The world is preparing for one of the most important global summits of modern history, the United Nations’ COP26 climate summit. There will be discussions and key resolutions and agendas are expected to be tabled for nations to commit to in order to prevent climate catastrophe by limiting their carbon emissions to net-zero. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be attending the summit along with 120 heads of state.
An important area of discussion is going to be the compensation for environmental disasters, and India will be asking for climate compensation from richer countries, reported Bloomberg.
"Our ask is this: there should be a compensation for expenses incurred, and it should be borne by developed nations," said Rameshwar Prasad Gupta, secretary, ministry of environment, forest and climate change.
India’s contention lies in the fact that developed nations have had the opportunity to release emissions without a care in the past, and reap the economic benefits. With the threat of a temperate rise of 1.5°C, nations are now encouraged to limit their carbon emissions, a change that will come at an economic cost, which will be detrimental for developing countries.
India has emitted 51 billion metric tonne of carbon emissions between 1750 and 2018, compared to the 397 billion metric tonne from the US, 214 billion metric tonne from China and 180 billion metric tonne from Russia.
Carbon neutrality refers to achieving net-zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. It is done by balancing carbon emissions or by completely eliminating emissions from the environment. While carbon-neutral refers to balancing the total amount of carbon emissions, net-zero carbon means ensuring zero carbon emission.
India is the only nation among the world’s 10 largest economies that have not set up any date for achieving net-zero emissions. The BJP-ruled government has announced ambitious projects of increasing renewable capacity to unprecedented levels and is committed to reducing some of its emissions through various policy changes. But India has not set any goals for carbon neutrality, mostly on the back of concerns of how such goals would change India’s economic growth trajectory.
Discussions of compensation from the richer countries were taken up in the past summits as well, including the 2015 historic Paris summit, and the 2013 summit in Warsaw, but ideas were not fleshed out. The current idea is that historically prolific emitters of carbon into the atmosphere will be providing compensation for the impacts of climate change, like floods and hurricanes, to countries that suffer as a result.
But the process can be tricky. It will be incredibly hard to calculate with certainty how much impact global warming had in one particular instance, apart from general ideas of increased frequencies and intensities. Additionally, not all climate disasters are man-made in nature. These complicated questions will be up for discussion in Glasgow.
India is the fourth-largest emitter of carbon annually for the past few years. The country has also been one of the top 10 historically prolific emitters of carbon into the atmosphere. However, while India may have to put some money into the compensation pot, it stands to receive much larger pay-outs in return.
(Edited by : Jomy Jos Pullokaran)