Comprehensive News Analysis

UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis. Dec15th, 2023 CNA. Download PDF l www.insightdaily.in


D. GS 4 Related

E. Editorials


Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. COP28 — many a slippery slope ahead

Syllabus: GS-3, Conservation, Environmental pollution and degradation

Mains: COP28

Context:​ The 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) held in Dubai marked a pivotal moment in the global effort to combat climate change. Tasked with conducting the first five-yearly global stocktake under the Paris Agreement, COP28 aimed to assess progress, set emission reduction targets, and address critical issues such as adaptation, financing, and support for developing nations.

Issues Discussed at COP28

  • Global Stocktake Findings
    • The reports emphasized the urgent need to restrict global heating to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
    • Increasing occurrences of severe heat waves, droughts, forest fires, floods, and rising sea levels underscored the pressing nature of climate change.
  • Focus on Fossil Fuels
    • Fossil fuels, responsible for a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions, took centre stage at COP28.
    • Controversies arose regarding the influence of the oil industry and the surprising claim by the COP28 President, Sultan Al Jaber, challenging the need to cut back on fossil fuels.
  • Emission Reduction Targets
    • The three global stocktake draft texts highlighted the necessity for a “deep, rapid, and sustained” reduction in global emissions, aiming for net-zero CO2 by 2050.
    • Initial disagreements over phasing down or out of fossil fuels led to intense negotiations and a subsequent compromise.
  • Draft Ambiguities
    • The second draft faced criticism for providing only a bullet list of options for emissions cuts, with vague language around reducing fossil-fuel production.
    • The final draft, while calling for a phase-down of “unabated” coal power, left room for ambiguous terms like “low-carbon fuels” and “transitional fuels.”
  • Financial Support
    • The draft acknowledged the inadequacy of the earlier commitment of $100 billion per year by 2020, but failed to specify new financial targets.
    • Developing countries’ concerns about the lack of progress on financial support, especially for adaptation and clean energy transition, were not adequately addressed.

Significance

  • Industry Influence
    • The notable influence of fossil fuel companies, with a significant presence at COP28, raised concerns about their role in shaping climate policies.
  • Global Cooperation
    • COP28 highlighted the challenges in achieving global consensus, with divergent opinions on emission reduction strategies, financial commitments, and the role of fossil fuels.

Way forward:

  • Clear Definitions
    • Future climate conferences must strive for unambiguous language in addressing issues like fossil fuels, ensuring no loopholes that favour the industry.
  • Enhanced Financial Commitments
    • Developed countries should revisit and strengthen financial commitments to support developing nations in their adaptation and clean energy transition efforts.

Nut Graf: COP28, while acknowledging the urgency of climate action, faced challenges in reaching concrete agreements. The compromise on fossil fuels and ambiguities in the final draft indicates the need for more stringent measures and clearer commitments in future conferences.

2. Is India doing enough to tackle climate change?

Syllabus: GS-3, Conservation, Environmental pollution and degradation

Mains: India’s Initiatives to tackle climate change

Context:​ In a groundbreaking move, all 198 signatories to the 28th United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP28) embraced an agreement to “transition away” from “all fossil fuels.” 

  • India, pivotal in altering language at COP26, now faces scrutiny as the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter. 
  • The question arises: Is India doing enough to mitigate and adapt to climate change?

UAE Consensus at COP28

  • COP28 in a petrostate with an oil company chief as president marked historic outcomes.
  • The Loss and Damage Fund (LDF) operationalized, emphasizing a ‘just, orderly, and equitable’ transition away from fossil fuels.
  • Concerns raised about loopholes, including low-emission technologies and carbon capture, allowing the fossil fuel industry to persist.
  • Clarification on the language: Phasing out fossil fuel subsidies but transitioning away from fossil fuels and phasing down unabated coal use.
  • Critique on the weakness of ambition, emphasizing the need for alternatives and the challenge of subsidizing fossil fuels without viable alternatives.

LDF and Developing Countries’ Ambition

  • Acknowledgment of the $700 million raised by the LDF, seen as a major victory for climate justice movements.
  • Reference to technology transfer initiatives and the need for financial support to aid developing countries in transitioning to renewable energy.
  • Developing countries face a Catch-22 situation: lack of know-how to decarbonize sectors coupled with insufficient funds.
  • Importance of addressing the economic paradigm for growth, emphasizing the need to prioritize environmental concerns.

India’s Role and Contribution

  • India’s economic paradigm is still centred on GDP, with coal dominating despite the growth of the solar economy.
  • Suggestion to evaluate economic growth metrics in terms of environmental interests and equity.
  • India should place the environment at the centre of India’s growth paradigm, advocating for a discourse on de-growth.
  • There is a need for India’s unique developmental paradigm, considering the regional power and emerging economy dynamics.
  • Monetary Contribution and Soft Power: India’s responsibility to contribute, citing soft power influence and assistance provided to neighbouring countries.
  • India should address domestic needs before significant monetary contributions to the Loss and Damage Fund.
  • India is increasingly engaged in the LDF’s development and the role played by the National Disaster Management Authority.
  • India’s non-monetary contributions, such as knowledge sharing and active participation in global networks.

Nut Graf: India, at the crossroads of being a regional power and an emerging economy, grapples with the challenge of balancing economic growth and environmental responsibility. 





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