India became a member of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on 10th June 1992 and ratified it on 1st November 1993. As per the UNFCCC, developing nations such as India are not required to bind to the Green House Gas (GHG) mitigation commitments because of their small GHG emissions and because of their low financial and technical capacities. The Ministry of Environment and Forests is the nodal agency for climate change issue in India and has constituted working groups on the UNFCCC.
The Kyoto protocol is an international agreement linked to the UNFCCC, which commits its Parties by setting internationally binding emission reduction targets by way of three flexibility mechanisms. It was adopted by number of countries in 1997 which required developed countries and economies in transition (as listed in Annex B of the protocol) to reduce their GHG emissions by an average of 5.2% below 1990 levels. India accepted the Kyoto Protocol on 26th August 2002 but as stated earlier the contribution is non-binding.
The three Kyoto mechanisms are:
A) Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
The clean development mechanism as defined under article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol allows reduction/removal of emissions to earn carbon credits or certified emission reduction (CER) credits each equivalent to one tonne of CO2. The CERS thus earned can be traded and sold to the industrialized/developed countries which will help them in meeting their part of emission reduction targets. This is aimed at stimulating sustainable development and emission reductions and providing a means for developed countries to meet their targets as it might not be possible to achieve their targets solely on the basis of other 2 mechanisms. However, to get a project registered under CDM there are number of steps and procedure which needs to be followed as defined in the protocol.
B) Joint Implementation (JI)
Joint Implementation as defined under article 6 of the protocol provides an option to Annex I party/country can opt for implementing a carbon reduction/ carbon emission project or a project that enhances removal of sinks in the territory of another Annex I party will also be considered towards meeting its own target.
C) International Emission Trading
Under this mechanism as defined in article 17 of the protocol, an Annex I country can acquire/purchase emission units from another Annex I party.
Protocol listed out its first commitment period from 2008 to 2012 and second commitment period from 2013 to 2020 aimed at 5% and 18% emission below 1990 levels respectively. However the parties committed to these periods have different compositions.
The Paris Agreement
Paris Climate Change Conference of November 2015 in the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) reached a historic agreement to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future. Essential elements of the agreements include long-term temperature goal, global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions, mitigation through nationally determined contributions (NDC), creating sinks and reservoirs etc.
As per agreement in 2015, India is committed to actively engage in multilateral negotiations under the UNFCCC. India being a developing country faces large scale climate variability and is exposed to enhanced risk from climate change. No country in the world has been able to achieve a Human Development Index of 0.9 or more without an annual energy availability of atleast 4 toe per capita.
- National Environment Policy (NEP 2006) promotes sustainable development along with respect for ecological constraints and the imperatives of social justice. The current development paradigm reiterates the focus on sustainable growth and aims to exploit the co-benefits of addressing climate change along with promoting economic growth.
- National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) 2008 by Prime Minister’s Council on Climate change is implemented through eight National Missions, outlining priorities for mitigation and adaptation to combat climate change.
India contribution for the period 2021 to 2030 as committed at COP 21
- To put forward and further propagate a healthy and sustainable way of living based on traditions and values of conservation and moderation.
- To adopt a climate friendly and a cleaner path than the one followed by others at corresponding level of economic development.
- To reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 level.
- To achieve about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030 with the help of transfer of technology and low cost international finance including from Green Climate Fund (GCF).
- To create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
- To better adapt to climate change by enhancing investments in development programmes in sectors vulnerable to climate change, particularly agriculture, water resources, Himalayan region, coastal regions, health and disaster management.
- To mobilize domestic and new & additional funds from developed countries to implement the above mitigation and adaptation actions in view of the resource required and the resource gap.
- To build capacities, create domestic framework and international architecture for quick diffusion of cutting edge climate technology in India and for joint collaborative R&D for such future technologies.
Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC)
The Paris agreement establishes binding commitments by all the parties to prepare, communicate and maintain a nationally determined contribution (NDC) and to pursue domestic measures to achieve them. The parties shall communicate their NDCs every 5 year and provide information necessary for clarity and transparency. To set a firm foundation for higher ambition, each successive NDC will represent a progression beyond the previous one and reflect the highest possible ambition. Developed countries should continue to take the lead by undertaking absolute economy wide reduction targets, while developing counties should continue enhancing their mitigation efforts and are encouraged to move towards economy wide targets over time in the light of different national circumstances.
International Solar Alliance
Understanding the importance and the need for sustainable development along with the need to tackle climate change International Solar Alliance was formed which is a group of more than 120 countries (alliance) located fully or partially between tropic of cancer & tropic of Capricorn which came together for generating clean energy using Solar Energy and thus reducing their carbon footprints and moving towards better, greener & cleaner future. Their location makes them receive large amount of solar radiation at most of the time of year and can utilize solar energy in cost-effective manner.
This COP 21 conference aimed at slowing down the carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases to combat climate change widely known as Global Warming. This was aimed by various means with considerable focus on use of renewable energy instead of conventional (non-renewable) sources of energy like coal, petroleum etc. Considering a number of renewable energy options available and understanding their potential and limitations Solar Energy was given a lot of focus. Solar Energy being freely available, clean, now cheap and commercially viable was seen as a promising source of energy by the leader of countries attending the COP21 conference.
For tapping the solar energy approx. 120 countries came forward to form an alliance which was known as International Solar Alliance which marked a great achievement in the conference. This initiative was taken from side of India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi which was supported by France and various other countries. Under this alliance the member countries will work together for using and shifting to solar energy for meeting their energy demand and requirements. Government of India will support the ISA secretariat for an initial period of 5 years and thereafter it is expected to become a self-sufficient institution.