Global stocktake, and what’s India’s position

The first-ever global stocktake is set to conclude at the COP28 climate summit at the end of this year, the United Nations has said. In the first week of COP28, the draft text for Global Stocktake was formed that called for the phasing out of all fossil fuels.

It proposed options for the phase-out of unabated coal, and an orderly and just transition away from fossil fuels. This might emerge as a contentious point for India, where “coal is and would remain an important part of India’s energy mix”. Coal and other fossil fuels are responsible for the emission of greenhouse gases, that, in turn, impact global climate and temperature.

The United Nations says the global stocktake is like taking inventory. Meanwhile, the Centre for Science and Environment says it is like a report card on the 2015 Paris Agreement’s goal.

The goal of the Paris Agreement is to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels”. It also seeks to pursue efforts “to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels”.

The process is expected to yield a blueprint for future policy action by governments to try to prevent climate change from escalating to extremes. “It is intended to inform the next round of climate action plans under the Paris Agreement to be put forward by 2025,” the UN says.

The stocktake can help policymakers and stakeholders strengthen their climate policies and commitments in their next round of Nationally Determined Contributions, or ‘NDCs’, paving the way for accelerated action. NDCs are “ambitious national climate action plans that every country needs to develop and update on a regular basis”, the UN Climate Change explains.

However, it is not the global stocktake which will bring change. “It’s the global response, the response by countries as Parties to the Paris Agreement, that will make the difference in the form of higher ambition and accelerated action,” the UN says.

The new draft text gave priority to “phasing-out” over the “phasing-down” strategy proposed by India at last year’s climate conference. India had last year proposed to phase down all fossil fuels and not just coal. New Delhi’s call was supported by several countries, including the European Union, news agency PTI reported.

India even skipped signing the pledge to commit to tripling the global renewable energy capacity by 2030. Over the reduction of greenhouse gases, India also refrained from signing the COP28 Declaration on Climate and Health.

Why did India refuse? Sources told that curbing greenhouse gas use for cooling in the health sector, which is one of the points in the document, may not be practical or achievable within the country’s healthcare infrastructure in the short term.

India, representing the BASIC bloc, played a prominent role in advocating for accountability. The nation emphasised the necessity for the Global Stocktake to consider the failures of developed nations.

Sources had earlier told PTI that the BASIC grouping of Brazil, South Africa, India and China pushed during annual climate talks in Dubai that the global stocktake should also account for the failures of the developed nations.

On December 1, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India had presented a great example to the world of striking a balance between development and environment conservation. He was addressing the high-level segment for heads of state and governments during the UN climate conference in Dubai.

India is one among only a few countries in the world on track to achieve its Nationally Determined Contributions or national plans to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, PM Modi had said.

Tags: COP28, Global Stoktake, India, Paris Agreement
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