India Needs to be Proactive on Climate Change Obligations

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NEW DELHI: India may have succeeded in getting the December 2016 deadline for ratification of Paris Agreement on Climate Change put away at the recently concluded G 20 Summit, New Delhi would have to reduce dependence on coal fired electricity and work on climate friendly transport and urban planning, sooner than later, to comply with its international obligations, an ASSOCHAM paper has said.

According to the Paper on “Implications for Paris Climate Agreement”, the commitments to mitigate the CO2 emissions may even go beyond 1.5 degree Celsius.

To its respite, the final communiqué of the Group of 20 Nations, which included India, the US, China, Russia among others, skipped setting the deadline for ratification of the Paris Convention which had set obligations for reducing emissions both for the developed and developing countries.  The issue is likely to dominate proceedings of the upcoming UN General Assembly later this month as well.

But that could be only a temporary relief as India is now taken more as a “part of the solution” than a problem, implying there are more obligations on the country which, however, needs to meet its fast growing energy requirements in sync with its status of the fastest expanding economy of the world.

“The climate change has emerged as one of the most important political agenda in the developed countries. Along with other issues like national security, the climate change is being debated and used as an important part of the ongoing electioneering in the US for the Presidential polls. Thus, it is better to get associated with the solutions. However, as a leading voice of the emerging economies, India must keep up the pressure on the rich nations to fulfill their obligations for contributing USD 100 billion for technology development and transfer to reduce the global emission”, said ASSOCHAM.

The Paris Agreement among 195 countries requires that by 2020, India may have to formulate a long-term low green house gas emission development strategy centered around the mid-century.  While India’s CO2 emissions are much lower than those of most developed nations and China, the high level of the carbon emissions in India are driven largely by over dependence on coal fired thermal stations for electricity.

While the Paris Agreement is legally binding on the signatory countries under the UN Framework pact, there are no consequences if commitments are not breached. “However, India would not like to fall in the category of nations not fulfilling its obligations”, said ASSOCHAM.

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