Pune Climate Dialogue sets the tone for Petersberg Climate Dialogue

At the Pune Climate Dialogue held on Earth Day,  April 22, India’s Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar set the tone for the Petersberg Climate Dialogue through his interaction with nearly 350 climate experts, students and enthusiasts

Rajendra Shende Apr 29, 2020
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At the Pune Climate Dialogue held on Earth Day,  April 22, India’s Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar set the tone for the Petersberg Climate Dialogue through his interaction with nearly 350 climate experts, students and enthusiasts. He interacted with the participants through webinar organised by TERRE Policy Centre, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and MIT World Peace University of Pune.

The Petersberg Climate Dialogue (PCD)  was launched in 2010 at the initiative of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and is named after the venue of the first meeting. It is believed to be a resurrection of the failed climate negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009.  The PCD’s goal is to re-create a space for close and constructive exchanges among climate ministers. The 11th PCD took place on April 27-28 also through video conferencing. Merkel and UN Secretary-General António Guterres also took part in the meeting.
 
In his 20-minute keynote speech, Minister Javadekar highlighted the positive environmental changes globally during the current lockdown. He said the messages are clear from COVID-19. Firstly, having experienced blue skies, clean rivers and a massive reduction in emissions it is proven beyond doubt that it is our lifestyle that is responsible for unsustainable and indiscriminate consumption.  Secondly, we are simply not willing to work together as evident from the broken promises at the United Nations Climate Negotiations on finances and technology transfer. He reminded that it was because of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative the preamble of Paris Climate Agreement introduced lifestyle change and climate justice as two levers that can help in the climate negotiations.
 
During the interaction that lasted for another 20 minutes,  participants asked if COVID 19 would impact on India’s commitment to Paris climate agreement. Javadekar stated that India is on track to fulfil the pledges given in the Paris climate agreement (called as Nationally Determined Contribution-NDCs) . But pledges given by the developed world are far from being met, including financial commitment which now has accumulated to USD 1 trillion. The negotiating principle of common but  differentiated responsibility (CBDR) has not been respected.
 
In reply to a question,  he said he would not romanticise the blue skies and clean earth as a result of the lockdown. After all, we are a nation of 130 crore (1.3 billion) people and we need industry and business. But balanced and holistic approaches are a must to move towards sustainable development, he said. 

Javadekar, in a separate video message to the PCD, stated that we should have climate technology as an open-source which must be available at an affordable cost.  Stressing on the issue of climate finance, he advocated  “Developed countries must plan for 1 trillion USD in grants to developing world immediately”.  He said COVID–19 has taught us that we can survive on less. The world must think of adopting more sustainable consumption patterns in line with the requirement of sustainable lifestyles, as first mooted by PM Modi.
It was suggested that the Pune Climate Dialogue would now be held annually before every COP. It is part of the series on Impact of COVID19 on Sustainable Development Goals.
 
(The writer is Chairman TERRE Policy Centre and former Director, UNEP . He can be contacted  at shende.rajendra@gmail.com)