Climate change; India skips key meet

India failed to attend a two-day meeting of 51 countries where key issues regarding the Paris climate deal were discussed over the weekend and through Monday, according to officials who cited technical difficulties. 

The meeting was a closed-door ministerial conference which was meant to take stock of global efforts to fight the climate crisis and the efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C (as part of the Paris climate accord) ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow this November.

The meeting was called by COP26 president-designate, Alok Sharma and India was invited following the G20 joint ministerial on energy and climate last week.

In the statement, it said, over the past two days, countries had reached a common understanding that COP26 needs to keep 1.5°C within reach. Ministers participating in the meeting called for all countries to deliver long-term strategies towards net-zero before COP26.

One of the key agreements at the meeting was on finance. Sharma has called for a plan from developed countries on how they are going to deliver the $100 billion a year in international climate finance, which has been promised since 2009 but has been delivered. Now, the amount will have to be delivered between 2020 and 2025.

India said, the target of reducing emissions to net-zero by mid-century, proposed by some countries, will not be adequate in view of the fast-depleting global carbon space. 

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According to data provided by the Climate Watch by World Resources Institute, India emits 7.1% of global emissions and has per capita emissions of about 2.47 Tco2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent), as compared to the global average of 6.45 tco2/per capita.

The union environment minister, Bhupender Yadav said on Friday at the G20 Climate ministerial that the world should not be shifting goalposts, possibly referring to diplomatic pressure on every country to raise ambition to meet a 1.5 degree C goal.

“At COP26, India should be the voice of the vulnerable, and the conscience-keeper for the rich countries. By proffering even stronger climate action, India can reap the health and economic co-benefits. But we clearly need clean technology partnerships for industrial processes,” said Ulka Kelkar, director of the Climate Program at World Resources Institute.

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