India too missing mark to achieve Paris climate goals: Experts

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New Delhi, June 15 (IANS) A vast majority of nations, including disaster-facing India, are missing the mark in achieving the goal set at the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The leaked United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) draft report is a warning on climate’s adverse impacts, experts warned on Friday.

The draft report, due for publication in October after revisions, says “if emissions continue at their present rate, human-induced warming will exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius by around 2040”.

“India has been on the frontline of climate change, and has had more than its fair share of floods, droughts and cyclones in these last few years,” Harjeet Singh, Global Lead on Climate Change, ActionAid, told IANS.

He said more than half of India’s population is directly or indirectly dependent on climate-sensitive livelihoods such as agriculture.

“Warnings from the IPCC’s report must, therefore, be taken extremely seriously by Indian policymakers. While the government must rightfully demand greater climate action from developed nations, it must also accelerate efforts to reduce India’s own carbon pollution, and implement strategies to protect Indian citizens from climate impacts.”

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India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), rated by Climate Action Tracker’s independent scientific analysis, as “two degrees Celsius compatible”, is still too high for the 1.5 degrees Celsius limit set in Paris.

Experts say current Indian climate pledges can be achieved if the country continues to increase the share of non-fossil energy resources.

India has ratified the 2015 Paris Agreement and pledged to reduce domestic emissions by 33 to 35 per cent by 2030 — below 2005 levels — and increase the share of non-fossil energy resources to 40 per cent of installed electric power capacity by 2030.

According to the IPCC draft, temperatures across the globe are already up about one degree Celsius and are rising at a rate of about 0.2 degree Celsius a decade, asking world leaders to observe their commitments under the Paris Agreement.

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Teresa Anderson, Climate Policy Officer for ActionAid International, said the IPCC draft report is warning that the climate pledges taken by governments so far are nowhere near enough to avoid catastrophic climate impacts for much of the planet.

“The rising sea levels, cyclones, droughts, heatwaves and floods that countries like India are already experiencing will become more frequent, more intense and affect many more countries unless action is scaled up dramatically.

“The IPCC report must serve as a global fire alarm, to wake up sleepwalking governments.”

Greenpeace Chief Scientist Doug Parr said Britain has been pulling its weight when it comes to emissions reductions, with coal phaseout showing the world where to cut first and cut deepest.

“But unless we approach other major carbon sources with the same seriousness, cleaning up power generation will be a weak gesture. There are still some highly cost-effective low-hanging fruits left to pick like energy efficiency and a rapid shift to clean vehicles,” Parr said in a statement.

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The eighth edition of UN Environment’s Emissions Gap report, released ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn in October 2018, found that national pledges only brought a third of the reduction in emissions required by 2030 to meet climate targets.

The report finds that current Paris pledges make 2030 emissions likely to reach 11 to 13.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) above the level needed to stay on the least-cost path to meeting the two degrees Celsius target.

One gigatonne is roughly equivalent to one year of transport emissions in the European Union, including aviation.

–IANS

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