At Stockholm +50, India likely to push for equity in climate change negotiations

Published on Jun 01, 2022 09:06 PM IST

Union environment minister Bhupender Yadav reached Sweden on Wednesday to participate in the Stockholm +50 conference to be held on June 2-3.

Union environment minister Bhupender Yadav will be presenting India’s stand on global environmental issues at the Stockholm +50 conference. (Twitter/Bhupender Yadav)
Union environment minister Bhupender Yadav will be presenting India’s stand on global environmental issues at the Stockholm +50 conference. (Twitter/Bhupender Yadav)
ByJayashree Nandi

NEW DELHI: A push for equity in global climate change negotiations will be among India’s key agendas at the Stockholm +50 conference, scheduled to be held in Sweden on June 2-3, according to officials in the environment ministry who asked not to be named.

The conference is being held to commemorate 50 years of the Stockholm Conference — the first United Nations conference on environment.

Union environment minister Bhupender Yadav tweeted on Tuesday: “In 1972, the world made a declaration at the same place to protect (the planet). Today, 50 years later, we stand at an inflection point. Urgent, collective global action with the spirit of equity is required more than ever before… Over the next three days in Stockholm, will be participating in deliberations on climate action and related aspects with representatives from world over and present India’s side on all issues.”

Yadav reached Sweden on Wednesday and participated in a high-level dialogue under the Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT).

“Stated that ‘transition’ needs to be understood in the right context. The developing world needs not just an industrial ‘transition’, but an industrial renaissance — a flowering of industries that will create jobs and prosperity along with a clean environment,” he tweeted after the meeting.

“The developed nations, with their historical experiences, must take lead in the global transition towards net-zero & low carbon industry. Green premium associated with zero or low carbon tech must be compensated to trigger demand at required scale in appropriate ways,” he added.

LeadIT gathers countries and companies committed to action to achieve the Paris Agreement climate goal. It was launched by the governments of Sweden and India at the UN Climate Action Summit in September 2019 and is supported by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

During the Stockholm +50 conference, Yadav is scheduled to make three high-level interventions where he will be presenting India’s stand on global environmental issues, said a senior official of the environment ministry.

“India will be taking a leadership role for developing nations and reiterating the need for equity and justice in global negotiations. That is our main point,” said the official, asking not to be named.

On Wednesday, the Stockholm Environment Institute and the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) also presented a report after taking stock of actions taken during the last 50 years and making recommendations for the future.

The report has synthesised recent scientific evidence and ideas to prepare recommendations for action, guided by an advisory panel consisting of 27 experts in the field of sustainable development science and policy.

“The planetary crisis and the extreme inequality require transformative action and addressing our economic systems as the core driver of many of these problems. The growing inequalities extend to future generations and the quality of their lives, with accelerating environmental change and risk of tipping points being breached,” the report said, adding that since 1972, only around one-tenth of the hundreds of global environment and sustainable development targets agreed to by countries have been achieved or seen significant progress.

According to the report, the use of natural resources has more than tripled from 1970, with the benefits emanating from the usage unevenly distributed across countries and regions.

The poorest half of the global population owns barely 2% of the total global wealth, while the richest 10% owns 76% of all wealth, the report said.

“Currently, no country is delivering what its citizens need without transgressing the biophysical planetary boundaries. The inequity among people and places in both, causing deterioration and suffering from its impacts, is high. The poorest half of the global population contributed 10% of emissions; the richest 10% of the global population emitted more than half of the total carbon emissions during 1990–2015,” it added.

The report has also called for ensuring economic prosperity for all. “High-income countries have consumed most of these resources, with carbon dioxide consumption footprints that are more than 13 times the level of low-income countries. Ensuring lasting prosperity for all and bringing emission and resource footprints within ecological limits requires a complete rethink of our ways of living.”

Authors have also underlined that there are massive funding gaps in low-income countries.

The 1972 Stockholm conference was the first globally to put the spotlight on environmental issues and present 26 principles on conserving the environment that included a differentiated approach for developing countries. Then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was the only foreign head of government out of 113 nations to attend the conference.

“Her speech at the conference was ground-breaking in that it linked environmental conservation with poverty reduction – one of the key principles of the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs,” wrote Inger Andersen, executive director of United Nations Environment Programme in an opinion piece published by Down to Earth last month.

She said Gandhi’s call in 1972 remains as pertinent as it was back then. “We have to prove to the disinherited majority of the world that ecology and conservation will not work against their interest but will bring an improvement in their lives,” Gandhi had said.

“India – as home to over one billion people, huge natural resources and so much innovation and experience – will be integral to the success of Stockholm+50, as it was in 1972. Humanity needs India’s leadership in scientific research, in restoring ecosystems and in delivering a healthy planet for the prosperity for all,” Andersen added.

“50 years after Stockholm is an important milestone; the world has progressed in terms of its awareness of the need to act; but it is clear that without actions that build an inclusive and just world, we will not have a sustainable world. This remains the challenge; and even more important in the age of climate change,” said environmentalist Sunita Narain who is also in Stockholm for the conference.

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