Climate talks as shortchanging international law

#GS-03 Climate Change

For Mains

Developing Countries and Climate Change:

  • There are three problems with the current negotiating process.
  • First, citizens in developed countries are not even aware that two-thirds of their national emissions of carbon dioxide come from their diet, transport, and residential and commercial sectors.
  • Second, the process ignores that global well-being will also follow urbanisation of the developing country’s population, requiring fossil fuels for infrastructure and energy to achieve comparable levels.
  • Third, the need for vast quantities of cement and steel in developing countries for infrastructure constituting essential emissions, as they urbanise is not being considered.
  • As late urbanisers, developing countries account for more than half the annual emissions and most emissions growth.
  • They cannot affordably access many of the new technologies to decarbonise quickly.

Climate Treaties and their Aims

  • The objective of the Climate Treaty is to avoid a concentration of cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide, prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system and enable sustainable economic development.
  • The Paris Agreement (2015) agreed to a 1.5°C global temperature goal.
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2018 recommended that net emissions needed to zero out around 2050.
  • In Glasgow, in 2021, negotiators zeroed in on coal to reduce future emissions.
  • This initiative was not based on science and it ignored the key finding of the IPCC on the centrality of the carbon budget.

What are Carbon Budgets?

  • Carbon Budget is the cumulative emissions associated with a specific amount of global warming that scientifically links the temperature goal to national action.
  • Carbon budgets are robust as they can be estimated accurately from climate models.
  • And, they are the most useful for policy as they couple the climate to the economy consistent with the science of both.

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