Hypocrisy is the lifeblood of western countries. What they preach to the world has never been followed by them. A similar pattern has been followed in environmental policies. On one hand, they force developing countries to reduce carbon emissions. On the other, they themselves never took any substantive initiatives to reduce the burden.
Climate change ignited due to the industrial revolution and the burning of fossil fuels has now started to take an extreme form. The increase in carbon emission has increased the temperature of the earth. Extreme weather events like flash floods, heavy rainfall, and landslides have become a regular phenomenon. Despite being a developing country, India has met its carbon reduction goals on time. However, western countries are still reluctant to support climate change reduction initiatives.
Climate Change: A Past Sin of the West
In accordance with the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, 1992, the Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) was formalized as the guiding principle of climate change reduction action. The principle recognized the disparity in economic development in the different parts of the world.
Western countries started their industrial process early, and with the use of fossil fuels, they developed their economy and country. On the other hand, the poor countries are still in developmental transition and need time to come to par with the west. The “Common But Differentiated Responsibilities” acknowledge the relationships between industrialisation and climate change. The industrial revolution of the 1800s and 1900s was mostly driven by fossil fuels and environmental degradation is also advanced through the burning of fossils. Thus, it is imperative that western developed country takes responsibility for climate change as they are the biggest benefactor of industrialisation.
Polluters Pay to NDCs – Shifting Goalposts
However, rather than following the polluters-pay principle, the west has imposed equality rules in environmental policies. According to the 15th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), it was decided that the developed countries would jointly mobilize USD 100 billion per year by 2020. The goal was to finance the new and renewable technology of developing countries and help them in the battle against climate change. But, at COP21 Paris, the west ‘defaulted’ on the payments. Now the USD 100 billion per year goal has been shifted to 2025.
Not only this, the western countries deviating from the CBDR principles, forced the developing countries to adopt the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution in the Paris Agreement. When the differentiated responsibility accorded them to do more to address climate change, they not only outrightly rejected the conditions but also changed goalposts. Now, according to the Paris Agreement, every country will set its own targets to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.
India: The Global Champion of Climate Cause
According to the binding Paris Agreement, India set an ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution target. In terms with INDC, India pledged to substantially reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to limit the global temperature increase in this century to 2 degrees Celsius, while pursuing efforts to limit the increase even further to 1.5 degrees. According to the updated INDC, India will reduce the Emission Intensity of its GDP by 45% by 2030, from the previous 2005 level. Further, the nation would achieve about 50% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.
Despite not being a historical contributor to pollution, according to the power ministry, India has already achieved the electricity production target with non-fossil fuel to 41.5%. Only about 9% is left in achieving the intended 50% target and we will achieve this target much before 2030.
Moreover, in consonance with the INDC, India systematically adopted environmental policies in its economic and social growth. All government policies have been moulded according to environmental parameters.
But the western countries have not done anything substantial to help developing countries fight climate change. Despite being more than 17% of the global population, India has merely contributed 4% of the global cumulative greenhouse gas emissions since the industrial revolution. On the other hand, the United States is responsible for 25% and the European Union together contributed 22% of the historical emission. In a way, the west together contributed about 50% of global CO2 emissions since the industrial revolution and they still continue with their misdeeds.
So, India should not be paying for the polluters’ misdeeds. We should not compromise our developmental projects on account of any environmental treaty.
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