ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Climate: The Global Commons

Climate justice followed by climate finance are the prerequisites for the success of COP26.


In the run-up to the Conference of the Parties (COP26), amidst the mounting pressure on developing countries to curb emissions, there is a deafening silence on the historical cumulative global emissions that heated the earth by 1.1% above the pre-industrial levels. Failure to arrest emissions will raise the temperature of the planet; immediate action is needed in the absence of which the rise in sea levels and unpredictable weather changes accompanied by cyclones and storms may make a huge part of the planet uninhabitable. Greenhouse gases (GHGs) like carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and nitrous oxides (NOx) contribute to global warming but each has a different harming potential. CO2 stays in the atmosphere for the longest, whereas methane heats the planet 80 times more than CO2 in the first 20 years of its release, although it is subject to weathering; it exits the atmosphere after some years.

Although India is the third largest emitter of CO2—2.65 gigatonnes (Gt)—its per capita share is just 1.96 tonnes, 21st in the descending order of magnitude. Contrarily, the historical emissions place India as a fairly low emitter. India’s lead in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 1992, by introducing Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC), paved the way for the principle of equity and climate justice. In COP26, India’s promise on five points deserve accolade: to power 50% of our energy needs from renewable sources; increasing the renewable installed capacity to 500 gigawatts (GW) by 2030 from the present 100 GW; reducing the total emission to 1 billion tonnes from its projected emissions from now till 2030; reducing the carbon intensity of the economy by 45% by 2030; and pledging net zero by 2070. India represents 17% of the global population, but its historical cumulative emissions are only 4% of the global emissions (Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change).

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Updated On : 20th Nov, 2021
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