 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030. Recently, 100 GW of renewable energy feat has already been achieved.

India had signed the Paris Agreement on 2nd August 2016 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned that India is well on track to achieve Paris Agreement targets well before the target date of the year 2030. As part of the Paris Agreement, India has three nationally determined contributions (NDCs) that include lowering emissions, increasing power generation away from fossil fuels, and creating a carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tons.

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