Thursday, 3 September 2015

INDC and Peaking Date

Why in news?
  • Paris meet is coming up in December 2015
What are ‘intended nationally determined contributions’ or INDCs?
  • INDCs are bottom-up commitments from nations defining the extent of their emissions reduction contribution towards global goal of limiting the rise in temperature to two degrees celsius, which is considered the benchmark for 'dangerous' climate change
  • Last date to submit INDC - October 2015
  • Would INDC be effective?
    • Initial calculations suggest that total submissions account for only 56 per cent of global emissions.
What is Peaking Date?
  • “Peaking date” is a time in the future until when emissions are expected to grow, and is likely a function of anticipated growth plans and energy use. 
  • China, the world’s largest emitter, says its emissions will peak in 2030. 
  • EU is committed to its previously announced target of 20 per cent cuts off 1990 levels by 2020. 
  • Ethiopia, one of the world’s poorest nations is set to reduce its total emissions starting 2030. 
  • Importance of Peaking year concept
    • Important not because it sets a particular date per se, but because it begins a conceptual shift away from the current outdated classification of nations under “Annex-I” (so called “developed” economies) and “Non-Annex-I” (so called “developing countries”).
    • According the U.N.’s classification, China the world’s largest emitter is in the same “non-Annex I” bucket as Congo, possibly the world’s poorest country. If the current discussion is on climate finance then a new benchmark must be set for determining reduction rigour. 
      • “Peaking years” are a function of economic growth, energy use and population increases.
  • Criticism
    • Misplaced as it
      does not address modification of longer term trends in natural resource use.
      • The
        current emphasis
        on emission reductions really focuses on s
        ymptoms rather than causes and solutions
    • Faced with global ecological limits,
      focus has to shift from ‘environmental risk management’ to ‘economic growth within ecological limits’.

      • It is in responding to this mega-trend that India’s climate policy could have been more forward looking.
      • The focus everywhere is shifting from production patterns to consumption patterns. 
      • It has been estimated that currently three ‘basic’ human needs —
        housing, food, mobility (the three social things)
        — directly account for 
        • 80% of resource use 
        • 40
          %
           of energy demand
        • 36
          %
           of carbon dioxide emissions; 
          • So, nearly 20% of the cumulative emission reductions required by 2050 could come from efficiency improvements, making energy efficiency essentially a fuel.
            • Responding to this global trend,
              social sciences are reframing climate and global environmental change from a physical into a social problem. So these three social things 
              lie at the heart of long-term remedies. 
              • It is on these parameters that periodic reviews of national contributions should be undertaken.
India and INDC
  • Like others, India committed to INDCs in 2009. They are expected to soon be reviewed and released, in time for Paris summit.
  • Should we reduce or not?
    • Argument for not reducing much - India needs "headroom emissions" to grow before thinking of slowing down because:
      • 1/3 population doesn't have access to electricity
      • 1/5 live (22%) are BPL
    • Arguments for reducing emission
      • Fourth largest emitter
      • Already $2 tn economy 
  • What are our commitments so far? We can say that we can give our INDC based on these
    • Total green energy commitment is 175GW — over five times the current amount. 
    • The Indian Railways has announced several energy conservation measures. 
    • Urban metro transport is being contemplated as part of the smart cities project. 
    • Cars are moving to Bharat-VI emissions norms. 
  • India's use of coal for generation of electricity is projected to double by 2030 is criticised.
    • It has to be seen in perspective as, according to the International Energy Agency, India will use less coal for electricity generation than the U.S. even in 2040.
  • In 2009, it had promised an emissions intensity reduction of 20-25 per cent by 2020, from 2005 levels. India has achieved an emissions intensity reduction of 18.6 per cent and will now aim for 33 to 35 per cent reduction.
  • India will have 40 per cent of the total installed power capacity in 2030 based on non-fossil fuel-based sources. Currently, renewable energy, nuclear energy and hydropower together contribute 30 per cent of the overall installed capacity
  • Additional carbon sinks of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent will be created by 2030. This will be controlled by 1,40,000-km tree-line along both sides of the national highways. 
  • In UN Sustainable Development Summit on September 25, 2015, Mr. Modi called for countries to “take into account the levels of development of various countries and allow them the developmental space so that they can also aspire to become middle and developed countries”.
  • The INDCs state that India’s “objective in Paris in December 2015 is to establish an effective, cooperative and equitable global architecture”. 
    • Three key elements of this framework are 
      • promoting “sustainable production processes and sustainable lifestyles across the globe”, 
      • the “creation of a regime where facilitative technology transfer replaces an exploitative market-driven mechanism
      • “a common understanding of universal progress.”
India V China
  • Indian lifestyle is more austere than China. China's data is following times that of India:
    • Industrial production - 8 times
    • Consumption of primary energy - 5 times
    • Consumption of 
      Metals  - 11 times
    • GDP  - 4 times
    • Per capita emissions - 2 times
  • Climate variability will affect India much more than China. 
  • By 2030, per capita energy use and emissions in China and the U.S. are expected to around 10-12 tn of carbon dioxide/capita 
    • India will be 1/4th of this
      • Reason:
        IT
        revolution spearheaded by India is the first global transformation
        not based on increasing use of energy.
"Sunshine" Countries (107) Summit
  • To be held before the Paris summit to forge a common platform on sharing research and looking for common financial solutions.
Suggestion
  • New benchmark - GDP per capita would be most logical way - most just and inclusive way
  • India should have integrated its Smart Cities campaign into a plan for low carbon development of cities. 
    • The research focus would then shift to measuring consumption patterns and inevitable indicative targets for cities as China is now doing.
  • Greater f
    ocus on sharing rather than owning cars
    would impact the fastest growing emissions.
  • Changing lifestyles must begin in schools. 
  • Better linkages are also needed — for example, afforestation in catchments of hydro projects to check silting.
Conclusion
  • At last we have a credible response to climate change and its adverse effects, making it an integral part of our transformation, not a response to a conference or external pressure, and that is why it will succeed.

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