Biodiversity & Environment
Conference of the Parties (COP 24)
- 18 Dec 2018
- 8 min read
Recently, 24th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) concluded in Katowice, Poland.
- The aim of the conference was to finalize a rulebook for Paris agreement 2015. Paris climate pact will come into effect in 2020 and replace the existing Kyoto Protocol.
- Paris Climate Pact has voluntary emission reduction targets called as “Nationally Determined Contributions” (NDCs) — of individual nations, who have different definitions and timetables for their greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction pledges. The rulebook will ensure that the signatories of the pact are held to standards.
Outcome of Summit
- The Katowice conference has finalized a rulebook for implementation of the Paris Agreement, which was unanimously adopted by all member countries.
- The guidelines set out how countries will provide information about their Nationally Determined Contributions describing their domestic climate actions, mitigation and adaptation measures how countries will report and monitor their national pledges to curb greenhouse gas emissions and update their emissions plans.
- States are required to provide detailed information on the type of actions they have taken. If they have absolute economy-wide targets, they need to provide quantifiable information on their reference points for measurements, the gases covered, their planning processes, how countries consider their contribution fair and ambitious, and how it contributes to the objective of the NDC’s.
- The conference also saw some progress on the major issue of climate finance. The rulebook has addressed some concerns about the opaqueness of climate financing. Now, Developed Nations had to provide hard data on the sources of future financial flows.
- The rulebook says what kinds of financial flows — loans, concessions, grants — can be classified as climate finance, how they should be accounted for, and the kind of information about them needed to be submitted.
- The rulebook is a dynamic document, meaning new rules can be added, or existing rules amended.
Issues in Conference
- Disagreement on IPCC Report: The 1.5°C Report, which was produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in October 2018 was not acknowledged as an evidence-based cause for alarm by the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Russia.
Issueof Equity: Provisions did not reflect the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities. Poorer nations vulnerable to climate change also wanted more clarity on how an already agreed $100 billion a year of climate finance by 2020 will be provided.
- Market Mechanism: The conference could not reach a consensus on voluntary market mechanisms. Article 6 of the Paris Agreement talks about setting up a market mechanism for trading of carbon emissions.
- A carbon market allows countries, or industries, to earn carbon credits for the emission reductions they make in excess of what is required of them. These carbon credits can be traded to the highest bidder in exchange for money. The buyers of carbon credits can show the emission reductions as their own and use them to meet their own reduction targets.
- Developing countries like China, India, and Brazil have accumulated huge amounts of unused carbon credits. These countries argued that their unused carbon credits should be considered valid in the new market mechanism that was being created, which was opposed by the developed countries.
- Developed countries questioned the authenticity of the unused carbon credits, pointing to weak verification mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol that allowed dubious projects to claim carbon credits.
- The discussion over carbon markets is deferred to the next year.
India’s Stand at the conference
- India reaffirmed its commitment to meeting the goals under the 2015 Paris Agreement while protecting its key interest including climate justice ( "Climate Justice" means solutions to the climate change problem that promote human rights, equity, labor rights, and environmental justice globally and locally).
- India expressed strong reservation over the lack of equity in the global stock-take (taking stock of collective progress toward achieving the purpose of the Paris Agreement and its long-term goals) in the rule book of the agreement.
- It sought a robust transparency regime for countries to disclose their emissions.
- Sustainable Lifestyles - To put forward and further propagate a healthy and sustainable way of living based on traditions and values of conservation and moderation.
- Cleaner Economic Development - To adopt a climate-friendly and a cleaner path than the one followed hitherto by others at the corresponding level of economic development.
- Reducing Emission intensity of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - To reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 level.
- Increasing the Share of Non-Fossil Fuel Based Electricity - To achieve about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030 with the help of transfer of technology and low-cost international finance including from Green Climate Fund (GCF). India has a target to install 227 GW target of renewable energy by 2022.
- Enhancing Carbon Sink (Forests) - To create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
- Adaptation - To better adapt to climate change by enhancing investments in development programmes in sectors vulnerable to climate change, particularly agriculture, water resources, Himalayan region, coastal regions, health, and disaster management.
- Mobilizing Finance - To mobilize domestic and new & additional funds from developed countries to implement the above mitigation and adaptation actions in view of the resource required and the resource gap.
- Technology Transfer and Capacity Building - To build capacities, create a domestic framework and international architecture for quick diffusion of cutting-edge climate technology in India and for joint collaborative R&D for such future technologies.