India has not caused the climate change crisis and, unlike developed nations, it is meeting its obligations under the Paris Climate Accord, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said Friday.
Speaking on the eve of the Climate Ambition Summit, which will mark five years of the Paris agreement, Javadekar said that historically, the developed nations have been the highest carbon emitters and, thus, were responsible for global warming.
The Climate Action Summit will be hosted jointly by the UK COP26 Presidency along with the UN and France, in partnership with Italy and Chile. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, among other leaders, will address the summit via a video message.
A day ahead of the meet, Javadekar said: “Historically it’s the developed countries that have been major contributors to carbon emissions with the United States with the highest historical emissions at 25 per cent, followed by the EU at 22 per cent and China at 13 per cent. Historically India has a low carbon emission contribution of only 3 per cent. Even presently, our carbon emissions remain restricted at 6.8 per cent of global emissions and the per capita emissions is only 1.9 tonnes per capita. Thus, our historic, as well as present contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, is low. Despite the fact that India has not been the reason for climate change, we have responsibly addressed the issue and have taken strong measures to curb our carbon emissions and to meet goals set by the Paris Agreement.”
Reduction in India’s emissions
A UN report released earlier this year stated that India’s per capita emissions are actually 60% lower than the global average. Also, emissions in the country grew 1.4% in 2019, much lower than its average of 3.3% per year over the last decade, the Emissions Gap Report said. The Environment Ministry says several measures including the swtich to BS VI and the increase in the capacity of renewable and solar energy, assisted in cutting CO2 emissions by 164 million kg.
The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change and was adopted by 196 countries at COP21 in Paris in December 2015 with a goal to limit global warming to well below 2° Celsius, and preferably limit it to 1.5° Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.
To achieve this long-term temperature goal, countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate-neutral world by mid-century.
Javadekar said that besides India, only Bhutan, the Philippines, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Morocco and Gambia were complying with the accord.
Currently, China has the highest greenhouse gas emissions (30 per cent) while the US contributes 13.5 per cent and the EU 8.7 per cent.
“Critically insufficient” countries with a 4 degrees Celsius increase include US, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Ukraine. Other “insufficient countries” include China, South Korea and Japan.
The minister said India’s Nationally Determined Contributions lays down eight targets for 2021-2030 which include reduction of emissions intensity of GDP by 33-35% by 2030 over 2005 levels.