VISHWA MOHAN, SHARM EL-SHEIKH: India with the help of other developing countries thwarted an attempt by developed countries to focus on all top 20 current CO2 emitters for additional mitigation actions, instead of just the big historical polluters (rich nations), during the first week of the UN climate talks (COP27). The crucial second week of negotiation involving ministers will begin Monday.
The developed world, during the meeting on the mitigation work programme (MWP) last week, sought to bring on board all top 20 emitters, including India and China, to discuss intense emission cuts.
The MWP is focused on collectively slashing emissions by nearly half by 2030 from 2010 levels, which is considered necessary if the climate goal of keeping warming within 1.5 degree Celsius by the end of the century is to be met.
The developing countries, however, pushed back against the introduction of these terms in the MWP. India is learnt to have objected to the focus on all top 20 emitters. India had the backing of Brazil and the like-minded developing countries (LMDC) grouping that includes China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and others.
A developing country negotiator said these countries supported India while vehemently opposing the proposal of developed countries, saying the “MWP should not lead to reopening the Paris Agreement” which clearly mentions that climate action of countries has to be nationally determined based on their circumstances.
The move assumes significance as there are a number of developing countries among the current top 20 emitters with no historical obligations to reduce their emissions. Including all top 20 for intensive mitigation action means putting India, Indonesia, Iran and other developing countries on a par with big historical emitters such as the USA, the EU nations, Russia, Japan, UK and others whose cumulative emissions are much higher than India.
In the list of top 20 current emitters, India figures at the fourth position in terms of fossil CO2 emissions in 2021. China was the top current emitter with 11.5 billion tonnes of CO2 emission last year followed by the US (5 billion tonnes), EU 27 (2.8 billion tonnes) and India (2.7 billion tonnes).
Though the developed countries may again try to bring the focus of mitigation on all top emitters while discussing the text of the COP27, it is clear that India would continue to oppose it, reminding the world that its contribution to the historical stock that is causing global warming is just about 4% while it has 17% of the world’s population. India’s per capita emission is merely a third of the global average.
The latest Global Carbon Project report shows that the per capita emission of the US was the highest at 14.9 tonnes CO2 per person per year last year, followed by Russia (12.1 tonnes), Japan (8.6 tonnes), Iran (8.5 tonnes), China (8 tonnes) and EU-27 (6.3 tonnes). India’s per capita emission was just at 1.9 tonnes CO2 per person per year in 2021.
As far as cumulative emissions since 1750 go, the US has contributed around 25% of the total followed by EU-27 (roughly 18%), China (nearly 14%) and Russia (nearly 7%). India’s share in comparison is just around 4% of the total.
With the ministers from participating countries, including India’s environment minister Bhupender Yadav, beginning negotiations from Monday, the focus will now be on the draft cover text of the COP27.
The draft text, which will have suggestions of different countries within several brackets, will then be presented for resolution and adoption with consensus at the end as the final outcome of this round of the UN climate talks.
(The Times of India)
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