SUBJECT :COP-21 

 As Prime Minister Narendra Modi today reached Paris for the world conference on climate change where he is expected to officially clear India’s stand on various climate-related issues, the government said it won’t be bullied by developed nations.

At the summit, the PM is expected to speak on the relevance of CBDR (common but differentiated responsibilities) and the responsibility of developed nations in curbing emissions along with adaptation, development and access to climate-related technology at affordable prices.

Before leaving for the ‘COP 21’ summit, the Prime Minister, in his radio programme “Mann Ki Baat”, emphasised equal responsibility for all nations to work against global warming. His views assume significance amid attempts by developed nations to place greater responsibility on developing countries such as India in curbing emissions.  “The whole world is worried about climate change. There are discussions everywhere over it and concerns are being raised... The temperature of the Earth should not increase further. 

It is the responsibility and concern of all,” he said

The COP 21 hopes to bring together the world for a next-generation agreement to tackle climate change. The main idea would be to cap the rate of global warming at 2 degrees Celsius. But achieving a consensus on the issue may not be as simple as it may sound.

As India prepares to fight its case on various issues, including funding, historic responsibility and CBDR, it has already come under "unprovoked criticism” from US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Responding to US’ concerns that India will be a “challenge” at the summit, Environment Minister Prakash Javedkar has said "India cannot be bullied". “You can't bully India, the message is clear. Developed countries need to provide carbon space to developing countries,” Javadekar was quoted as saying, putting on record India's stance at the conference.

"We will not be opposing but we will be proposing real changes needed to ensure we have a balanced growth and balanced environment. There should be a durable agreement and we need to trust each other," he said. 

While India has been maintaining that developed countries, as major polluters over the centuries, should assume greater role, including through funding and transferring low-cost technology to developing nations, in fighting global warming, reports suggest developed nations henceforth want this differentiation between developed and developing countries to go. In other words, arguing on the status of current emissions of countries like India and China, the US in particular is believed to be pushing for doing away with the concept of “historical responsibility” for once and all.

Contrary to the requirement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), it wants the Paris text to specify the concept of “collective” responsibility of all in curbing emissions. The developed nations probably also want the developing nations to contribute to the climate funds in the future.  Even though several sticking points remain, before leaving for the tough negotiations Indian officials were confident that Paris will yield a “just and acceptable” agreement.  

Apart from finance and technology transfer issues, India is also contending the point whether individual countries’ climate actions should be subject to uniform scrutiny and assessment. India believes here too a different set of principles should govern developed and developing nations.


What is climate change

  • The planet's climate has constantly been changing over geological time
  • The global average temperature today is about 15°C, though geological evidence suggests it has been much higher and lower in the past
  • However, the current period of warming is occurring more rapidly than many past events
  • Scientists are concerned that the natural fluctuation, or variability, is being overtaken by a rapid human-induced warming that has serious implications for the stability of the climate

All you need to know about COP21

What summit aims to achieve

  • Almost 150 heads of state are heading to Paris for COP21 (the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties), one of the most important environmental meetings in decades
  • Ahead of the summit, over 175 countries have tabled pledges (known as intended nationally determined contributions, or INDCs) to cut their carbon emissions
  • These, if enacted, would be enough to limit global warming to 2.7°C
  • But the United Nations has pledged to limit climate change to 2°C and would much prefer it to be 1.5°C
  • Although nobody is expecting an agreement that will guarantee to limit global warming to 2°C, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres is determined to enshrine a process that paves the way for the world to be able to meet that target further down the line 

What kind of steps are needed

  • The UN's climate chief, Christiana Figueres, the EU and many, though not all, countries want any agreement in Paris to include a "rachet mechanism"
  • This would require countries to revisit - and hopefully increase - their emissions pledges every five years as green technology progresses 
  • There are also hopes that a longer-term goal can be established that goes beyond 2030
  • This might take the form of a goal to phase out fossil fuels by, say, 2050
  • Shorter term actions governing the period between 2020 and 2030-during which there are no climate goals-could also be agreed
  • A system to monitor whether countries are meeting their emissions pledges will also need to be worked out

Talks amid tight security 

  • 120,000 police and troops already mobilised across France ahead of the attacks
  • 8,000 police and gendarmes personnel to carry out checks on the border 
  • 2,800 security personnel are stationed at the conference venue at Le Bourget north of Paris
  • 1,000 people considered security risks refused entry to France since the Paris attacks

Snapshots

Valletta (Malta)
C’wealth for binding deal 

The Commonwealth has vowed to work towards an ambitious, durable and legally-binding deal at the Paris Climate Summit and sought adequate financial assistance to poor countries to help them cut green house gas emissions. The 53-nation bloc, which represents around a third of the world's population, called for urgent global response in checking global warming. PTI

Beijing
China ‘meets’ climate targets  

China, the world's top emitter of greenhouse gases, has achieved the pollution reduction targets for major pollutants six months ahead of schedule, Chinese government has claimed as President Xi Jinping today left for Paris to attend the UN conference on climate change. PTI

London 
Thousands march in UK

Over 50,000 campaigners today turned out here in the British capital in one of the largest marches taking place across the world, demanding world leaders to take urgent action to clinch a deal to tackle climate change at the critical UN summit in Paris. PTI

Paris
Indian pavilion on nature

India's harmony with nature, climate action plans to curb carbon emissions as well as an e-book depicting how the country has been environmentally conscious over the ages will be showcased at its pavilion to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the crucial climate summit which kicks off tomorrow. AP


Source: The Tribune, Chandigarh