In overall terms, however, India seems to be doing much better than many developed nations and comparator economies when it comes to cutting emissions and climate change action in line with the Copenhagen 2009 goal of limiting the rise in global temperature to 2oC by 2100.
Given the 80,000-tonne flotilla of plastic waste drifting in the Pacific ocean is now estimated to cover an area greater than France, Germany and Spain combined, the UN’s focus on “beating plastic pollution” as theme of the World Environment Day this year is quite merited. And India, which plays the host for the observation of the day today, has increased its annual generation of plastic waste to 9.6 million tonnes; even though that is lower than the US’s 30 million tonnes, it is clear India needs to work on this. India has put in place Plastic Waste Management Rules, but it is not clear how effective these are; indeed, there has been some slipping here.
In overall terms, however, India seems to be doing much better than many developed nations and comparator economies when it comes to cutting emissions and climate change action in line with the Copenhagen 2009 goal of limiting the rise in global temperature to 2oC by 2100. As per Climate Action Tracker (CAT) that reflects scientific analysis of climate data by three research organisations, India’s current gamut of emission-reduction policies, including those related to increasing dependence on renewable sources of energy, make it “<2oC compatible” and likely to “overachieve” its climate action targets submitted under the Paris Agreement.
If India is able to fully implement its Draft National Electricity Plan, it could achieve its 2030 target of 40% of non-fossil-fuel-based power capacity by 2020 itself. In contrast, the US—one of the largest current emitters of greenhouse gases and the largest historical emitter—with its current policies is set to lead the world into a scorching ‘4oC-plus rise in global temperature’ scenario. The Donald Trump presidency has pulled the country out of the Paris Agreement—even though the country’s commitments at Paris under Barack Obama would have still been insufficient to keep global temperatures under 2oC, they would have enough to keep this under 3oC.
Under their present policy trajectories, neither Brazil that has been hailed for acting on reversing the loss of its rainforests—which act as major carbon-sinks—nor China that has indicated that it will continue championing climate efforts, are on track to help keep global temperature rise under 2oC by 2100.
India is emerging as the global climate leader. However, its efforts will amount to little if developed nations and its comparator economies don’t work towards more ambitious cuts. India will need to build greater consensus around the responsibilities of developed nations.