Analysis of Down To Earth Magazine: India's Successes at COP 26_00.1
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Analysis of Down To Earth Magazine: India’s Successes at COP 26

Introduction

  • India called the COP26 summit a “success”, saying it put across the concerns and ideas of the developing world quite “succinctly and unequivocally” in front of the world community.
  • India emerged on the world stage as a global power walking the talk on combating climate change, voicing concerns of the developing world and leading international initiatives to drive change in building an environmentally sustainable world.

What was the Goal of COP 26?

  • The goal of COP 26  was to prevent the average global temperature from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius compared with levels before the Industrial Revolution.
  • That’s the threshold beyond which scientists say the dangers of global warmings — such as deadly heatwaves, water shortages, crop failures and ecosystem collapse — grow immensely.

What is COP 26?

  • COP 26 is the 2021 edition of the United Nations annual climate change conference
  • COP stands for Conference of the Parties. Parties are the signatories of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – a treaty agreed in 1994 which has 197 Parties (196 countries and the EU).
  • The 2021 conference, hosted by the UK, together with their partners Italy, in Glasgow, was the 26th meeting of the Parties, which is why it’s called COP26.
  • United Nations climate change conferences are among the largest international meetings in the world. The negotiations between governments are complex and involve officials from every country in the world as well as representatives from civil society and the global news media.

India’s Commitment at COP 26

  • India will bring its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 GW by 2030.
  • India will bring its economy’s carbon intensity down to 45 per cent by 2030.
  • India will fulfil 50 per cent of its energy requirement through renewable energy by 2030.
  • India will reduce 1 billion tonnes of carbon emissions by 2030.
  • From the total projected emissions by 2030, India will achieve net zero by 2070.

What does India achieve through COP26?

  • India reminded the world that despite being home to 17 per cent of the world’s population, India has been responsible for only 5 per cent of the global emissions. From the cop26 stage, the prime minister announced India’s commitment to “Panchamrit”
  • While India did its bit, the country also reminded the Global North of its unfulfilled commitments.
  • India told the world that while we all are raising our ambitions on climate action, the world’s ambitions on climate finance cannot remain the same as they were at the time of the Paris Agreement.
  • India strongly demanded developed countries to provide climate finance of $1 trillion at the earliest.
  • India also launched the Infrastructure for the Resilient Island States (IRIS), which will work to achieve sustainable development through a systematic approach to promote resilient, sustainable and inclusive infrastructure in Small Island Developing States.
  • A major boost for India-initiated International Solar Alliance (ISA) came when US’s Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry announced at cop26 that the US has joined the ISA as a member country. The membership of ISA thus rose to 101.
  • India also launched the Green Grids Initiative-One Sun One World One Grid (GGI-OSOW) along with the UK.
  • India was successful in getting language inserted regarding support from GEF (Global Environment Facility) to developing countries for ETF (Enhanced Transparency Framework).
  • There are always compromises in negotiations, but India, along with other developing countries, managed to convince developed countries to agree to a transition of pre- 2020 projects/activities, and units from the Clean Development Mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol.
  • India achieved some remarkable results in terms of climate finance issues including a work program on new collective quantified goals, support for the enhanced transparency framework for developing countries, Article 6 rule book, adaptation, common timeframe, at the COP26 negotiations.
  • Our call for countries to have flexibility in defining what is inside and outside our country’s NDC was accepted, and corresponding adjustments based on the authorisation of projects helps us, as it gives us additional flexibility while maintaining the quality of units. The nationally determined nature of accounting remains and that is a positive outcome for India.
  • On adaptation, a two-year work programme has been launched on the global goal, which was a big demand of developing countries.

How India could achieve huge success?

  • Negotiators from nearly 200 countries have accepted a new climate agreement after the COP26 summit in Glasgow with a deal, which recognises India’s intervention for the world to “phase down” rather than “phase out” fossil fuels.
  • The summit proved to be a success from India’s standpoint because we articulated and put across the concerns and ideas of the developing world quite succinctly and unequivocally.
  • India argued that the world needs to awaken to the reality that the current climate crisis has been precipitated by unsustainable lifestyles and wasteful consumption patterns in developed countries.
  • India presented the way for a constructive debate and equitable and just solutions at the forum.
  • Having done its part, India at the summit, asked the developed world for concrete actions in this decisive decade and translation of commitments to actions.
  • India proactively took the lead in creating the International Solar Alliance, Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) and the One Sun, One World, One Sun Grid initiatives as examples of international collaboration to combat climate change.

How did India deal with worldwide criticism?

  • India has been criticised by several countries for the change promoted by it to phase down, rather than phase out coal power, the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • But India replied that fossil fuels and their use have enabled parts of the world to attain high levels of growth. Even now, developed countries have not completely phased out coal.
  • The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) refers to the mitigation of GHG emissions from all sources. UNFCCC is not directed at any particular source.
  • India argued that developing countries have a right to their fair share of the global carbon budget and are entitled to the responsible use of fossil fuels within this scope.
  • India also argued that it is the only G20 nation well on track to achieve the goals mentioned under the Paris Agreement.

Conclusion

The time for blame game has long ended. And that is why India upped its commitment to the cause of saving the planet before demanding others to do their bit. On the whole, cop26 has had a positive outcome.

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