Prime Minister Narendra Modi is gearing up to attend two upcoming global summits back-to-back in person. He will first leave for Rome on October 29 for the G20 summit followed by the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, UK. With ‘climate change’ being the main agenda of the summits, especially the latter — India has put forth a bold demand before PM Modi’s departure, which is expected to give a tough time to western nations to ponder about the repercussions of their actions.
Reportedly, the Environment Ministry has asked compensation for the losses caused by climate disasters. Rameshwar Prasad Gupta, the ministry’s senior-most civil servant said, “Our ask is this: there should be a compensation for expenses incurred, and it should be borne by developed nations,”
He also added that India stands with other low-income and developing countries on the matter. A conversation regarding compensation for climate disasters is expected to be a major talking point at the upcoming meet as PM Modi is expected to lead from the front and address the pointing issue.
India wants to fix accountability
According to an ET report, the 2015 Paris climate agreement included a speech to address “loss and damage,” for causing environmental damage. The crux of the idea is that based on historical contributions to global greenhouse gases, countries will provide compensation for the damages that pollution will one day cause.
However, because the developed nations have historically been the major emitters of greenhouse gases, the issue to fix the liability was never fleshed out and thus it remained a grey area. India is looking to address this particular issue.
What is COP 26?
The COP26 is the 26th conference on climate change by the United Nations. It is scheduled to be held in the city of Glasgow, Scotland, between 31st October and 12th November 2021, under the co-presidency of the United Kingdom and Italy.
The conference will play host to PM Modi, United States President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, French President Emmanuel Macron among others.
A 14 to 15-member delegation including officials from ministries of power, finance, earth sciences, agriculture, new and renewable energy, environment, water will represent India at COP 26 with joint secretary Richa Sharma being India’s lead negotiator.
India faring better than Western nations
As reported previously by TFI, according to Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, India is the only G20 nation well on track to achieve the goals mentioned under the Paris Agreement. Despite being a developing nation with a major part of the population below the poverty line, India has managed to keep its emissions in check.
Under the Paris agreement, the goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. And India under PM Modi, for the first time has been ranked amongst the top 10 countries in the climate change performance index.
Countries like the United States and China, which have talked much about green energy and presented policies to become carbon neutral, are lagging behind the goals set in the Paris Climate Agreement. As per the data in 2018 carbon emissions data, China tops the list with 10.06 GT, the US emitted 5.41 GT and India emitted 2.65 GT.
Russia and many other countries, including Europe that sermonises at the top of their hoarse voices about climate change and the responsibility of people, organisations around the world, have not walked the talk on Paris climate Agreement.
India needs to stick it to the developed nations
Argued by TFI in one of its op-eds dated March 16, the government of India, instead of being the ‘good-boy’ of world diplomacy needed to stick it to the western nations who have been the major cause of environmental degradation.
“…for India to go around the world claiming that it is the only G20 country honouring its commitments is a bit absurd. What India should instead focus on is showing the stick to bigger countries, which emit more and have larger carbon footprints, to start behaving themselves. Yet, for reasons best known to the government, the country is being projected as a lone warrior against climate change – although the same will yield no results and will impress nobody except some climate vigilantes.”
Read More: What India needs at this point of time is a push towards alternative energy and not an overnight transition to electric vehicles
Unfair to ask developing nations to adhere to the same climate resolutions
It is unfair to have a uniform resolution on climate change for developing as well as developed nations. While the developing countries are still in the process of achieving the full effect of their respective industrial revolutions, developed nations have burnt their fair share of fossil fuel back in the 1700s and 1800s during their economic revolutions. The same is yet to happen in the developing world.
To uplift the countries out of poverty, they need developmental work, which comes at the cost of pollution, at least till the time sustainable practices become affordable or the developed nations pool in to make it sustainable.
The so-called developed countries were supposed to provide $100 billion in climate finance to developing countries annually, starting in 2020. The money would have been used for projects that reduce emissions and help countries adapt to global warming.
Read More: India leaves behind US, China and Russia in achieving the Paris climate change goal
However, the seriousness of the rich western nations to honour the commitment can be gauged by the fact that the current figure stands at $90 billion only, and the hopes for the full commitment are dimming as the Glasgow conference approaches.
And yet when it comes to big international platforms, countries like India and other developing nations are hounded. The Western world wants to mask its duplicitous standards by playing the blame game and making the already poor countries feel gullible for trying to kickstart the development locomotive.
India should not work alone when it comes to the battle against climate change, as that will have close to no net positive impact, but will most definitely affect the country’s economy in ways not thought of by many. What India should instead focus on, is making sure that the G20 countries at the very least, honour their Paris Agreement commitments.
That, indeed, will be a mark of India asserting itself as a ‘Vishwaguru’, rather than working mindlessly alone trying to combat climate change, only to hurt itself and other smaller nations.
India is the only powerful country complying with the Paris accord. Every nation is simply busy working on their economies and strengthening them, with little to no concern about the climate.
Countries like Brazil, Turkey, the United States, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia are members of the G20. Now India should instead focus on preaching to bigger countries, which emit more and have larger carbon footprints, to start behaving themselves.
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