Climate Change / Sustainable Development

India must take the lead in negotiations at COP 23 in Bonn

As the latest Conference of Parties (COP 23) gets underway in Bonn, the focus is once again on emission targets for the developing world and the importance of bringing the US back to the negotiating table.

Nov 7, 2017
As the latest Conference of Parties (COP 23) gets underway in Bonn, the focus is once again on emission targets for the developing world and the importance of bringing the US back to the negotiating table. The Paris accord was seen as a landmark agreement since it was negotiated by representatives of 196 parties at COP 21. As of October 2017, 195 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) members have signed the agreement. COP 23 at Bonn is the second one after Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the US (which will come into effect in 2020. It is here that the rules for implementing the Paris agreement (which is not binding) will be negotiated.
 
Developing countries fear that developed countries might shift more of the emission reduction burden on to them without having facilitated a transfer of technologies in the manner that enables the achievement of even existing targets. The pledges from developed countries in Paris remain unclear and the specifics are expected to become clearer at Bonn. Countries such as India and China continue to resist the imposition of steeper emission targets on developing nations, on the principle that those responsible for emissions historically must pay a price for it. Their position is that nations without the wherewithal to invest heavily in mitigation measures must not be penalised. India must use the opportunity at Bonn to take the lead in convincing developed countries to invest in technology transfer exercises more efficiently.
 
Currently, India is set to achieve its emission reduction targets with no changes in policies, in spite of being the only one on the list of most polluting countries to have increased its emissions by almost 5% in 2016. India’s energy requirements will only grow: large parts of the country remain off the electricity grid, and it continues to witness one of the world’s largest rural to urban migrations.
 
India also has a large coastline, and anthropogenic climate change and the resultant rise in sea levels will directly affect its citizens. Thus another important point to keep in mind at Bonn is adaptation. While most targets and negotiations focus on mitigation of climate change, countries likely to face the brunt of climate change must be concerned with the important issue of long-term finance to strengthen adaptation strategies in order to cope with the impact of climate change.
 
Hindustan Times, November 7, 2017

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