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Today, you will read Current Affair Topic:
“US China Carbon Pact and Pressure on India”
The United States and China are the most polluting countries of the world in terms of per capita carbon emissions and absolute emissions respectively. After more than decade long negotiations, no global carbon emission agreement could be reached as both the countries remained adamant on their stand. While the US demanded inclusion of developing countries like India and China which are also now releasing substantial amount of carbon footprints into the atmosphere, developing countries wanted developed world like the US to share extra responsibility of reducing emissions because of substantially higher amount of carbon emission on the basis of per capita and the historical responsibility. However, recently both these largest emitters of carbon dioxide (CO2) announced bilateral agreement setting targets for CO2 emissions out for the year 2030.
The world's two largest emitters are responsible for 42 per cent of energy-related emissions
The US, European Union (EU) and China together produce more than half of the world’s annual CO2 emissions, and with the new agreement, all three have made a public undertaking limiting future emissions. The EU was contributing to the carbon emissions targets since the signing of Kyoto Protocol which made mandatory cuts for the EU members. However, the US and China refused to accept any targeted emission cuttings due to various reasons.
The latest deal is a significant development in climate talks as it has improved the chances to keep the global warming below 2°C, which has been adopted as a general guideline for avoiding extremely dangerous climate change.
The US agreement with China commits the United States to reducing its CO2 emissions to between 26 percent and 28 percent below the 2005 levels by 2025. The EU has committed to a 40 percent reduction below 1990 levels by 2030 and has already reached halfway. For China, since 1940s, its emissions have been growing at a compounded annual rate of more than 7 percent.
Pie chart that shows country share of greenhouse gas emissions.
Under the U.S.-China bilateral agreement, the Chinese emission target is phrased differently from the U.S. target China has not committed to any specific value of emissions but rather a commitment that the country’s emissions will peak by 2030, and thereafter will not increase. China has also promised to increase its use of energy from zero-emission sources to 20 percent by 2030.
This will require China to deploy the additional 800-1,000 gigawatts of nuclear, wind, solar and other zero-emission generation capacity by 2030 which is more than all the coal-fired power plants that exist in China today and close to total current electricity generation capacity in the United States. Though deal does not specifies any targets, for China it gave boost to the international efforts to reach a global deal on reducing emissions beyond 2020 at a United Nations meeting in Paris in 2015.
At the Warsaw climate talks in 2013, nations were encouraged to draw up post-2020 climate plans by the first quarter of 2015, ahead of the final negotiations for a post-2020 global pact late in the year. With number 1 and 2 polluter now in agreement to regulate the emissions, the pressure is now on polluter number 3 i.e. India to set its emission targets by the first half of 2015.
Till now India defended the principle of "common but differentiated responsibility" - the concept that the burden of emissions reductions and financial assistance on climate change for poor countries belongs to developed countries, which have a historical responsibility. India also defended its stance on the basis of per capita emissions which is around 1.9 tonnes per person in India against the 7.2 tonne in China and of 5 tonne the world average.
But irrespective of all arguments and principles, the stark reality is that increasing carbon emissions are accelerating the climate change. The changing climate patterns will result in increased frequency of droughts, floods cyclone etc. which will equally effect the developing countries if not less. Therefore, it’s time for developing countries like India to join the global fight to contain the climate change and put forward some concrete steps to contain the carbon emissions of their part.