“Ethics and Equity are at the core of debate of Climate Change. The debate has to move from Climate Change to Climate Justice”
– Narendra Modi (Prime minister of India)
Earth is the only planet in this universe where we have found life can exist; a recent study shows that we are deteriorating our habitat. The exploitation of natural resources by humans has led to global warming.
THE LINK BETWEEN GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE
When Carbon dioxide and other air pollutants collect in the atmosphere and absorb sunlight and solar radiation, the atmosphere heats up. This phenomenon is called the greenhouse effect. The burning of Fossil fuels such as oil, gasoline, coal and natural gas are the major contributors to the greenhouse effect. Human activities from the pre-industrial period have dramatically increased the Earth’s global average temperature by about 1 degree Celsius, and continue to increase at a rate of0.2 degrees Celsius per decade. After 2010 our planet has evidenced some catastrophic changes. For instance the extreme 50 degrees Celsius in Canada, the disastrous wildlife fires in Australia, unprecedented heatwaves in Russia and North America and extreme rainfalls in a certain part of the world.
Climate change is a global emergency that goes beyond national borders. It is high time, countries began implementing their plans, to tackle, the centuries most disastrous event i.e. climate change. The World leaders at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris signed on 12 December 2012: the historic Paris Agreement. Paris Agreement is an international treaty that is legally binding on all its parties.191 countries plus the European Union have joined the Paris Agreement.
The area of concern in the Paris Agreement is:
- Limiting the global temperature increase in this century to 2 degrees Celsius while limiting the increase even further to 1.5 degrees.
- Every five years, countries commitment to Paris Agreement will be reviewed.
- Developing countries should be financially helped to mitigate climate change and increase their adaptability to climate change.
On each term of five years, each country is expected to submit their update on the national climate change plan which is also called Nationally Determined Contribution or NDC. Countries are invited to Paris Agreement to formulate and submit their long-term strategies.
India is a developing nation, with a population of 1.39 billion. With such a large population it’s the third-largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter. India is implementing different strategies to fight Climate Change.
India’s pledge includes the following announcements:
- The non-fossil energy capacity to reach 500GW by 2030: Solar and wind energy is one of the main sources of clean and renewable energy. This is considered the heart of India’s climate goals. It aims to install 450 GW by 2030 which will make 60% of power capacity to be fossil-free by 2030.
- 50 per cent of its energy requirement will be filled by renewable energy: 12% of India renewable energy requirement has been met in 2021, whereas India target is to achieve half of the need for renewable energy. Usage of more electric mobility will help India achieve this target.
- India will reduce the carbon intensity of its economy to less than 45 per cent by 2030: India is on track to meet the Paris agreement target on reducing emissions of GDP by 33 to 35 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.
- Reducing the carbon emissions by one billion tonnes from 2021 to 2030:
Indian Railways has the second-largest rail network. It plays a pivotal role in achieving India’s carbon emission target. To achieve this target, India needs to electrify its rail network. Introduce e-vehicles in public transport.
- Net Zero-emission by 2070:
This is the most significant move by India. India has to clarify its aim to achieve net-zero emissions. India is the 5th largest wind power producer in the world with a potential of more than 100 GW and aims to achieve its 60GW by 2022. Solar power has increased from 3.7MW to 4060MW from 2005 to 2015 and India aims to achieve 100GW by 2025. Biomass and Hydropower contribute a lot to India’s development but Nuclear Power is a safe and economic source to meet the need for electricity. Efforts are being made to achieve its 63GW capacity by 2032. Clean Coal policies and the National Smart Grid mission are the backbones of the strategies to achieve Climate Change. India accounts for the 4th largest market for Transportation Sector. India has adopted BS-VI vehicular and fuel emission standards as a part of its Auto Fuel Policy. The Electric Vehicle industry will be key to achieving net-zero emissions and there is a requirement of new policies and investments from the Indian Government in this sector to achieve the goal.
Over 127 countries aim to achieve net-zero emissions by mid-century. India refuses to partake in the COPE 26 pledge for a faster phase-out of coal and large reductions in methane emissions by 2030. Studies show that the 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years and the last four was the worst. It is high time countries worked together to achieve net-zero emission. A delay in making these changes will make planet Earth inhabitable and lead to human extinction.
Author(s) Name: Abhijeet Singh (Karnataka State Law University, Hubli)