Monday, 23 November 2015

India in Paris for climate talks

The two-week Paris climate change negotiations begin on November 30, with about than 120 heads of states arriving in France's capital for two days. The meeting hopes to produce a new global agreement that would help by the turn of the century to keep global temperature rise below two degrees, compared with the pre-industrialisation era. The pact is likely to indirectly impose a price on use of fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas and give impetus to greater use of renewable energy.

India, expected to increase the use of coal despite rapidly adding renewable power over the next decade, has lots at stake in Paris. A pact that shifts the burden of costly emission reduction disproportionately on to developing countries could significantly hit India's future economic growth story. A less ambitious pact that asks countries not to do enough to reduce emissions would leave the country more vulnerable to the impact of more dangerous climate change in the medium- and long-term.

The ideal, a high ambition and a just agreement, seems difficult. Developed countries have indicated low emission targets to begin with for the new agreement which gets operationalised from 2020. How in subsequent years countries are asked to ratchet up their emission reduction efforts and on what basis is likely to be the other difficult question the 196 countries will need to find an answer to.

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