India pushes for equity at crucial climate meeting
The negotiations leading to the latest synthesis report of the IPCC revealed deep differences between wealthy nations and developing countries like India on funding needed to combat the climate crisis and the role of the developed world in precipitating the emergency.
The negotiations leading to the latest synthesis report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) revealed deep differences between wealthy nations and developing countries like India on funding needed to combat the climate crisis and the role of the developed world in precipitating the emergency.
The world’s largest body of climate experts last week delivered another warning on the dangers of exceeding global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius. India made a number of interventions to address the issues of historical responsibility, emissions based on high consumption of the rich and the highly inadequate climate finance flows from developed countries, two briefing papers on the negotiations said.
Developed countries tried to change the narrative from a lack of climate finance delivery to developing countries by watering it down to being merely an issue of barriers to finance, according to a briefing paper released by the Third World Network (TWN), an observer organisation at the IPCC.
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India sought more granular and detailed information on mitigation options regarding their costs, benefits, evidence for effectiveness, feasibility and deployment, the network said. It also expressed disappointment that the representation from developing countries was low and the approval process of the report lacked inclusivity.
There were deep fissures in the way the Global North and Global South responded to the findings of the panel, the International Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD) said in its latest Earth Negotiations Bulletin. India was supported by Brazil and South Africa in demanding the inclusion of clear language on equity and climate justice backed by efficient means of implementation, including finance, under the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, IISD said.
India and China also resisted the push to say rapid changes in global surface temperatures in the past 50 years, as it doesn’t give a rounded picture of what led to the situation, the bulletin said. India, supported by Saudi Arabia, China, South Africa, Brazil and Mexico, suggested retaining language that addresses net historical carbon dioxide emissions from 1850-1989 (58%) and 1990-2019 (42%), as opposed to focusing on emissions only from 1990-2019. The panel agreed to include both numbers.
India’s delegation to the IPCC comprised six members, who included JR Bhatt, senior scientific adviser at the environment ministry; T Jayaraman from the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation; and Tejal Kanitkar, associate professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies. It was led by Tanmay Kumar, additional secretary at the ministry.
“India undertook a number of specific and wide-ranging interventions, beginning with the opening plenary session itself,” the ministry said in response to HT’s queries. “These included insisting on specific references to equity per se in the context of various aspects of climate action, specific references to differentiation between developed and developing countries and linking equity to the question of the historical responsibility of the developed countries for past emissions and taking the lead in current climate action including flow of funds and technology transfer from developed to developing countries.”
On finance and technology transfer, India intervened to include “provision of finance mainly from public sources, ensuring the scale, scope and speed of climate finance, also ensuring that such finance was predominantly in the form of grants or concessional loans and not loans per se and must be guaranteed to not increase the debt burden of developing countries,” the ministry said.
For technology transfer, repeated references were made by the Indian delegation that it was an integral part of means of implementation of various mitigation and adaptation measures.
At the end of the negotiations, which took place between March 13 and 19, and was attended by government representatives from 195 countries, India noted that the actual space devoted to important issues in IPCC’s synthesis report was quite limited and did not address the issues of equity and justice in the context of global mitigation and adaptation efforts, burden sharing, and the provision of means of implementation (finance, technology transfer and capacity building).
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“While there was resistance to referencing the $100 billion commitment of developed countries to developing countries, there were huge efforts, especially by Germany, Luxembourg, the US, Switzerland, Norway, France, Japan, and Australia to include language on aligning financial flows with ambitious climate action,” the TWN said in its briefing. It means that developed countries sought to make climate finance conditional to mitigation efforts of developing countries.
Overshooting 1.5°C warming will lead to irreversible impacts and risks for human and natural systems, all growing with the magnitude and duration of overshoot, the IPCC’s synthesis report released on March 20 said. The 1.5°C goal will be breached within next few years even in the lowest emissions scenario, the report said.