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G20 Energy and Climate Meet

  • 26 Jul 2021
  • 8 min read

Why in News

At the recent G20 Climate Meet, India urged the group of 20 nations (G20) having per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions above the global average to bring it down to the world average, thereby vacating ‘some' carbon space for developing nations.

  • This will support the developmental aspirations of the developing nations.
  • Presently, Italy holds the G20 Presidency and the Climate Meet is being seen as a prelude to the UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP 26) meeting in Glasgow, Scotland in November 2021.


  • The G20 is an informal group of 19 countries and the European Union, with representatives of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
  • The G20 membership comprises a mix of the world’s largest advanced and emerging economies, representing about two-thirds of the world’s population, 85% of global gross domestic product, 80% of global investment and over 75% of global trade.
  • The members of the G20 are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.
  • It does not have any permanent secretariat or headquarters.

Key Points

  • India's Stand:
    • There is a need to cut absolute emissions rapidly while taking into account the Paris Agreement which emphasized on:
    • India noted the pledges made by some countries to achieve Net Zero GHG emissions or carbon Neutrality by or around mid century.
      • However, this may not be adequate in view of fast depleting available carbon space.
      • Keeping in view the legitimate need of developing countries to grow, it urged G20 countries to commit to bringing down per capita emissions to Global average by 2030.
      • Carbon neutrality means having a balance between emitting carbon and absorbing carbon from the atmosphere in carbon sinks.
      • Carbon space is the amount of carbon (or CO2) that can be put into the atmosphere without this leading to a level of warming—or underlying concentrations of CO2—that can be considered dangerous or otherwise undesirable.
    • Stressed on Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) to combat climate change.
    • Mentioned its plans of installing 450 GW (Giga Watt) of RE (Renewable Energy) by 2030, enhanced ambitions in bio-fuels, India’s NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) and various other initiatives taken by India on Urban Climate Action.

Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR)

  • Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) is a principle within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • It acknowledges different capabilities and differing responsibilities of individual countries in addressing climate change.
  • The principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibility’ evolved from the notion of the ‘common heritage of mankind’.
  • The principle of CBDR is enshrined in Earth Summit 1992, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • CBDR is based on two elements of responsibilities:
    • One is the common responsibility of all the states to cater to the concerns of environmental protection and sustainable development.
    • Another is of differentiated responsibility enabling the states to act, for environment protection, in their national capacity and as per their national priority.
  • The principle recognizes historical differences in the contributions of developed and developing States to global environmental problems and differences in their respective economic and technical capacity to tackle these problems.
  • India’s initiatives under Urban Climate Action:
    • Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework (CSCAF): CSCAF initiative intends to inculcate a climate-sensitive approach to urban planning and development in India.
      • To provide a clear roadmap for cities towards combating Climate Change while planning and implementing their actions, including investments.
    • National Mission on Sustainable Habitat is one of the eight missions under national climate change action plan and aims to make cities sustainable through improvements in energy efficiency in buildings, management of solid waste & shift to public transport.
    • Climate Practitioners India Network (CPIN): It is first-of-its-kind network developed by Climate Centre for Cities (C-Cube) to support Cities and Practitioners across India.
      • C-Cube wants to create a platform for Climate Practitioners across all cities in India to collaborate and contribute towards implementing Climate Actions.
    • Urban Forestry: The government of India in 2020 launched the Nagar Van Scheme. The Nagar Van (Urban Forests) aims to develop 200 Urban Forests across the country in the next five years.
      • Urban forestry is defined as the planting, maintenance, care and protection of tree populations in urban settings.
  • India led Global Collaborations to Fight Climate Change:

Way Forward

  • Resolving Development-Climate Change Dilemma: The present dilemma is to decarbonise while meeting development goals of a developing country like India.
    • Therefore, what is important is that the new investments go in the direction of decarbonising, but only after taking into account possible synergies and trade-offs with other development objectives.
  • Climate Change, a Global Collective Action Problem: Global community should not be shifting goalposts and setting new benchmarks for global climate ambition.
    • There is a need to recognise climate change as a global collective action problem and must be combated ‘as per respective capabilities and national circumstances’.
  • Disaster Preparedness: Disasters can not be stopped but well-preparedness and strong climate change mitigation policies can definitely help prevent a huge amount of loss.
  • Convergent Approach: Sustainable growth depends on timely climate action and for that to happen, policymaking needs to have a convergent approach regarding carbon emissions, atmospheric warming, melting glaciers, extreme floods and storms.

Source: IE

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