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Bonn Meeting to take Stock of Climate Action

Context: Negotiators from across the world are meeting at the German city of Bonn to discuss ways to strengthen their collective response to climate change.

Bonn Meeting to take Stock of Climate Action Background

  • Since mid-90s, countries have been taking measures to respond to climate change. However, these meetings have gained significance from last decade.
  • Despite climate change conditions worsening, global response has failed to keep pace. The developments taking place in this meeting will feature in the agenda of the UN climate Change Conference.
  • One of the major agenda to be accomplished at this year’s Bonn meeting is what is known as Global Stocktake, or GST.
  • Other issues that need to be addressed:
    • The Sharm el Sheikh mitigation ambition and implementation work programme.
    • The type of outcome of the Global Stock Take (GST), which is set to be completed at the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) to the UNFCCC in the UAE.
    • The New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) which is an enhanced goal for climate finance to be given to developing countries by developed countries.

Global Stocktake (GST)

  • GST is an exercise that aims to assess the progress being made in the fight against climate change, and deciding future course of action to enhance the global effort to bridge the adequacy gap.
    • The GST was mandated by the 2015 Paris Agreement.
  • GST is expected to increase in the global response to climate change, not just in terms of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, but also regarding adaptation, provision for finance and availability of technology.
  • The current Stocktake:
    • The current Stocktake has been going on for more than a year and is supposed to conclude this year.
    • It is the first such exercise, which was mandated by the Paris Agreement to happen every five years.
  • Significance of GST:
    • Assessing global temperature rise: There is enough scientific evidence to suggest that current set of actions are unable to limit the global temperature rise within 1.5 degree Celsius from pre-industrial times.
  • According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, the world needs to cut its emissions by almost half by 2030 from the 2019 levels for any realistic chances of achieving the 1.5 degree target.
  • The world is headed to a nearly 3 degree Celsius warmer world by 2100 with the current set of climate actions.
    • Binding contributions: Under Paris Agreement, countries are free to decide what climate actions they would take. Since collective effort of every country is now proving inadequate, an exercise such as GST would help in assessing if binding targets need to be imposed.

New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG)

  • NCQG is a climate finance mechanism, which intends to oblige developed nations to provide developing countries with the necessary funding to address adaptation and mitigation gaps.
  • The previous USD100-billion climate finance target under Paris Agreement did not have a strong basis for its formulation and a lack of clear definitions, allocations, roles, and sub-goals towards its supposed attainment.
  • There is a need for NCQG to be regularly updated to reflect the changing needs of developing countries and the most vulnerable sectors.

Current points of conflict

  • Responsibilities of developed and developing countries: Developed countries want major emitters like China and India to do more whereas developing countries have been reminding the developed countries of their unfulfilled commitments.
  • Failure to achieve Kyoto protocol targets: Under Kyoto protocol, developed countries had specifically allocated emissions reduction targets. Most of these countries have failed to achieve them.
    • Developing countries argue that the inability of the developed countries to fulfill their commitments was the main reason for the worsening of the climate crisis.
    • Developing countries want developed countries to do more to compensate for their earlier failure. This is being opposed by countries such as the US.
  • Control agricultural emissions: Developed countries want developing countries to reduce emission from all sectors of the economy, including agriculture, in their Nationally Determine Contributions (NDC). This is a sensitive topic for countries such as India, China and most of the developing world.

Way forward

It is important that countries know status of climate change mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology transfer in order to make course correction to achieve targets under Paris Agreement.

India’s pledges under NDCs:

  • Emission intensity: Emissions intensity is defined as the total amount of emissions emitted for every unit of GDP.
    • India has pledged to reduce the emissions intensity of the GDP by 45% by 2030, compared to the 2005 level. The goal to reduce emissions intensity and improve energy efficiency is not sector specific.
    • India aims to work towards improving the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33-35% below the 2005 level by 2030.
  • Share of non-fossil based energy: India has planned to achieve about 50% of cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.
    • India plans to use low-cost international finance, including the Green Climate Fund (GCF), to achieve this objective.
  • Sustainable living: India will promote sustainable living based on traditions, conservation, and moderation to combat climate change.
  • LiFE: It has initiated a mass movement for “LiFE” – lifestyle for environment. LiFE is a public movement that encourages people to become pro-planet.
  • Other pledges:
    • Adopting a cleaner path for economic development
    • Creating additional carbon sinks of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover.
    • Adapting to climate change by improving investments in development programmes in vulnerable sectors
    • Mobilizing funds from developed countries for implementing better mitigation and adaptation actions
    • Building architectural framework for quick solution and better research and development for climate technologies

Paris Agreement 2015:

  • The 2015 Paris Agreement is a legally binding international climate treaty, adopted by world leaders attending the Climate Conference, COP21.
  • The treaty was adopted by 196 countries on December 12, 2015, and came into force on November 4, 2016.
  • Goal: The main objective of the agreement is to keep average global temperatures “well below two, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius”, compared with pre-industrial levels.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

  • UNEP is a global authority responsible for handling environmental issues within the United Nations system.
  • Its mandate includes providing leadership, deliver science and develop solutions on a wide range of issues such as climate change, the management of marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and green economic development.
  • The major aim of UNEP is to help the world meet the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

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