COP 28: India’s equity demand

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COP 28: India’s equity demand

  • There is an almost linear relationship between global warming and cumulative carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
  • This highlights the urgent need for equitable sharing of the global carbon budget.

UNFCCC and Paris Agreement

  • The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change's (UNFCCC) recognises the ‘common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities’ (CBDR-RC) principle.
  • This principle has been reaffirmed in the Paris Agreement.
    • To hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels’
    • Pursue efforts “to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels”.

Global Carbon Budget

  • Limiting the rise in global temperature to a specific level means limiting cumulative carbon dioxide emission to within a carbon budget.
    • According to the IPCC AR6, every 1,000 billion tonnes of CO2 in emissions causes an estimated 0.45 degrees Celsius rise in the global surface temperature.
  • The term ‘global carbon budget’ refers to the maximum cumulative global anthropogenic CO2 emissions,crucial for limiting global warming.
    • From the pre-industrial era to when such emissions reach net- zero
  • With approximately four-fifths of the global carbon budget already depleted, there is a need for strategic national resource management.

Responsibility for Cumulative Emissions

  • The IPCC AR6 indicates that developed countries have appropriated a disproportionately larger share of the global carbon budget.
  • Contrary to this, South Asia, including India, has a significantly lower contribution to historical cumulative emissions.

Carbon Budget's Relevance for India

  • India must recognize its 'fair share of the carbon budget' as a strategic national resource, depleting rapidly due to over-exploitation by developed countries.
  • Failure to assert India's share may result in unfavourable terms, akin to new colonial techniques.
    • In almost all the emissions scenarios estimated by the IPCC, the world breaches an increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels in the early 2030s.

Global Energy Scenario

  • There is continued dominance of non-renewable energy sources, with oil, coal, and gas accounting for the majority of the world's total energy in 2022.
    • In 2022 oil, coal and gas accounted for 30%, 27% and 23% of the world’s total energy.
    • Solar and wind energy together contributed only 2.4%.
  • Developed countries' insistence on rapid, economy-wide changes is challenged, especially considering the constraints faced by developing nations.

India's Development and Climate Change Mitigation

  • NITI Aayog-UNDP’s Multidimensional Poverty Index Report 2023 review
  • India has been able to lift more than 135 million poor out of poverty in less than five years (2015-2021).
  • India has also just extended food security welfare measures to more than 800 million people, under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY).
  • Development is called as the primary defence against climate change, citing India's success in poverty eradication and welfare measures.
  • It questions the duration of developing countries' diversion of resources to address global issues created by developed nations.

India's Initiatives and Alliances

  • The Indian government has led from the front to foster international consensus to tackle climate change.
  • Through initiatives like the International Solar Alliance, the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and the Global Biofuel Alliance.
  • Through the ‘Lifestyle for Environment’ (LiFE) mission, the Indian government also aims to spread awareness of good lifestyle practices and establish that sustainable lifestyles are the best way forward.

India's Demands at COP 28

  • Scientists estimate that at a conservative price of $50/tCO2-eq, developed countries’ carbon debt to the world is pegged at over $51 trillion.
  • Based on India’s historical emissions (1850- 2019), it has a carbon credit equivalent of 338 GtCO2eq. equal to around $17 trillion at $50/tCO2eq.
  • Stronger commitments from developed countries are required, with a focus on finance and technology, as promised in 1992.
  • Ahead of COP 28, India should demand a fair share of its carbon budget or equivalent reparations for historical emissions.