India Calls for Fairness at COP28, Highlighting Global South's Challenges

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India Calls for Fairness at COP28, Highlighting Global South's Challenges
07 Dec 2023
4 min read

News Synopsis

India's Stance on Climate Justice Elicits Debate at COP28

India asserts its leadership among global south nations at COP28, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressing the burden borne by the global south due to the unchecked exploitation of nature. In his address, he criticizes affluent nations for the indiscriminate exploitation that impacts humanity at large, particularly those in the global south.

Coal Dilemma and Emission Challenges

India, now the world's most populous nation, grapples with a complex challenge. Despite being a significant carbon producer, its per capita emissions remain notably lower than those of affluent nations. However, India heavily relies on coal to meet its energy demands, posing a hurdle to slashing emissions towards net-zero targets.

Balancing Development and Climate Action

India's emphasis remains on poverty reduction, requiring increased energy usage—a stance perceived as conflicting with climate action imperatives. The nation maintains that coal, an abundant and affordable resource, is indispensable for economic growth. However, experts stress the urgency of simultaneous climate action while addressing poverty.

India's Pledge and Emission Trajectory

The country's commitment to meeting United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC pledges and ramping up renewable energy deployment could potentially curb CO2 emissions, with projections indicating a peak in the 2030s. However, this trajectory aligns with India's self-imposed 2070 deadline for achieving net-zero emissions.

Metrics and Evaluation Challenges

India, akin to other emerging economies, gauges climate actions via emissions intensity relative to GDP. Efforts aim to reduce emissions intensity by 45% below 2005 levels by 2030. Yet, a shift towards measuring total emission reductions—absolute emissions—is stalled due to the implications, necessitating a phased-out reliance on fossil fuels.

While India grapples with reconciling its energy needs, poverty alleviation, and climate commitments, its stance at COP28 highlights the complexities surrounding fair contributions, international cooperation, and the urgency of a balanced approach towards sustainable development and climate mitigation.

Measuring Climate Progress: Emission Intensity vs. Absolute Emissions

India, like other developing nations, measures progress on climate action using "emissions intensity" – the amount of emissions per unit of GDP. This approach allows for continued economic growth while reducing overall emissions.

However, a shift towards absolute emissions reduction remains crucial for achieving net-zero, and India's stance on this metric continues to be a point of discussion.

Conclusion:

At COP28, India stands firm in its position, demanding a solution that acknowledges the historical responsibility of developed nations and provides equitable support to developing countries as they navigate the complex journey towards net-zero emissions.

While balancing development needs with environmental responsibility, India's approach to climate action offers valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities faced by the Global South.

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