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COP26 Glasgow 2021: What can India hope to achieve?

We examine India's agenda at COP26 Glasgow 2021 climate change conference, what it hopes to achieve and what are the challenges. The fate of humanity arguably depends on the outcome of COP26

UN climate summit | COP | Climate Change

Bhaswar Kumar  |  New Delhi 

The 26th UN Conference of the Parties, better known as COP26, began in the United Kingdom yesterday. Hosted in Glasgow, the summit will conclude on 12th November. Now, before we get into the details, let's clear something up: what exactly is a These conferences are organised under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC, an international treaty agreed to in 1992. It came into force in 1994. is a summit where the 197 signatories to the UNFCCC come together to decide how to implement the treaty. At present, the signatories include 196 countries and the EU. Now, let's talk about the latest summit. Several leaders have described COP26 as a "make or break" deal for the planet.

And, its stated goals back up such a description. COP26 will seek to finalise the ‘Paris Rulebook’, the rules needed to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate. As such, the delegates will try to find a solution regarding carbon markets. The aim being to create a robust system of carbon credits that supports the transition to net zero. Countries are also being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emission-reduction targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century. The crucial context here is that the Paris Agreement’s central aim is to keep global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. So, now that we know what COP26 is all about, the question that arises is, what is India's agenda at the summit? INDIA'S AGENDA • Push for 450-Gw RE capacity by 2030 • May not commit to phasing out coal • Ask for $100 billion in climate funding per year • Pitch for reopening of carbon credits market • Urge Global North to set up Loss & Damage Compensation Mechanism Most of the discussions ahead of the summit have revolved around getting all countries to commit to a net-zero target by a specific year. However, India has reportedly rejected calls to announce a net-zero carbon emissions target. Keep in mind that India’s per capita carbon emissions per year is 1.96 tonne, while it is 8.4 tonnes for China, 18.6 tonnes for the US, and 7.16 tonnes for the European Union, against a world average of 6.64 tonne. Also, a recent report by the Natural Resources Defense Council said that India was largely on track to meet, and even exceed, its Paris Agreement targets. Even so, India will face considerable pressure from various quarters at the summit. Which brings us to our next question. What are the challenges that India will face at COP26? According to Laveesh Bhandari, Senior Fellow, CSEP, the main challenges for India will be the pressure to declare net-zero date and reduce the use of coal. While it remains to be seen whether India will succeed in its objectives or not, the one clear thing is that its actions will have a considerable impact on the success of the summit. In the end, hopefully, all the countries concerned will remember what's truly important: that COP26 would probably be the last opportunity to contain global warming within agreed upon limits.

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First Published: Mon, November 01 2021. 08:15 IST