Now that the high-decibel talks and, at times sense of hysteria, has died down with the completion of COP27, it is real time to reflect and take stock. This COP raised some hopes in the developing world with its new steps on Loss and Damage and is indeed welcome, particularly from India’s point of view. Eventually, the COP ended with some cheers on new front and equal lament on not being able to really follow up in a concrete way on old promises.
Everyone says that it was series of very tough negotiations – wonder why it is so, if the danger to each country is real and same. What do we negotiate – English or really the local interest of each country? We are still far from unanimity and really walking the talk. So much for the much-touted global collaboration! It is the same old story of some who used up major resources of the earth and sit pretty telling the lesser mortals not to use anything of it, if they want to avert a global disaster. So, this COP was no different.
Expectation are raised
One of the gains that everyone is talking about is the forward movement on Loss and Damages.
India has been raising this issue for a long time at several of these meets. What this decision has done is raised expectation of many to a very high level. Perhaps, the decision to establish a process on Loss and damages was important and long awaited. Not only did the meeting agree to bring it on the main agenda, but also decided to create a fund to assist vulnerable nations. It looked like coming when Denmark announced it earlier this year. Certainly, this is a good beginning but the road ahead is long and uncertain. Who estimates losses and how, who pays what are questions that will need a lot of effort to be sorted. $340 million has been pledged – insurance based? Doable? Now when we talk, we will do so not just about mitigation and adaptation but also this.
The other issue that seems to have dominated the conversation is on moving to talking about fossil fuel phase-down and not just coal phase-down. India has already got the coal phase-down in the conversation but why should other fossil fuels be left out? After all it is not the fuel but the emission that is the issue. So a stalled verdict on reduction in emission does not show the COP in any good light.
This also, somehow, points to the extreme limitation of COP on the issue. Indeed the ball is back in the court of individual countries. You have to fight your own emission battle. The larger question that will always be there is whether the countries have the finances or whether the promised global financial support will ever come.
India well on course
India on its part is well on its way to achieving the NDC targets. In fact, it’s one among the very few countries which are on their way to doing that. The debate in some quarters, whether the targets are ambitious enough, can continue but we need to just keep moving ahead.
The promises of Panchamrit, or the talk of LiFE, need to be put into action. The development imperatives are vital so we need to move on a path of responsible growth. It’s about India’s 5 trillionjourney which has to be a wellscripted story of transformation. We need to remember that 40% or so of India will live in cities by 2030, contributing many times to the GDP.
Sixty per cent of India will be middle class in the next decade, with global aspirations, demanding world-class infrastructure. But, this will have consequences – power consumption is estimated to go up by 13+% on YoY basis, Water consumption may double, we may be dealing with 500+ MT of waste. But, we cannot deny ourselves growth merely because of these consequences. Energy transition appears to be on track. We need to do things in a better way as about70% of the next decade India is still to be built.
Take LiFE call seriously The resources that are required for this need to be urgently mobilised. The structures that will carry this responsible growth need to be put in place. Climate Justice needs to be our central concern. It is imperative that we have a very good plan of achieving our development goals with increased reduction in emission. The Prime Ministers call on LiFE needs to be seriously taken all around. The talk should not just be on sustainable production, the focus should also be on sustainable consumption as well. Mitigation and adaptation must go hand in
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