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Chhattisgarh joins global alliance against climate change

Two Indian states Chhattisgarh and Telangana are now part of the Under2 coalition that aims to keep global temperature rise to under 2 degrees Celsius.

health Updated: Jun 14, 2017 14:18 IST
Chhattisgarh has joined other countries and subnational players in aiming to keep global temperature rise to under 2 degrees Celsius.
Chhattisgarh has joined other countries and subnational players in aiming to keep global temperature rise to under 2 degrees Celsius.(PTI representative image)

Beijing: Two Indian states are now part of an international coalition that aims to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, a target that is even more ambitious than the one laid down in the Paris Agreement.

The Under2 Coalition includes the American state of California, and highlights the role that subnational players like state governments,and cities are playing in the campaign to check global warming.

Jerry Brown, governor of California state, speaking at a Clean Energy Ministerial event in Beijing last week reaffirmed the state’s commitment to clean energy suggesting that Trump’s announcement to withdraw from the Paris accord might actually re-focus attention on the issue.

“Before the Paris accord there was every little public attention devoted to climate change,” Brown said, “In a way President’s Trump announcement to withdraw has heightened the interest and the focus on this existential crisis.”

“I watched last week in horror as President’s Trump’s announcement unfolded, thinking about all the years of planning and action that had gone into the Paris agreement. But what we have seen over the last week has been amazing,” Helen Clarkson, head of The Climate Group, the organiser of the Under2 Coalition, said. “An outstanding outpouring of support from all across the globe, national governments, subnational governments and businesses stepping forward.”

The coalition includes 170 subnational partners. The Climate Group also works with private companies to push ambitious clean energy targets. This initiative called RE 100 brings together companies that commit to going 100 % renewable and includes some of India’s most influential names like Infosys, Tata Motors and Dalmia Cement.

We are at 96% renewable currently, Katie Hill, Global Supply Manager, Energy. Apple Inc. said explaining that the move to renewable has to “make environmental and business sense.”

“The employees and consumers expect this,” she added.

The Chhattisgarh state government was one of five new signatories to the Under2 coalition that were announced at the event. The state of Telangana in India is already a member of the coalition. The southern state is seen as one of the hot spots for solar power.

In order to keep global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius would require limiting greenhouse gas emissions to 2 tonnes per capita, which is 5-20% of 1990 levels by the middle of the century.

“The vulnerability in Chhattisgarh is more, but so is the scope for climate action,” Arvind Boaz, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests of Chhattisgarh, said.

“We think there will be immense collaboration at the subnational level,” he said, adding that developing countries will benefit from such collaboration through technology transfer, capacity building and financial assistance.

However, as of now the Under2 coalition does not include a mechanism for direct financial assistance. A state like Telangana that is an emerging IT hub may have much to learn from California, Jarnail Singh, the India director of The Climate Group, said.

“We want to work with India and China and Europe to deal honestly and forthrightly on global warming,” Brown said.

(Reporting for this piece was facilitated by China Dialogue, an independent, non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting a common understanding of China’s urgent environmental challenges.)