Built on the foundations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Copenhagen and Cancun Agreements, the Paris agreement requires all countries irrespective of being developed or developing—to make significant commitments to address climate change. Adopted on December 12, 2015, it is seen as a great inflexion point since, at present, every nation on this Earth have adopted the Paris agreement to keep the global average temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius. This clearly brings to light the necessity of addressing climate change, especially now when there is this eternal race of blindfolded development and growth that we are turning away our eyes from the quintessential resources that support and sustain our life.
What lies at the core of the Paris Agreement are Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs, which are basically the climate actions that are outlined and pledged by every country towards the achievement of the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement. What makes this agreement differ is that through this agreement, the countries have pledged to walk together on the path to keep the global average temperature to well under a 2 degrees Celsius rise from pre-industrial levels. While the Paris Agreement does not tend to solve the issue of climate change, “This agreement sets us on a course of verifiable gains we can build on over time.”, says Rhea Suh, Former President, Natural Resources Defence Council.
Now let us talk about the contributions that India must have pledged and how is it going to keep up with those pledges.
India had ratified the Paris agreement on climate change in 2016 to become the 62nd nation to sign the treaty.
Being the world’s fourth-largest emitter of the greenhouse, India pledged to
- Reduce the greenhouse gas emission intensity of its GDP by 33-35% below 2005 levels by 2030.
- Base 40% of its power capacity on non-fossil fuel sources.
- Create an additional ‘carbon sink’ of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of Co2 which is equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
Well, this moment if for us to be not just very proud but more importantly very surprised because India is running on track not just to achieve but also achieve two commitments under the agreement before the deadline, thanks to the National Electricity Plan (NEP) of 2018. The non-fossil power generation capacity will reach 60–65% in 2030 as projected being parallel to a 40–44% share of electricity generation. It will help India in emerging as a global climate leader with a “1.5˚C compatible” rating. Further, the investments in Renewables can lead to a decline in their future cost and can compensate for fossil fuel-based energy resources.
Sadly though, the third deadline is a bit far-fetched considering that India’s CO2 emissions rose by 4.8% in 2018. According to the reports, 68% of India’s greenhouse gas emissions come from energy production, because of the emissions from coal power plants.
Now when the Modi Sarkaar is in power again, it is imperative for them to work along these lines in the field of renewables and update and modify its trajectory, considering its National Electricity Mission Mobility Plan with its initial commitment to a “100% share of electric vehicles in new sales by 2030”.
At this particular moment, India’s Green India Mission is failing. The Green India Mission, aimed at “protecting, restoring and enhancing India’s diminishing forest cover and responding to climate change” is way behind than what it was expected to be. India now plans to improve ecosystem services like carbon sequestration, hydrological services, and biodiversity and provisioning services like fuel, fodder, and timber and non-timber forest produces with an aim to increase the forest-based livelihood income for about three million households too. Focus is also to be laid on the fact that the aim is not just to increase the forest cover by planting trees irrespective of the soil and weather conditions which may cause drought and hinder the ecological services but to rely upon the sustainable and the natural growth in the region. India is already pitching advanced countries for financial and technological aids. Also quoted by Modi Ji was his idea about the decisive step of forming the International Solar Alliance with France at the UNESCO headquarters which could further lead to the strengthening of goals and fulfilment of purpose.
It is high time now that we decide to fund programs in sectors vulnerable to climate change. India is clearly reflecting its efforts in recognizing what Prime Minister Modi has described as the biggest challenge facing mankind and we Indians need to reciprocate too, in order to “turn the action we’ve pledged into the progress we need” or else we would have to “pay the price for reckless habits that wreak havoc and ruin on our planet and lives”.