Climate Champion: India does well on climate change mitigation action, but need to get the US and China to act

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December 9, 2020 5:00 AM

The largest historical polluter, the US, ranks last—thanks largely to the Trump presidency’s climate denialism—and the current largest polluter, China, ranks 33rd.

The largest historical polluter, the US, ranks last—thanks largely to the Trump presidency’s climate denialism—and the current largest polluter, China, ranks 33rd.The largest historical polluter, the US, ranks last—thanks largely to the Trump presidency’s climate denialism—and the current largest polluter, China, ranks 33rd. (Representative image)

India’s climate action has been receiving global appreciation—despite the fact that it is one of the largest absolute emitters of greenhouse gases. The country has made it to the top-10 in the Climate Change Performance Index, drawn up by Greenwatch and New Climate Institute together with Climate Action Network. The rankings are done for 57 countries and the EU, together responsible for 90% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This should position India, along with the likes of the UK, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, as a global climate leader. But, the sobering reality is countries collectively are not doing enough to meet the Paris Agreement targets. No wonder, the top three ranks in the index remain empty as no country has met the criteria to get placed high enough on the index to merit a podium finish. The largest historical polluter, the US, ranks last—thanks largely to the Trump presidency’s climate denialism—and the current largest polluter, China, ranks 33rd.

This shows that no other country(-ies) assuming the mantle of climate leadership will help until the US gets its act together in a rather drastic manner and China adopts a more ambitious course of action. Among the G20 countries, the report notes that only the EU as a whole, along with India and the UK are high-performing while six have very low scores. Given that India was ranked 31st in 2014, it has done remarkably well. However, despite moving aggressively on renewables, India doesn’t enjoy a very high rating in this segment. Given that it is a crucial element of mitigation and adaptability, India and others need to invest far more. Developed nations need to facilitate low- and middle-income nations adopt green technology for growth. And this will only happen if they contribute more meaningfully to the Green Climate Fund.

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