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Climate Calling  

What is being done for climate protection?

1. Youths across Indian cities are rising to the cause of climate protection.

2. There has been a rise in the use of human rights laws in climate change litigations over the last 10 years.

3. But the success of rights-based approach needs to be scrutinized with caution on various grounds.

Why is less importance given for climate protection?

1. The notion of co-benefits of a safe climate has low applicability for India.

2. Replacing coal-based power plants by renewables like solar or wind energy will reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but ability of it to generate co-benefits in terms of employment generation is questionable.

3. The employment generation capacity at an Indian coal plant is higher than that of a renewable-based plant.

4. According to the “capability approach” to development, access to a clean environment/safe climate and to employment are drivers of quality life. So, they should not be mutually exclusive.

5. State is accountable for investing in people to empower them to claim, attain and secure their rights, including that of a safe climate.

Where lies the issue?

With respect to climate protection, some issues related to Climate Governance are ignored.

1. Climate conservation is a country-specific issue.

2. So, a blanket agenda for preservation without proper contextualization to the global and local realities faced by a country is of no value.

3. Also, climate strikes in India have overlooked some fundamentally contentious issues of climate governance.

CBDR-RC

4. Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC) is a principle under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

5. It recognizes different capabilities and differing responsibilities of individual countries in addressing climate change.

6. But it does not take into account the historical responsibility of emission and absorption of different countries.

7. As surplus absorptive capacity is transferable from low to high emitters, the estimates of intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) of individual countries are subject to scrutiny.

Which are the concerns?

1. India’s contribution to the atmospheric stock of greenhouse gases (GHGs) between 1991 and 2012 has been 0%.

2. Still, India has set an ambitious INDC target of reducing emission intensity by 30-35% by 2030.

3. But the reasonability of this target is questionable because

a) India’s national income is decelerating

b) Commitment on finances and technology for achieving this target is weakening since Paris Agreement.

4. The principles of responsibility-sharing for emission reduction are non-egalitarian in nature.

How can the situation be improved?

1. Inculcation of climate consciousness amongst the younger generation is needed.

2. The environment/climate is a non-excludable resource and its preservation requires a nuanced understanding of the modalities of its usage.

3. The responsibility of climate preservation is valid not only within a particular country but also across countries.

4. But a knee-jerk protest to demonstrate global bonding will not address the real crises of governance.