Libertatem Magazine

Paris Agreement: A Major Step Towards Climate Friendly Future

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The Conference of Parties to United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change concluded at Paris to which environmentalists, with increased interest, were looking forward to, seem to be making a breakthrough in the negotiations which was going on from 1992 Rio summit for curbing the damage caused by greenhouse. The proposed draft document is a landmark global agreement which came after 2009 Copenhagen’s failed attempt to negotiate global climate change issue. What was decided in 2014 Lima’s Conference as an alternate way for negotiation that every country would be coming up to pose its stance and plans for climate change, is now a successful strategy that has been adopted by the parties. This time, India with other developing countries has also came forward with a strong stance ensuring their participation and responsibilities for global increase in temperature which has primarily resulted in melting of ice layer at the poles.

This historic agreement is strong framework for post-2020 climate targets which is transparent and carries a binding nature with it towards countries so that till 2100, global temperature can be kept below 2 degree Celsius. The agreement also provides for review of the country’s policy in every 5 years of time so that if possible, the country can revisit its policy and contribute more, if needed. The negotiations in Paris also reiterated $100 billion fund by the developed economies for their counterparts every year which according to the Agreement would be the “floor”, which would be made available by 2020. The Agreement also gives a strong signal to the private sector that the economies would now be going towards clean energy resources and such cheaper resources which causes such harmful gases have to be cut down.

The developing countries which were traditionally exempted from any kind of obligation of taking such measures against reducing their contribution to the greenhouse gases have now agreed to be part of the Paris Agreement by way of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), which comes out of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR). This procedure was decided to be used because of the failure of the Parties to come on consensus in Copenhagen because of the tussle of responsibilities between developing and developed economies. Developed economies contended that developing economies should also come on the same footing as theirs because damage caused by developing economies is on a very high growth rate. On the other side, the negotiations led by India and China said that they cannot implicate harsh measures for curbing emissions of gases as it would have negative effect on their growing economies. This draft has been welcomed by many climate activist, as earlier they fear that the negotiations in this conference would fail to come out with a conclusion and there would not have been any chance of coming out with one in future.

Leading the Indian delegation was Environment Minister, Mr. Prakash Javadekar and MoS for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy, Mr. Piyush Goyal. PM Narendra Modi in his inaugural speech of Indian Pavilion at the conference displayed high hopes and welcomed the acceptance of common but differentiated responsibilities by the developed economies. India’s role was very necessary in this conference because of the ever growing industrialisation in the country which is a home for one-sixth of the world’s population and had welcomed the draft. The country which still has around 18,000 villages in dark has its own limitation on its commitment to the world and India‘s commitment towards climate change seems to be an ambitious step and may works as a model of motivation for other developing economies. India has introduced tax-free infrastructure bonds of $794 million for 2015-16 and has also shifted its focus to power generation by use of its abundant solar power and for this $1.4 billion has been allocated to Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission which would target 100 GW of solar energy by 2022. With this, Finance Minister has also stated that the government in future would also be considering the carbon tax on fossil fuel and would also cut petroleum subsidies.

The reason behind this ambitious project of India can be inferred as its agriculture based economy which is most affected sector by climate change.  But still India remained firmed in the use of cheap coal in its industries as it would not have been feasible for the country to compromise industrialisation as it would directly affect the economic growth rate. Some criticism was faced in lieu of this as the world wants India to cut down its volume of power generated through such kind of coal. However, the targets set up by India for 2022 clean energy production suggest that the percentage of power generated through coal would be decreased and dependence on climate friendly power would be greater, though, quantum of coal generated electricity would be greater than ever. PM Modi in Paris too, had not failed to boast his ideas of the solar programmes he implemented in Gujarat when he was in the then Chief minister. With innovative execution of placing solar panels atop of the Sardar Patel dam, Modi lead Gujarat to become largest solar energy producing state. India, together with France, successfully launched its most negotiated proposal of International Solar Alliance. The proposal which was signed by 120 countries, demands creation and helping countries to build infrastructure to produce energy using solar power which would result in shift of dependence from power generated through fossil fuels. The alliance is targeted for countries lying in between Tropics of Cancer and Capricon where solar energy is in abundance.

The countries which were playing a conservative’s role through its like-minded consortium of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa blocking major climate change proposals such as in Copenhagen has now taken into account its required contribution to be made in climate changing scenario. The Indian diplomats were able to manage the friction generated because of its industrial policy and its role at the Paris conference. They were able to satisfy the climate activists throughout the world who were looking forward to policies of fourth largest emitter of carbon and at the same time did not freak out the investors that are arriving in their country. Instead, with the International Solar Alliance and its commitment towards generating 10 GW of solar energy by 2022 would be giving sunrise to a new sector for investment. The Paris Agreement though was able to meet the demands of both the developed and developing economies, the check and balance mechanism would be one to look upon. The people of urban area would be looking forward for the accomplishment of their desire of cleaner air in near future. And such can only be achieved through the achievement of above mention goals with the active assistance and participation of National Green Tribunal.

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