Hopes rise for Paris climate deal

We have to move on from Kyoto Protocol, says Javadekar.

November 29, 2015 11:23 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 04:13 am IST - Paris

Environmental activists stand among pairs of shoes symbolically placed on the Place de la Republique in Paris on Sunday, after the cancellation of a climate march.

Environmental activists stand among pairs of shoes symbolically placed on the Place de la Republique in Paris on Sunday, after the cancellation of a climate march.

Paris prepares to host the >U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change conference beginning on Monday, raising expectations that the participation of nearly 150 Presidents, Prime Ministers and heads of state in a leadership event will bring about a good agreement.

The high-profile opening event at which President Barack Obama is to join China’s President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is intended to signal the seriousness with which climate change is being approached at CoP21, the conference of member countries.

The French government as the host has been pursuing diplomacy with governments most connected with the issue. Even though the > Paris attacks a fortnight ago cast a shadow, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius travelled to India, Brazil and South Africa to bring about a common view.

For >India and other developing countries, the momentum that has built around the Paris conference is an opportunity to press their case for funds from the First World.

On Sunday, Minister for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar said in Paris: “We have to move forward from the Kyoto Protocol [which is in effect till 2020], and developed countries must accept their responsibility for the 75 or 80 per cent of emissions already in the atmosphere.”

Tax coal use like India to raise funds: Javadekar

As a signal of India’s own resolve to act on the emissions issue, Mr. Modi will inaugurate the solar alliance of countries with the maximum potential to tap the sun’s energy, and also deliver his address as part of the Leaders Event at the climate conference beginning in Paris on Monday.

The voluntary pledges being made by countries with significant emissions including India to reduce their carbon use, are seen as key steps that can aid the Paris process.

“There is little doubt that Paris will be a success,” said an official in the Indian delegation. The voluntary pledges indicate a bottom-up approach to cut emissions which will help an agreement to be adopted.

On the issue of raising funds to help developing countries mitigate their carbon emissions, and help communities adapt to climate change consequences, Mr. Javadekar said that this was easily achievable if rich countries taxed their coal use as India did, at the rate of about 4 four dollars a tonne.

During a recent interaction with an online audience, Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal, who is also in Paris, said no specific climate funding had come to India so far, although several countries were interested in extending assistance.

Funding poor countries with 100 billion dollars a year by 2020 is one of the decided actions under the UNFCCC, although only pledges totalling about ten billion have come in so far. Moreover, in the United States, there is little support for funds being given for emission cuts abroad.

On the nature of the agreement that is likely to emerge in Paris, UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres said recently that it would take into account “a much more complex reality [unlike the period of the Kyoto Protocol] and it would be legally binding but have different components with different nature of binding commitments.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had said that the Paris outcome would not be a legally binding treaty, apparently hinting at the difficulty of getting such a deal through the U.S. Congress. Mr. Kerry is expected to stay in Paris during the Conference for negotiations, unlike the experience in Copenhagen in 2009 when world leaders were seen as intervening too late.

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