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India’s Climate Pledges

  • 08 Sep 2022
  • 8 min read

For Prelims: Paris Agreement, United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP 26), Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), European Union (EU), Climate Change.

For Mains: Paris Climate Agreement and its Impacts.

Why in News?

Recently, a study has ranked India’s updated climate pledge to the Paris Agreement fifth in compliance and fourth in ambition.

What are the Key Highlights of the Study?

  • About:
    • The study was published in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change.
    • It included eight countries — India, the US, China, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Australia and Brazil — and the European Union.
    • Nearly all signatories to the Paris Agreement updated their climate commitments during the 26th session of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP 26).
  • Outcomes:
    • European Union (EU) took the lead while the United States was ranked last in compliance and second to last in ambition.
      • Compliance: In the compliance category, the EU took the lead which was followed by China, Australia, South Africa, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and the US.
    • Ambition:
      • In the Ambition category, the EU was followed by China, South Africa, India, Australia, Brazil, Russia, the United States and Saudi Arabia.
  • Parameters:
  • Statistical Analysis:
    • Nations with more stable governments are more likely to have bold and highly credible pledges.
    • Besides, China and other non-democracies are also likely to honour their commitments.
      • Their administrative and political systems enable them to implement complex national policies.

What is the Paris Agreement?

  • About:
    • The Paris Agreement (also known as the Conference of Parties 21 or COP 21) was adopted in 2015.

    • It replaced the Kyoto Protocol which was an earlier agreement to deal with climate change.

    • It is a global treaty wherein some 200 countries agreed to cooperate to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) Emissions and rein in climate change.

      • It seeks to limit global warming to well below 2°C, preferably to 1.5°C, compared to pre-industry levels.

  • Working:
    • The Paris Agreement works on a 5- year cycle of increasingly ambitious climate action carried out by countries. In 2020, countries had submitted their plans for climate action known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
    • Long-Term Strategies:

      • Long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies (LT-LEDS) provide the long-term horizon for the NDCs. Unlike NDCs, they are not mandatory.

  • Tracking Progress:
    • With the Paris Agreement, countries established an enhanced transparency framework (ETF). Under ETF, starting in 2024, countries will report transparently on actions taken and progress in climate change mitigation, adaptation measures and support provided or received.
      • It also provides for international procedures for the review of the submitted reports.
      • The information gathered through the ETF will feed into the Global stocktake which will assess the collective progress towards the long-term climate goals.

Way Forward

  • To achieve this long-term temperature goal, countries should aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate-neutral world by mid-century.
  • There is a need for credible short-term commitments, with a clear pathway to medium-term decarbonization, that takes into account the multiple challenges states face, such as air pollution, and development might well be the more defensible choice for some.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)


Q. With reference to the Agreement at the UNFCCC Meeting in Paris in 2015, which of the following statements is/are correct? (2016)

  1. The Agreement was signed by all the member countries of the UN and it will go into effect in 2017.
  2. The Agreement aims to limit greenhouse gas emissions so that the rise in average global temperature by the end of this century does not exceed 2ºC or even 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels.
  3. Developed countries acknowledged their historical responsibility in global warming and committed to donate $ 1000 billion a year from 2020 to help developing countries to cope with climate change.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 3 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (b)


  • The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 at COP21 in Paris, France by the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • The Agreement aims to limit the greenhouse gas emissions so that the rise in average global temperature by the end of this century does not exceed 2°C or even 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Hence, statement 2 is correct.
  • The Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016, thirty days after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 % of the total global greenhouse gas emissions had deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession with the depositary. Hence, statement 1 is not correct.
  • Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change, in line with their own national objectives.
  • The Paris Agreement requires all Parties to put forward their best efforts through Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and to strengthen these efforts in the years ahead. This includes the requirement that all Parties report regularly on their emissions and on their implementation efforts.
  • There will also be a global stocktake every 5 years to assess the collective progress towards achieving the purpose of the Agreement and to inform further individual actions by the Parties.
  • Through the Cancun Agreements in 2010 developed country Parties committed to a goal of mobilizing jointly USD 100 billion per year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries.
  • Further, they also agreed that prior to 2025 the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement shall set a new collective quantified goal from a floor of USD 100 billion per year. Hence, statement 3 is not correct. Therefore, option (b) is the correct answer.

Source: DTE

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