IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 30th Nov 2020

Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020-21.

EDITORIAL HUNT #268 :“Climate Change Summits and Efforts till 2020 | UPSC

Climate Change Summits and Efforts till 2020 | UPSC

T.P. Sreenivasan
Climate Change Summits and Efforts till 2020 | UPSC

T.P. Sreenivasan, a former Ambassador, was the Vice Chairman of the first Conference of Parties to the UNFFCC from 1992 to 1995

      HEADLINES:

The Paris Agreement is no panacea

      CENTRAL THEME:

It is a repudiation of the principles of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ and ‘the polluter must pay’

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3 : Climate Change : Paris Agreement

      MAINS QUESTION:

There is no language in the Paris climate agreement which can define penal actions and bound measures on the countries . The vigour of climate action has faded away. Discuss the climate efforts and international commitments until we met the pandemic. -(GS 3)

      LEARNING: 

  • Polluters must pay concept
  • Efforts over the years
  • A Fundamental Change
  • Way Forward

      INTRODUCTION: 

Many developing countries, including India hesitated to sign the Paris Agreement because it had exempted developed countries from their mandatory obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  • THE POLLUTERS PAY MINDSET : Today, the Paris Agreement is deemed as the solution for all environmental ills when the truth is that it is based on- ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ and ‘the polluter must pay’.
  • CLIMATE WHISTLEBLOWERS : Mr. Trump was not the only one who called the Paris Agreement a hoax.
  • ADHERING TO MINIMUM STANDARDS : Many scientists and environmentalists expressed deep disappointment when it was adopted, as the national and international actions envisaged under it were far below the optimum levels.
  • BENCHMARKS : They did not add up to limiting the rise of global temperature to below 2°C, the minimum necessary to save the globe from disastrous consequences.
  • CHANGING MANNERISM : It merely opened a new path to protect the lifestyles of industrialised nations by denying the developing countries their right to development.

Climate Change Summits and Efforts till 2020 | UPSC

SOURCES : SHUTTERSTOCK

      BODY: 

EFFORTS OVER THE YEARS

RIO CONFERENCE

  • GLOBAL COOPERATION : The most hopeful time for global cooperation in protection of the planet was between the time of the Stockholm Conference (1972) and the time of the Rio Conference (1992).
  • CREATING A SYNC : Mounting scientific evidence about the role of anthropogenic emissions in global warming led to political initiatives to harmonise development and environment.

Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s resounding address at Stockholm declaring poverty as the worst polluter reverberated in many conference halls.

  • HISTORIC DEAL : The historic consensus in Rio led to the adoption of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC).
  • FRAMEWORK : RIO was a model global instrument balancing the right to development of the developing countries and the obligations of the developed countries.
  • OUTCOMES : A distinction was made between the ‘‘luxury emissions” of the developed countries, which were reduced mandatorily, and the survival emissions of the developed countries, which were allowed to increase.
  • TECHNOLOGICAL ASSISTANCE : Moreover, a huge financial package was approved to develop environment-friendly technologies in developing countries.
  • KICKING THE DEAL : By the time the Conference of the Parties was held in Berlin in 1995, the developed countries had backed off from their commitments.

They made a determined effort to impose mandatory cuts on developing countries.

KYOTO PROTOCOL

  • PROTOCOL : The Kyoto Protocol enshrined the Rio principles.
  • EMISSION TARGETS : It fixed emission targets for developed countries and a complex set of provisions was included to satisfy their interests.
  • RATIFICATION STATUS : Kyoto Protocol was never ratified by the U.S. Congress and the U.S. withdrew its support in 2001.

COPENHAGEN ACCORD

  • THE ACCORD : The end of the Kyoto Protocol and the abandonment of the spirit of the Rio principles were reflected in the Copenhagen Accord (2009).

It was engineered by the U.S. and China and sold to some key countries including India. 

  • CENTRAL IDEA OF COPENHAGEN ACCORD : It was on the argument that a global climate action plan would be possible only if all reductions of the greenhouse gases were made voluntary.
  • VALIDITY : The basic terms of the Copenhagen Accord were brokered directly by a handful of key country leaders including the U.S., China, India and Brazil on the final day of the conference.
  • OBJECTIONS AND REJECTIONS : It took another full day of tense negotiations to arrive at a procedural compromise allowing the deal to be formalised over the bitter objections of a few governments.

PARIS AGREEMENT

  • BIRTH OF PARIS AGREEMENT : There was a virtual revolt by the developing countries, but the Paris Agreement was virtually born in Copenhagen, and adopted later in 2015.

A FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE

  • A COMMON PLATFORM : The Paris Agreement marked a fundamental change in the principles of Rio and for the first time brought all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change.
  • STRENGTHENING EFFORTS : It requires all parties to put forward their best efforts through nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and to strengthen these efforts in the years ahead.
  • REPORTING MECHANISM : This includes all parties to report regularly on their emissions and on their implementation efforts.
  • VOLUNTARISM : The Paris Agreement moved away from the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and all countries were placed on an equal footing.

This made the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions voluntary.

  • DESIRED OUTCOME : The NDCs so far submitted will not result in the desired objective of limiting increase of global warming to below 2°C.
  • CUT GREEN HOUSES GASES : The Paris Agreement requires that all countries — rich, poor, developed, and developing — slash greenhouse gas emissions.

But no language is included on the commitments the countries should make. 

  • PENAL ACTION : Nations can voluntarily set their emissions targets and incur no penalties for falling short of their targets.
  • FIVE YEARS APPROACH : It sets forth a requirement for countries to announce their next round of targets every five years, but does not include a specific requirement to achieve them.

Climate Change Summits and Efforts till 2020 | UPSC

SOURCES : SHUTTERSTOCK

      IASbhai Windup: 

  • REJECTED TREATY : The scientific community has already rejected the Paris Agreement as a solution.
  • IRREVERSIBLE CHANGES : Further temperature rise, even of 1.5°C, may result in catastrophic and irreversible changes.

At 1.5°C, 70%-90% of coral reefs across the world would die.At 2°C, none would be left.

  • ROASTED PLANET : Even a 1°C hotter planet is not a steady state, says a report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
  • TECHNO-OPTIMISM : The techno-optimism that the wonders of technology will be able to find answers to the dilemma we face without our having to alter our patterns of living is a delusion.
  • COLLABORATIVE APPROACH : This will only be possible if the world rejects nationalism and parochialism and adopts collaborative responses to the crisis.

“The pathways to avoiding an even hotter world would require a swift and complete transformation not just of the global economy but of society too”

       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Climate Change Summits and Efforts till 2020 | UPSC

 

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