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COP 28 Dubai summit begins today: A deep dive into India’s role and challenge at climate summit

A brief about COP 28

Officially, COP 28 stands for the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It takes place every year, and is the world’s only multilateral decision-making forum on climate change with almost complete membership of every country in the world.

This year’s COP holds significance in the wake of geopolitical risks that have come to forth after the Israel-Hamas war and Russia’s ongoing “special military operation” in Ukraine.

What role India would play at COP 28

Being a developing nation, India’s role at COP 28 summit remains crucial this year. India is among the top emitters of green house gases. It also houses the world’s largest population. Therefore, it would be important for the country to remain ambitious (forward looking), at the same remain equitable. For India, the negotiations are going to be about give and take.

Key themes to watch out for at COP28 include: Emissions mitigation targets, Phase out fossil fuel, Financing from developed nations, focus on industry-led solutions, low-carbon innovation, differences between developed and developing nations, progress on operationalising Paris Agreement Article, reform role of private sector investment and proxy for other issues and relations restoration.

India’s challenges at COP 28

1. India is responsible for high methane emission, especially from the agriculture sector — which remains a livelihood for many people in the country. Therefore, cutting down on methane emission for India could be a point of contention at the COP 28 conference.

ALSO READ: COP28: Should you expect anything earth-shaking?

According to experts from the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), the emission from the agricultural sector are “survival emission”. Also, emission cuts from agriculture could mean changes in cropping patterns. This could even have huge implications for India’s food security.

In the wake of this matter, experts said there’s a need for India to cut down on “luxury emissions” in the country. Not just agriculture, but oil and gas and waste/garbage are also equally responsible for methane emissions in the country.

ALSO READ: COP28, IEA forge path to 1.5C degree-aligned energy transition

2. Besides, new CSE-Down to Earth assessment revealed that India witnessed an extreme weather event almost every other day in the first nine months of this year. Therefore, the country needs to lay especial emphasis on the “loss and damage finance”.

“Estimations of economic, non-economic and ecological losses due to ongoing and future impacts of climate change are termed as loss and damage (L&D),” the CSE said in one of its reports.

ALSO READ: PM Modi to attend UN climate talks in Dubai on December 1

4. The demands of an immediate shut-down of coal-fired power plants is another idea which India finds unacceptable. According to the India Express, the country insists that it will have to rely on coal for power production for at least a decade-and-a-half.

ALSO READ: COP28 in 10 charts: All that you need to know before Dubai summit

This is where phasing out fossil fuels becomes a big task for many developing countries, such as India. Meanwhile, experts have signalled that it is time for action COP28 needs to be the moment we set a date for the phase-out of fossil fuels.

However, India has not been mincing words about its energy security needs. About 73 per cent of electricity consumed in India is produced using coal, even though the country has increased its non-fossil capacity to 44 per cent of its total installed power generation capacity, Reuters reported.

5. India will need money to meet renewable energy targets. While India is transitioning to a larger share of clean energy sources, it needs to source finance to support the development of green energy corridors and an improved grid infrastructure to support the growth, news agency ANI reported. The G20 New Delhi Leaders Declaration had underlined the need for $5.8-5.9 trillion in the pre-2030 period for developing countries to meet the net zero target.

ALSO READ: Mint explainer: What to expect from COP28?

According to the India Express report, any proposal that asks India to reduce its emissions is a strict no for the country. It explained that India’s climate actions are framed in terms of emissions intensity, or emissions per unit of GDP, and not on emissions directly.

“It means that while India’s emissions would continue to grow, in the short and medium term, emissions as a proportion to the GDP would decline. As a corollary, India also rejects any suggestions to define a peak, or a peak-year, for its emissions,” the report said.

At the COP 28 summit, the talks are scheduled to last a fortnight. However, they often spill over by an extra day or two as delegates argue over the final language of a communique that wraps up the meetings, Bloomberg reported.

The two-week summit will include a “global stocktake” to track how far off course the world is to keeping global warming below 1.5C and what more needs to be done to close the gap.

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Updated: 30 Nov 2023, 06:05 AM IST

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