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Council on Energy, Environment and Water Integrated | International | Independent

India Should Defend the Essence and Spirit of the Paris Agreement

Bonn (6 November 2017) – “The Paris Agreement ensured that climate leadership became diffused and distributed globally, with each country determining its own climate action plan. This so-called “bottom up” architecture was politically salient but climatically inadequate. It was a capstone for years of negotiations, but a mere stepping-stone towards (what was expected) would be more aggressive action in the coming years. India is likely to suffer significantly from a warming climate. With the U.S. announcement to withdraw from the Agreement, India’s primary objective at COP23 should be to retain and defend the essence and spirit of the Paris Agreement, namely global collective action against climate change,” said Dr Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, CEEW, on the opening day of the COP23 climate change summit being held in Bonn.

The mood in Bonn will be tested as countries weigh up the likelihood or difficulty of meeting the Paris Agreement’s goals. Dr Ghosh added, “Despite the Paris Agreement and other measures, big and small, the response to climate change for the world as a whole is inadequate. Even if all Nationally Determined Contributions were implemented in full, the world is still on track for at least 3oC of warming. Even a 2oC rise in temperatures will have severe implications for precipitation, heat stress, agricultural losses, and more extreme weather events. The risks increase in a non-linear way when temperatures rise by 30-4oC, which is the likely scenario, given the current stock of commitments. We must acknowledge that global collective efforts will fall short of what is needed.

India is a climate leader,” said Dr Ghosh. Unlike developed countries, it has set disproportionately aggressive targets for climate action, compatible with a 20C scenario. It offers one of the world’s largest markets for renewable energy. Transparent auctions have ensured that solar tariffs in India are among the lowest in the world. It has distributed more than 270 million LED lightbulbs through an innovative government procurement programme. Similar strategies are now being adopted to drive prices down for other energy efficient appliances and electric vehicles. India will create a workforce of 330,000 in the solar and wind energy sectors. It is also creating a robust investment climate, with a nascent green bonds market, and attempts to de-risk investments in clean energy for institutional investors.

Discussing India’s goals at COP23, Dr Ghosh further said, “COP23 is an important milestone towards putting together the rulebook of the Paris Agreement and India will be one of the most important actors. It already has and must reiterate not only its own commitment to the Paris Agreement but also continue to demand greater action by the largest historical polluters. Secondly, India will have to ensure that the design of the enhanced transparency mechanism retains sufficient flexibility for developing countries to build the capacity for more frequent and detailed reporting and review. Thirdly, India must demand more action and innovation in the means of support that has been promised and consistently under-delivered for developing countries. Fourthly, India must showcase not only its domestic actions but also its international leadership on climate action, for example, through its efforts in promoting and building the International Solar Alliance.

For any further queries, please contact Riddhima Sethi (riddhima.sethi@ceew.in) / Mihir Shah (mihir.shah@ceew.in).