Need course correction now to keep 1.5 degree C alive: UN Climate chief | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Need course correction now to keep 1.5 degree C alive: UN Climate chief

ByJayashree Nandi
Feb 25, 2023 11:24 AM IST

The global stocktake of the Paris Agreement is a process for taking stock of the implementation of the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement’s goal is to keep global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees C

Observing that the goal is not lost yet, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) executive secretary Simon Stiell on Friday said that there is a need for course correction to keep the 1.5 degrees Celcius goal alive.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) executive secretary Simon Stiell (Twitter Photo)
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) executive secretary Simon Stiell (Twitter Photo)

A Grenadian politician who took charge of the UNFCCC in August last year was answering HT’s question at the World Sustainable Development Summit (organised by The Energy and Resources Institute) on whether the 1.5 degrees C goal is redundant now.

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“It’s not a lost goal (1.5 degrees C). Science shows where we are but the same science and numerous expert groups also tell us what we need to do to bring it on track. Time is running out very rapidly. So, the urgency of appropriate action is more intense now than it ever has been. The GST [global stocktake of the Paris Agreement] gives us an opportunity to course correct. How we develop and land the GST could be an important part to lay the foundation for that course correction. The response to it will be most important,” said Stiell responding to HT’s question.

Also Read: At G20 meet, PM Modi shares insights on climate change: Report

The global stocktake of the Paris Agreement is a process for taking stock of the implementation of the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement’s goal is to keep global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees C.

Later in the day, during his valedictory address at WSDS’s concluding session, Stiell said the world was heading towards over 2.5 degrees C. “Much of the ambition in the global stocktake will be about emissions reductions. We know we’re way off target. We are heading for warming of 2.5 degrees C or more, with disastrous consequences. We need stronger emissions commitments across the board. I am not going to stand up here and call endlessly for new nationally determined contributions (NDCs). We need specifics. We need countries to come forward on how they are going to align every element of national life to their Paris commitments. As a former minister, I know this can be tricky but with the political will, it’s not rocket science,” he said.

He added that the next ten months leading up to COP28 provide a unique opportunity for “course correction, the world needs on climate change and make COP28 a transformational moment in what must be a decisive decade.”

The COP28 is scheduled to take place in Dubai in December this year.

Stiell further committed to providing an update from the UNFCCC on the status of work, mandates and progress each quarter to COP28. The first such progress report will be provided at the end of March. He also requested progress from all governments on all initiatives that came out of the recent United Nations meetings on climate change.

Seeks update on CO2, methane:

“We collectively need the support of all the coalitions, alliances and initiatives that are driven by state and non-state actors in order to achieve our goals on resilience and limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees,” Stiell said.

“I want to know, where are you on methane? Forests? Coal? Solar? Zero emission vehicles? How are your alliances progressing work in these areas and how will you be delivering at COP28? Closing the massive gaps in each of the major work areas– mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage and finance– requires unprecedented collaboration and support at the highest levels,” Stiell said adding the stocktake will not be just another synthesis report telling us what we already know and instead take a sectoral approach.

“I’ll lay my cards on the table: the success of COP28 depends on the success of the global stocktake, or more specifically the response to the stocktake,” he said.

Also Read: Why the world needs a deal to protect its oceans?

Stiell called for separate updates on Methane and other greenhouse gases.

India’s G20 leadership can push parties:

“We look to India and its influential role as Presidency of the G20 to help us deliver a clear political framework and help shape the outcomes we must see at COP28,” Stiell said.

He added, “We are all aware that the G20 is responsible for over 80% of the world’s global emissions. It will be targeted policy decisions in these countries, which will provide the market signals to deliver the transformation we are sitting on the cusp of. Let’s zero in on three key areas where support and leadership are needed,” Stiell said while focusing on a useful stocktake which will be the centrepiece of COP28.

Earlier in the day, during his speech at WSDS on COP28, Stiell said India’s G20 Presidency should push for raising ambition globally ahead of COP28.

“The political piece of GST needs elevation. It’s not where it needs to be. It will be affected by support from all the parties. It’s an opportune moment with India having the G20 Presidency to push that very strong political signal. It should set the path for ambition for COP28,” he said.

Leena Nandan, secretary, ministry of environment who also spoke at WSDS on Friday said COP28 should focus on action and not rhetoric.

“We have all along focused on mitigation. We have been talking about climate finance and technology transfer but that has not materialised. And therefore, we keep focusing on what has not happened and relegate to the background something that is doable, quantifiable and actionable then we can take the discourse back to an area of action. The COP28 needs to focus on action,” she said, adding that India is already doing much more than its fair share.

Also Read: UN Security Council structure not working; India should have…: Liz Truss

“The very definition of climate finance is yet to be arrived at. The finance flows are yet to be seen so instead of focusing on what might have been, let’s focus on what has to be done,” she said.

“As a country which has consumed far less than its fair share of the carbon budget we have yet been taking enormous strides forward in meeting our responsibilities or growth and development along with a focus on environmental sustainability,” Nandan said adding: “We have achieved our 2015 NDC commitments much before schedule. Mindful utilisation of resources should find a place for deliberation at COP. India is committed to doing more than its fair share,” Nandan said.

According to the World Meteorological Organisation’s Provisional State of Global Climate released in November, the global mean temperature in 2022 was currently estimated to be 1.15 ± 0.13 degrees C above the 1850-1900 average (pre-industrial levels). The eight years 2015 to 2022 are likely to have been the eight warmest years on record, with 2022 most likely to be 5th or 6th warmest.

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