The Paris Agreement reached the threshold for formally entering into force this October, bringing into existence the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. Until now as signatories to the agreement, it was just a commitment. But now after 55 countries with cumulative emissions accounting for 55% of the global greenhouse gas emissions have ratified the agreement, it has entered the implementation phase. India is among the ratifying nations and must now prepare for implementing it’s Nationally Determined Contributions.
The discussions of COP22 in Marrakesh, Morocco this month will be an important one as this will design the international stage for final additions and implementation details before it comes into action in 2020. The discussions will deal around 3 major contentious issues: Paris Agreement rulebook, climate finance and equitable mechanisms with regards to transparency, monitoring etc. The Paris Agreement rulebook will help in reporting and accounting for climate action. It will be spelling out modalities, procedures and guidelines or rules for measuring emissions, adaptation, transparency framework and support. With regards to climate finance, raising of USD 100 billion annually would be deliberated. There would be discussions on contribution by each country and sources of this money. Allocations of the Green Climate Fund to countries will also be spelled out.
The mechanisms of transparency are most important for addressing climate justice. It is important to understand how the national determination and reaching targets of NDCs would take place. It is also likely that an announcement on how micro-insurance as part of the G7 Climate Risk Insurance Initiative (InsuResilience) would be put forward focussing on the USD 420 million that would be directly spent as insurance schemes at the country level. This conference would be a platform to pathways to provide such funds and decide on timelines for the same. With loss and damage and adaptation combined together as an issue, other areas of focus would be reviewing of the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM). It is important that the tool addresses adaptation, financial risk management and finance needs for irreversible damage caused by climate change.
But besides these issues there will be an underlying push as each country moves towards implementation tailored to their own circumstances adding to the global pathway to climate-resilient low emissions world.
What’s on India’s Agenda?
India while ratifying the Paris Agreement expressed its disappointment over the flow of climate funds. In a statement, the government noted that the Green Climate Fund (GCF) commitment “does not match the enormous finance and technology requirements indicated by developed countries in their INDCs.”
India’s priorities in COP22 have also been clearly spelt out:
- To enhance ambition and action on the pre-2020 commitments.
- To mobilise the means of implementation i.e. finance, technology and capacity-building support before and after 2020 for adaption, loss and damage.
- To detail rules and modalities under the Paris Agreement to address climate justice.
- To push for actions that have been assigned in the Kyoto Protocol’s second commitment that ends in 2020 before the Paris Agreement comes into action.
- To close the gap on technology development, transfer and finance.
- To push for achieving clarity on market mechanisms, transparency arrangements, features of NDCs, facilitative dialogues as well as formation of committees on capacity-building, the Technology Framework etc. (GOI, 2016)
However, the transparency aspect works both ways and it is important for India to push for finance as well as show how it will utilise it. The mechanisms should be instituted both ways for daily, weekly, monthly and yearly reporting. Although India would be strongly supporting the WIM supported by the Secretariat to provide action and support for loss and damage, the quota for adaptation from the USD 100 billon has only one fifth marked for climate adaptation measures such as protecting agriculture, prevention and response to natural disasters and water security. Most of the fund is earmarked for mitigation options such as reducing emissions and promoting renewable energy. This is a cause for great concern. India is among the most vulnerable to climate induced slow-onset disasters.
Commitment to Implementation
Constitutionally, the implementation of climate action is the mandate of States and Union Territories in India. Almost all policies at the state level have a role to play in building a climate-resilient society with a minimal carbon footprint and around 29 states have developed State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCCs). These are a reflection of the missions present in the National Action Plan on Climate Change. These are multiple missions that address the climate targets while co-benefitting development.
With new national goals on climate change having been set through the NDC, the SAPCCs would need to refit to address the new commitments. The next logical step then would be to find sectoral or state level goals that would have quantified information in order to add up to the targets. An additional co-benefit would be to integrate the sustainable development goals and priorities from the SDGs. India is also party to the Sustainable Development Goals that were ratified in 2015. The SDG targets would help address India’s critical needs such as ending poverty in all forms, hunger and food insecurity.
Implementation would further involve creation of targets especially in terms of fully-specified policies, measures, mandates, as well as enabling frameworks to improve NDC implementation. The way to improve mitigation and adaptation is to optimise resources by making effective use of domestic and international resources. This can begin by first aligning and measuring the resonance or dissonance between the current government schemes. There could be government schemes that could either disable or reinforce particular climate adaptation action. Another very important question India faces as it moves into the implementation phase is how budgets to reach the commitments will be met. Would it be through government spending, international public and private financing, or through policies requiring households and businesses to bear costs? It is important to answer this question to streamline finances and remove inefficiency.
India’s plan to reach the NDC needs to be strongly gender-equitable and community based. The need for gender mainstreaming in climate action plans is vital for inclusive sustainable development and climate mitigation. Community based adaptation approach must also be the first line of action in terms of integration of adaptation in policies and planning. India needs to strongly push for Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) in order to have improved capacity that would help in generating good adaptation action plans and proposals.
The Paris Agreement has come early into force, but temperatures are increasing globally each month. The impacts of climate change are already here. It is important to rapidly scale up ambition which has been lagging. It is important that the progress on the climate justice front and the momentum built up in COP21 to be kept up. The main challenge for India in the upcoming COP would be to keep that going and focus on pushing the voice of the developing world. It is important that India must end this COP22 on the note that it feels comfortable to meet its NDC goal. It should be ready to convert the NDC to its state level context and ensure implementation. It must be able to play an active role in promoting principles such as food security, gender equality and human rights at home while pushing it at a global level.
- CARE Climate, (2016). Turning the Paris signal of hope into meaningful actions for the most vulnerable: Recommendations for COP22. Copenhagen, Denmark: CARE Climate.
- Government of India, (2016). India will Protect the Interests and Strongly Present the Viewpoint of Developing Countries at Cop 22 in Morocco.
- Masoodi, Z. (2016). Climate (In)justice: Significance of COP 22. [online] Countercurrents. Available at: https://www.countercurrents.org/2016/10/31/climate-injustice-significance-of-cop-22/
- Mishra, V. (2016). Why Gender Justice is Crucial for achieving India’s Climate Targets. [online] Global Policy Journal. Available at: http://www.globalpolicyjournal.com/blog/27/10/2016/why-gender-justice-crucial-achieving-india%E2%80%99s-climate-targets
- Pitt, H., Cozzi, P. and Blandford, L. (2016). Next Steps for Converting Intended Nationally Determined Contributions Into Action. Germany: CCAP.
Syed A A Ishaqi Farhan
Deputy Manager, Development Alternatives
The views expressed in the article are those of the author’s and not necessarily those of Development Alternatives.