Describe the major outcomes of the session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). What are the commitments made by India in this conference? UPSC 2021, 15 Marks

Q17. संयुक्क राष्ट्र जलवायु परिवर्तन फ्रेमवर्क सम्मेलन (यू.एन.एफ.सी.सी.सी.) के सी..पीके 26 वें सत्र के प्रमुख परिणामों का वर्णन कीजिए इस सम्मेलन में भारत द्वारा की गई वचनबद्धताएँ क्या हैं ?
Q17. Describe the major outcomes of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). What are the commitments made by India in this conference ? (Answer in 250 words) 15

Answer: U.K host the COP 26 UNFCCC from October 31 to November 12. More than 190 countries of the world attend this conference at Glasgow as a response to the global climate change. COP comes under UNFCCC which was formed in 1994. The UNFCCC was established to work towards “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere”.

The major outcomes of COP26:

  • Global temperature – A clear consensus on a target of keeping global temperature rise down to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The target of 2 degrees of the Paris Agreement still remains.
  • Transition from fossil fuels – It is the first clear recognition of the need to transition away from fossil fuels by phasing down the use of coal.
  • Importance of Adaptation – Adaptation attained greater significance and there is a commitment to double the current finance available for this to developing countries.
  • Global Methane Pledge –  An agreement is signed among 100 countries to cut methane emissions by 30 % by 2030.
  • Ending deforestation – A group of 100 countries has agreed to begin to reverse deforestation by 2030. Since the group includes Brazil and Indonesia where large areas of forests are being ravaged by legal and illegal logging, there will be progress in expanding these carbon sinks on the planet.
  • US-China Joint Declaration on Climate Change -Both the countries are moving towards a less confrontational and more cooperative relationship overall.
  • Clarity on Article 6 of Paris agreement– There is greater clarity on how bilateral carbon trades can proceed and the creation of a centralised hub that replaces Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism.

 The commitments made by India in its conference:

  • To raise the non-fossil fuel- based battery capacity of the country to 500 GW by 2030.
  •  To meet 50% of the country`s energy need using renewable energy by 2030.
  • To reduce the total projected carbon emission by one billion tonnes between now and 2030.
  • To become carbon neutral and net zero emissions by 2070.
  • Phasing out the coal – India introduced an amendment to the original draft to replace the phrase “phase out” with “phase down” playing negatively with both the advanced as well as a large constituency of developing countries.
  • Global Methane Pledge – India did not join the Global Methane Pledge despite methane being the second-most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere after carbon dioxide.
  • Ending deforestation – India refused to join the group due to concerns over a clause on possible trade measures related to forest products.

India has launched the Infrastructure for Resilient Island States (IRIS) initiative for developing the infrastructure of small island nations.

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