Challenges to COP27


    In News

    • The annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), will soon begin in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Shaikh.

    Climate Objectives & CoP

    • These annual conferences have been the main driver of the global fight against climate change. 
      • However, the response so far has not been commensurate to the enormity of the challenge. 

    Conference of Parties(COP)

    • It is the supreme decision-making body of the UNFCCC.
    • Aim:
      • The agreement seeks to limit global warming to well below 2°C, preferably to 1.5°C, compared to pre-industry levels
    • Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs): 
      • To achieve the targets under the agreement, the member countries have to submit the targets themselves, which they believe would lead to substantial progress towards reaching the Paris temperature goal. 
        • Initially, these targets are called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)
        • They are converted to NDCs when the country ratifies the agreement.

    Issues & Challenges

    • Action plans falling short:
      • It’s been at least two-and-a-half decades since the world decided to restrain its greenhouse gas emissions. 
        • Latest assessments suggest that current action plans of countries to meet climate goals are falling woefully short.
    • Rising emissions:
      • In absolute terms, the annual global emissions are still rising, now touching almost 50 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. 
      • In the decade between 2010 and 2019, the global emissions grew by over one percent on average. 
        • This is significantly slower than the growth in the previous decade, of about 2.6 percent, but for meeting climate targets, it is not good enough.
    • Global issues:
      • Economic:
        • Amid a deepening energy crisis and prevailing economic gloom, there is little appetite among countries to scale up climate action.
      • Ukraine war:
        • The energy and economic crisis caused by the Ukraine war is threatening to undo even the small gains made.
    • Possibility of increase:
      • Moreover, even if the growth in emissions is halted immediately, or is made to decline, it does not solve the problem. 
      • This is because the warming of the planet is the result of accumulated emissions in the atmosphere and not the current emissions
        • Carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, remains in the atmosphere for about 100 years, so the effect of any immediate decline in emissions would have an impact only after several decades.
      • As a result, the average global temperatures have risen faster in the last one decade than any time earlier. 
    • Inadequate & unfair response:
      • The response in terms of emission cuts has been inadequate. 
      • The rich and industrialised countries:
        • These were the main polluters and hence mainly responsible to bring down emissions, have not met their collective targets. 
      • Developing countries:
        • Countries like China or India, which were not major emitters till sometime back, have seen their emissions rise steeply.

    Global picture

    • EU:
      • As a bloc, the European Union has done relatively better on climate goals, with the United Kingdom, which is struggling with an economic downturn right now, halving its emissions from 1990 levels, UN data shows. 
    • USA:
      • The United States, the world’s leading emitter till it was overtaken by China in the mid 2000s, has been a major laggard, cutting its emissions by only about 7 percent from 1990 levels.
    • India & China:
      • China’s emissions have risen by almost four times, and India’s by about three times, during this period.

    Suggestions & way ahead

    • Suggestion by Emissions Gap Report:
      • For a realistic chance to keep global warming within 1.5 degree Celsius, annual emissions would need to drop from the current level of about 50 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent to about 33 billion tonnes by 2030 and 8 billion tonnes by 2050, according to the newest Emissions Gap Report. 
      • Even for meeting the 2-degree target, emissions have to come down to about 41 billion tonnes by 2030 and 20 billion tonnes by 2050.
        • This would require drastic action from all the major emitters
    • Approaching the action plans:
      • First, climate change is a global problem and it requires cooperation between all nations.
      • Second, it needs rules that are fair and just, for the poor and the rich alike.
      • Third, science is clear that humans are responsible for the global temperature rise and that this increase will lead to more and more variable and extreme weather events, much like what we are seeing now.
      • Four, it is possible to estimate each country’s responsibility for the stock of emissions already in the atmosphere — the historical cumulative emissions that have “forced” climate change impacts.
      • And fifth, countries that have not yet contributed to the emissions will do so in the future, simply because the world has reneged on the need to make global rules that would apply fairly to all.

    Glasgow Climate Meet (Cop26)

    • Glasgow meet strengthened the Paris Agreement mechanism of eliciting Pledges from countries and ratcheting them up over time.
    • It requested countries to update and strengthen 2030 emission targets in their NDCs by the end of 2022.
    • It explicitly revolved around keeping 1.5 degrees alive through such pledges.
      • However, it came under criticism that it focused on target setting, without giving sufficient importance to the challenge of implementing those targets.

    India’s ‘Panchamrit’ strategy 

    • India’s ‘Panchamrit’ strategy was announced at the COP 26 in Glasgow conference into enhanced climate targets.
      • India will increase its non-fossil fuel energy capacity to 500 gigawatt (GW) by 2030.
      • It will meet 50 percent of its energy requirements from renewable sources by 2030.
      • The total projected carbon emissions will be reduced by 1 billion tonnes from now through 2030.
      • The carbon intensity of its economy will be brought down to less than 45 percent.
    • India will achieve its target of net zero by 2070. 

    Source: TH