In what could be described as a victory for India at the ongoing G20 summit, it and other developing countries were able to provide language on what actions need to be taken to achieve climate goals.
According to reports, countries have been asked to act on their commitments to climate change – including financing green energy plans in the developing world and reducing wasteful consumption as the second G20 summit takes place in Rome, Italy.
This is the first time that the G20 has identified sustainable and responsible consumption and production, along with financing and technology as “critical enablers” to achieve the climate goals of keeping 1.5 degrees within reach. This is in line with the Prime Minister’s vision to promote the sustainable lifestyles logo around the world. Sustainable consumption and responsible production patterns come from SDG 12, and it aims to encourage developed countries to reduce their energy-intensive luxury lifestyles.
In addition, the sources reported that India paid and got a commitment from the G20 members to improve the livelihoods of small and marginal farmers. The sources added that the G20’s focus is now on marginal farmers and not just “fat cats”.
Why is India emphasizing climate change?
Earlier this year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the main UN climate change watchdog, said the world needed to immediately begin taking extraordinary steps to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above predetermined levels. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, actions were also pledged at the historic conference. The 2015 Paris meeting of the COP was neither ambitious enough nor appropriate to tackle the climate crisis. The Paris meeting saw more than 190 countries agree to work towards limiting temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, with a 1.5 degree threshold cited as the best case scenario.
However, she noted, the current state of emissions puts the planet on track to record a warming of about 2.7°C by the end of this century. To avoid this, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said, global carbon dioxide emissions must reach “net zero” around 2050. Net zero means that a country produces only so much carbon dioxide that it can absorb from the atmosphere by Plant more trees or deploy technologies – so far in their early stages – to sequester emissions.
This call paved the way for the developed world to push for the universalization of the net-zero target, which means that rich and poor countries will need to achieve this goal together by the 1950s. The likes of the US and UK have committed to achieving net zero by 2050 while China has said it will be carbon neutral by 2060. But developing countries see net zero as an attempt by rich countries to skew it to compromise priorities such as economic growth and poverty eradication.
What is India’s position?
Before leaving for Europe, Prime Minister Modi said in a statement that, at the Glasgow meeting, he “highlights the need to comprehensively address climate change issues, including equitable distribution of the carbon space, support for mitigation, adaptation and resilience-building measures, mobilization of finance and technology transfer.” and the importance of sustainable lifestyles for green and inclusive growth.” In short, this captures the essence of expectations for the developing countries that will attend the meeting.
India is part of a group of 24 “Like-Minded Developing Countries” (LMDCs) on the issue of climate change, which, in the run-up to the meeting, organized a virtual meeting in which they criticized the “history of broken promises” and the “unfair call for net zero by 2050” Noting the “lack of ambition” regarding climate goals by major developed countries and their attempt to “transform the Paris Agreement targets from already agreed by calling on all countries to adopt net-zero targets by 2050”.
What has India done about climate change?
In his statement, Prime Minister Modi also said he would participate in COP26 “India’s excellent record on climate action and our achievements”.
Today, India is setting new records in the collective efforts of climate adaptation, mitigation, resilience and forging multilateral alliances. India is among the first countries in the world in terms of installed renewable energy, wind and solar energy.”
With the Prime Minister talking about India’s “tradition of living in harmony with nature and a culture of deep respect for the planet”, it was pointed out that developed nations still have a much larger carbon footprint than their poorer counterparts. For example, annual per capita carbon dioxide emissions in the United States were more than 15 tons, China nearly 8 tons in 2018, while India’s was 1.8 tons.
The EU’s environment ministry had told Parliament earlier this year that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement “recognize and recognize that emissions of developing countries, including India, will rise due to their social and development needs” and that “India’s annual and cumulative emissions from where absolute and per capita values are significantly low” and that “the impact of global warming on India is largely due to emissions from developed countries and other large sources of emissions”.