Whose fault is climate change?

Our climate system is collapsing and the international negotiations in Paris, to be held in December 2015, still hold out the best promise for change. The 21st conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC, 2015 Paris climate change Summit, to be held in December in Peru is expected to formulate an effective global climate change agreement to address the equity issue, ensuring that each country contributes on an equitable basis to both reducing emissions and providing finance.

During Indian Prime Minister’s visit to the USA in September,2014 it was speculated that India would soften its stance on the common but differentiated responsibilities of developed countries towards climate change mitigation efforts, but the IPCC confirms that our position remains firm. The first world’s agreement to provide technical and financial assistance to the developing world to help them implement climate change adaptation and mitigation plans is what the developing countries look up to during the meet. India is the face to the developing and least developed countries and a step-down on the stand will affect the least developed nations severely.

The developed nations refused to agree to compensate towards climate change induced disasters to which the developing countries walked out at the UNFCCC meeting last year. In the Copenhagen summit held in 2009, the developed countries pressurized the developing countries to limit their emissions, formulate and implement adaptation measures(financially and technically), which they are not bound to. The developing nations, prioritize the need to identify adaptation measures more than the mitigation strategies, being at the receiving end, refused to go by the demands. India, along with other developing countries, has been insisting that the developed world first honor promises over critical issues such as financial aid and technology transfer.

The upcoming talks in Peru are critical since, during the next Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in December 2015 in Paris, all the signatories, including India, are expected to arrive at a binding and universal agreement on climate change efforts. The meeting is expected to identify what’s called a ‘bottom up’ approach, where countries determine what they are going to do, mixed with a set of legal requirements imposed by the UN as a potential match-winner.

In the summit, India plans to stands to its projected emissions cut and might think of increasing the emission limits. The climate science as reiterated in the most recent IPCC report is clear: we are overheating the planet. The scale of global political change required to stabilize the climate is extremely challenging and needs to be a focus of all governments across the world in order to achieve a fair and effective climate agreement in Paris in 2015.

The extent of industrialization in the developed countries has brought economic prosperity to them. They owe historic responsibilities towards environmental sustainability, climate change mitigation and adaptation measures to the damage that has been caused to the environment. The developing economies of the world are putting their best foot forward towards environmental conservation measures but the technological and financial assistance must be shared by the developed ones.

By – Prachi Kathuria

Programme Manager – Environment



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