Negotiating the new global climate policy (The Hindu, GS-3, Environment)

Negotiating the new global climate policy (The Hindu, GS-3, Environment)

Context:- According to the policy of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report reaching net zero alone is not enough as it is the cumulative emissions must be attained to net zero and that a global policy which  considers only current emissions will not limit global warming and its adverse effects.

Restricting well-being:-

  • Development already uses their carbon space causing the climate problem and developing countries are being pressured by the developed countries to limit their use of the remaining space as the solution to climate change. 
  • India proposed that major economies bring down their own per capita emissions to the global average by 2030 at the G20 Climate and Energy Ministerial summit.
  • Reframing negotiations in terms of bringing down per person emissions, or a sustainable human well being is a necessary first step in achieving net zero of current emissions by 2050.
  • Varying levels of per capita emissions converging to a common point will allow developed economies and economies in transition who have already used more than their fair share of the carbon space a larger share of the remaining space than countries such as India.

Per capita emissions:-

  • The world stands at 6.55 tonnes of carbon dioxide in per capita greenhouse gas emissions. 
  • India’s per capita emission stands at 1.96 tonnes is less than one third
  • Emissions of the United States, Canada and Australia are more than two half times.
  • Germany, the United Kingdom, France and China are above 6.4 tonnes and are just below the global average respectively.
  • Accepting ‘net zero’ emissions by 2050 will definitely prevent India’s urbanisation and shift of the rural population to urban.
  • With just one fourth of the global population contributing over 60% of global cumulative emissions.
  • The U.S.A. alone has contributed the global greenhouse gases around 980 Million ton for its high standard of living.

Emission sources:-

  • Infrastructure
  • Construction
  • Essential for urbanisation 
  • Quality of living which is responsible for two­ fifths of global carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion.
  • These emissions from energy intensive cement production
  • Steel production used in construction
  • Emissions for and by the expressways 
  • The urban boom in the U.S. and Europe between 1950 and 2000.

Ideas and its implications

  • New ideas such as ‘climate justice’ have three strategic implications
  1. A focus on drivers and patterns of natural resources at the same time on anthropogenic emissions in considering solutions
  2. The causes of greenhouse gas emission become important when there is a shift of the population from rural to urban areas. 
  3. The IPCC report has reiterated that
    1. Impacts 
      1. such as a rise in sea level
      2. Variability of rainfall and temperature increases will be irreversible.
  4. Multilateral cooperation must shift from common rules based monitoring emissions to common goals of human well being as a universal human right based on a policy consensus.

Way forward:-

  • There is a need for a debate on what society values and what are societal priorities or market exchange and pricing mechanisms determine what is to be valued, produced, and consumed. 
  • With consumption of the urban middle class it has become clear that the rising prosperity of the poor and their need for infrastructure is not endangering planetary life support systems.
  • Because of different civilisational values the consumption of the middle class in developing countries is less wasteful when compared with the first phase of urbanisation. 
  • These socio­economic trends which are not captured in the climate models based on natural sciences designed for countries must be included now in global policy.
  • scientific advice and implementation review must be established to ratchet up commitments and this advice must move away from regulating emissions to recognising the ecological limits.
  • Sharing prosperity should be the objective of new intergovernmental mechanisms at the global level which must include the involvement of the private sector such as supporting solar energy, joint research in new crop varieties and exchanging experiences on infrastructure viability.


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