Code Red - COP26
COP26 is this year's United Nations climate change conference being held in Glasgow, Scotland. This conference is significant in terms of the ongoing energy crisis and climate deterioration. According to the 'ratchet mechanism agreed upon in the Paris agreement, countries are expected to enhance their policies on combating climate change every 5 years. Teen activist Greta Thunberg tweeted about the COP26 meet, "This is not a drill, It's a code red for the Earth." World leaders were dynamic in the sessions and there seemed to be a new urgency in climate negotiations. UK president Boris Johnson global warming, a Doomsday device strapped to humanity while UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called out people for digging their graves. Former American President Donald Trump stepped out of the Paris agreement calling climate change a hoax but the new Democrat president has a different take. Joe Biden said, “Glasgow must be the start of a decade of shared ambition and innovation to preserve our future” Leaders of island Nations stressed the submergence of land as a clear warning of impending disaster. Ibrahim M Solih the president of Maldives said in his speech,
"What will it take for you to listen to us…..Our islands are being inundated one by one."
By far the most satisfying response was given by the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, she announced that Europe would become the first net-zero continent in the long term and cut emissions by 55% in this decade. She also highlighted that the burden of climate change cannot be put on the poor countries on the path of development and the rich countries must aid them. French president Emmanuel macron talk about the difference between theory and practice when he said that,
"Too many of us make commitments here and then sign commercial contracts that do exactly the opposite."
Net Zero by 2070
It is the first time when India has set a net-zero target, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India aims to be a net-zero emission country by 2070. Net-zero means to become carbon neutral by not adding to the number of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. China's target is 2060 while the US and EU plan to achieve this by 2050. Though India is the fourth-largest emitter of greenhouse carbon dioxide after China, the US, and the EU, our per capita emissions are much lower than most economies. We aim to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030. With this India has raised eyebrows everywhere in the world as the stakes are huge. In his speech, Modi dubbed the previous commitments on environmental finance, 'hollow' and demanded that developed countries should make a trillion-dollar investment in developing countries to support the switch to sustainable methods. His speech was a passionate one and he even apologized for running over the allotted time but it was his duty to raise his 'voice for developing countries.' There are mixed opinions about the target time, some say it would set back the development process of the country when it is necessary but most people have lauded the promise. India today is in the frontline of climate change with extreme temperature variations, flooding, and droughts.
The key highlights of India’s sensational track record at COP26:
(a) Despite being 17% of the total world population, the carbon emissions from India are only 5%.
(b) India ranks 4th in installed capacity of renewable energy.
(c) Indian Railways will achieve the goal of ‘Net-zero’ by 2030.
(d) India has initiated the International Solar Alliance and also created a coalition for disaster resilient infrastructure.
(e) India achieved a reduction of 24% in emission intensity of its GDP between 2015-16.
Panchamrit and L.I.F.E.
Amid Global conceptualization on climate change, PM Modi introduced India’s Panchamrit Sutra at the COP26 Conference in Glasgow to deal with the challenge. The five measures of this policy include:
- India will reach a non-fossil energy capacity of 500GW by 2030.
- India will fulfill 50% of energy requirements via Renewable Energy by 2030.
- We will aim at reducing 1 billion carbon emissions by 2030.
- Reduce carbon intensity below 45% by 2030.
- India will achieve the target of ‘Net-zero carbon emissions by 2070.
India gave the world a goal to aim and achieve, i.e., the aim of LIFE. L.I.F.E denotes ‘Lifestyle for Environment’. This Mantra is inspired by Indian culture and the principles of the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi always considered humans the trustees of nature, and living for the environment brings this principle into action.
It urges for the peaceful existence of human beings with nature and mindful utilization of scarce resources. While giving this mantra, PM Modi said that he is proposing the world a ‘One-Word Movement’, which in the context of climate can become the basic foundation of One World.
During a side event on ‘Action and Solidarity- The Critical Decade’, PM Modi, while representing the nation, highlighted that India, along with other developing countries, needs to make the agriculture sector resilient to climate change. Especially in the case of India, where still more than half of its population is dependent on the agricultural industry for their livelihood.
India affirmed that the policies such as ‘Nal se Jal’, Swachh Bharat Mission, and Ujjawala yojana have provided adoption benefits and improved the quality of life of its people without hampering the climatic conditions for development. Thus, PM Modi conveyed to us the criticality of climate adaptation in the development policy and the need for global adoption. The syllabus of Schools also needs to be redesigned to teach the future generations of the planet aware of these grim issues and to concretize climate change as a global outbreak that needs to be tackled firsthand.
India is the only G20 nation to meet its climate commitments as per the Climate Change Performance Index Report of 2020. India also aims at increasing total cumulative electricity generation from fossil-free energy sources to 40% by 2030. Additionally, India ranks 5th in total solar installed capacity and has increased it by 15 times in the last six years. We also ensured a rapid increase in forests by 15,000 sq. km. in the last few years. Hopefully, soon India will rise as a world leader in combating the issue of climate change.
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