Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the Climate Change Confererence (COP)-21 in Paris tomorrow, November 30, 2015 to face one of the major challenges to his government’s diplomatic efforts in the global arena.
Mr Modi will address the meeting of International Solar Alliance with Prime Minister of France, Mr. François Hollande and attend ‘Mission Innovation’ being hosted by US President Barack Obama.
“Leaving for Paris, where I will join CoP-21. In the Summit, we will deliberate on crucial issues relating to environment and climate change,” tweeted Mr Modi before his departure.
India has long stuck to its “Equity and Common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities,” which Minister Prakash Javadekar described as absolutely fair and rejected US criticism.
“What we are asking for is absolutely fair and the developed world must recognize that they have to atone for the historical carbon emissions that they have been putting out in the atmosphere for over 150 years in their search for prosperity,” he said.
India submitted on October 2 the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) stating it would slash carbon emissions by 33-35 percent over 15 years, in consonance with the own sustainable development agenda.
To be more specific, IARI (Indian Agricultural Research Institute) Climate Change scientist Dr Naresh Kumar Soora, says agriculture should be spared from the green house gas (GHG) emissions purview since it is basic for humanity’s survival in majority of countries. India’s stand should be three-pronged — consisting of green technologies, sharing of knowledge base and timely intervention, he said.
Further, Dr Soora said, “A Green Agriculture Fund as part of the Green Fund should be set up and a consortium of countries for exchange of green technologies should be formed.”
The Conference of Parties (CoP-21) will also have India Pavilion, showcasing India’s efforts to mitigate climate change, in view of hostile environment it is likely to face from the US and other developed countries to increase the Green Fund contributions.
The 21st United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP21) will see 150 heads of states to reach consensus on a single agreement on tackling climate change to cap the rate of global warming at 2 degrees Celsius from the current 2.5 to 3.76 degrees Celsius.
While advocating reduction in fossil fuels, it will also focus on cleaner energies such as wind or solar power and India is in the forefront with its INDCs announced and envisaging a long-term plan to increase solar and win energy usage in the country.
Unless the global warming is not capped at 2 degree celsius, there is likelihood of faster melting of glaciers and polar ice caps triggering rise in sea level which may affect the coastal areas and submerge many island nations in the Pacific.
Other side-effects include longer droughts, evaporation of water resources causing immense shortage of drinking water and even developed nations will be at greater risk. While the British Prince Charles was among those who hinted at the root cause of global warming behind global refugee crises such as Syria, citing a July report by experts that warned that the food and water shortages will give rise to human conflict for resources.
In 2014, NASA recorded the global carbon emissions with China on the top as the biggest polluter, followed by the US, the European Union, India, Russia and Japan, despite the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and 2009 Copenhagen Summit resolution. The proposed Green Fund to be set up with $100 billion to help developing countries to reach their emissions goals by 2020, however, remained dormant still.
India has been arguing that the pollutoer should pay and that the developed countries must foot the bill for the fund and pay their contributions, while the US insists that India and China should cut emissions drastically.
Both India and China have submitted new INDCs, which US Secretary of State John Kerry described recently as not satisfactory.
The Paris summit is likely to deliberate on all the INDCs submitted by 196 countries but experts believe that the individual country submissions will be deferred to sub-committees and annual conference during the next five years for scrutiny and follow-up.
Sunita Narain of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has pointed out that the outcome of the summit may focus more on the procedures and sidestep the tricky issue of review of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions.
However, experts hope that the solar alliance may get boost during the summit and many nations may agree in-principle to cut CO2 emissions by 2-3 billion tonnes by 2030 through afforestation and green push. The controversial Green fund will remain controversial as ever, though.