Experts divided over Paris deal

The pact is weak and unambitious; no meaningful targets for developed countries to reduce emissions: Sunita Narain

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:03 pm IST

Published - December 14, 2015 02:45 am IST - NEW DELHI:

The landmark agreement in Paris on cutting fossil-fuel emissions to trim global warming, has evoked a mixed response from environmentalists and experts here.

While some researchers and experts see the agreement as an important outcome for India, others believe the deal is weak and unambitious.

“On the whole, the Paris agreement is weak and unambitious, as it does not include any meaningful targets for developed countries to reduce their emissions,. It notes that climate injustice is a concern of some and it maintains that the agreement will be under the UN convention. But as it does not operationalise equity and the term carbon budget didn’t even find mention in the text, this will end up furthering climate apartheid,” said Sunita Narain, director-general of the Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment(CSE).

'Important outcome for India'

Lavanya Rajamani, Professor at the Centre for Policy Research(CPR) , an independent think tank based in New Delhi, meanwhile, said: “Significantly for India, the Paris agreement firmly anchors ‘differentiation’ for developing countries — the idea that developed and developing countries have different responsibilities and capabilities.. It systematically reflects differentiation across the various aspects of climate action — mitigation, adaptation, and support. Developed countries are expected to take the lead on mitigation and support, while developing countries are expected to take actions within the context of their sustainable development and poverty eradication imperatives. As a large developing country with little historic responsibility for the problem and considerable energy needs, this was an important outcome for India.”

'Should not be an impediment to development'

Another senior fellow and coordinator of CPR’s Climate Initiative, Navroz K. Dubash, said: “As a vulnerable country, achieving a climate deal is important for India. Various mechanisms have been put in place to enhance actions by countries over time — systematic updates of country actions every five years, a global ‘stocktake’ and provisions for a review process. While India should certainly do its part, it is important that these mechanisms keep pressure on developed countries for more ambitious actions, to allow countries like India the carbon space to meet our development needs.”

The Paris agreement kicks off a long-term global process involving every country in the world, said Radhika Khosla, fellow at CPR, adding that it would be in India’s interest to establish a consistent and ongoing process to analyse and update Indian energy and climate policy in order to safeguard our future development and climate interests in the negotiations.

Analysing the agreement, CSEs deputy director general Chandra Bhushan said: “The phrase ‘historical responsibility’ has been erased from the agreement and this weakens the obligations of developed countries to take actions due to their past emissions. Without historical responsibility, equity will now be interpreted only through the words ‘respective capabilities and national circumstances’ further removing differentiation between the climate actions of developed and developing countries.”

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