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Q. Paris Climate Change Agreement: Briefly outline the important features of the Paris agreement and comment on its implementation with specific reference to India.
Apr 25, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-3

Ans :

In news-

Recently the 174 countries and the European Union (EU) have signed to the Paris Climate Change Agreement in New York to commit themselves to the decision that a range of actions must be undertaken to keep the rise in global average temperature well below 2° C over pre-industrial levels.


In December 2015, at the conclusion of COP-21, the Paris Climate Change Agreement was finalised by consensus by most of the UNFCCC participating member states and the EU to reduce emissions as part of the method for reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs).

Objectives of the agreement-

  • Holding the rise in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.

  • Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low GHG emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production.

  • Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.


  • The Paris Agreement was a major breakthrough in UNFCC negotiations, which for years were slowed by disputes between rich and poor countries over responsibilities of GHG reduction.

  • According to the agreement, countries set their own targets for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other GHGs. Though the targets are not binding, but countries must update it at every five years.

  • The Paris agreement will be effective from 2020, hence the stage is set for all countries to move to a low carbon pathway by adopting a goal of well below 2° C and instituting a regime of financing of developing economies to help make the transition.

Will India implement if successfully?

India’s estimate of its share of global GHG emissions submitted to the UN for the Paris treaty is 4.10%. India also signatory the Paris agreement and committed itself to reduce the greenhouse gas emission sharply by 2020, but has various challenges before it. Being developing country, sharp reduction of GHG emission will affect the economic growth. But recent weather events, such as droughts and floods, linked to climate change compelled us to commit in reduction of the GHG emissions.


  • Energy, transport and infrastructure are key areas in GHG emission reduction, where sound national policies are needed. Doubling cess on coal and keeping fuel price high by using taxation are welcome move, but they must translate into funding for green alternatives.

  • Government should use these funds to promote renewable energy and State governments should strongly back such moves.

  • New buildings should also be required to conform to energy efficiency codes in all States.

  • To implement the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan that aims to put about seven million electric or hybrid vehicles on the road by 2020, it requires the creation of charging infrastructure and introduction of consumer incentives etc.


Funding for new initiatives to reduce GHG emission should come from the wealthy countries, which are required to raise at least $100 billion a year. Hence the success of the climate compact will ultimately depend on whether rich countries fund innovation and open-source their green technologies to developing nations.

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