GS Mains Model Question & Answer: Discuss India’s gains and losses at the Paris climate talks

GS Mains Model Question & Answer: Discuss India’s gains and losses at the Paris climate talks.

Q. Discuss India’s gains and losses at the Paris climate talks. (12.5 Marks)

(General Studies Mains Paper III- Science and Technology : Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment)

Model Answer :

The Paris accord, as agreed upon by member countries, sets the architecture for carbon emission reduction after 2020. The agreement will come into effect once at least 55 countries, amounting to 55% of global greenhouse gases, ratify or accept the Paris agreement.

It safeguards the principle of common but differentiated responsibility that has remained a non-negotiable aspect of India’s climate position. This principle squarely puts the major responsibility on developed nations to drastically cut their carbon emissions and provide the necessary finance, technology and capacity building for developing economies to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

The Paris accord has been successful in sending a resounding signal to the markets that the era of fossil fuels is gradually approaching an end. A majority of the known fossil fuels will need to be left in the ground if we are to have any realistic chance of staying within a 1.5 degrees temperature rise.

What India and the other developing nations had lost :

  • The original UN convention had a stronger language on developed world providing climate finance. Experts say current text is weaker. It also leaves room for confusion on what can be counted as climate funding - for example, developmental aid or loans can be counted as climate finance.
  • Paris agreement says all parties -- including developing nations -- must take action to cut emissions.
  • For developing countries, intellectual property rights barriers to transfer technology from rich countries were important. But the Paris text is more about cooperation in technology.
  • In terms of loss and damage, the text says these will not be seen in terms for liability and compensation, so developed countries will not have no real obligation.

What India and the developing nations had gained:

  • Managed to put back the important principle of equity and "common but differentiated responsibilities" in text, which India has been pushing for. The US and developed nations wanted to dilute this plank.
  • Though developed countries use fossil fuel -- coal and gas -- they wanted developing countries to cut emissions.
  • The big challenge met was ensuring the agreement established the idea of climate justice - acknowledging that industrialised nations have been the major emitters since 1850.
  • India also wanted a mention of sustainable lifestyle and consumption, which is there in the text.


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