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Paris Agreement UPSC NOTE


What is Paris Agreement?

  • In COP 21 (Paris), 2015 – Paris Agreement adopted

It aims:

  • To keep global temperatures "well below" 2.0C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times and "endeavor to limit" them even more, to 1.5C.

  • Rich countries should help poorer nations by providing "climate finance" to adapt to climate change and switch to renewable energy.

  • The agreement requires rich nations to maintain a $100bn a year funding pledge beyond 2020.

Challenges in its implementation

  • Despite negotiations among the representatives of the world’s countries for more than two decades, global carbon emissions have shown no signs of slowing down.

  • The 2 degrees Celsius target was not derived scientifically. 

  • Many governments’ planned reliance on bioenergy and carbon-capture technologies to accomplish these goals do not consider the potential consequences of climate change on food and water security.

Earth system models:

  • It is also not entirely clear whether the earth system models (ESMs) that scientists use to prepare climate projections can reliably reproduce the consequences of a world that has warmed by 2 degrees Celsius but at the scale of the Indian subcontinent.

  • As of today, they certainly cannot do so accurately at scales smaller than the subcontinent, particularly for rainfall. 

  • They can not really distinguish between worlds warmer by 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius, at least at the scales required to inform climate adaptation policy.

  • The uncertainties in climate projections will be dominated by ESM deficiencies for the next decade or two. 

  • For the decades beyond two, the assumed scenarios for radiative forcing, resulting from greenhouse gas emissions and socioeconomic choices, determine the warming levels and rates.

Uncertainties for India

  • The inherent uncertainties, however, leave India, and the economically developing world, with some tough choices.

  • This group of countries needs to develop its own tools to determine the crisis’s local impacts, especially for adaptation plans that deal with unavoidable consequences.

  • India’s engagement with the international community on climate mitigation, to try and avoid the unmanageable, should also keep an eye on any Frankenstein’s-monster experiments by richer countries.

    • Such as spraying dust in the upper atmosphere (a climate geoengineering solution that scientists know carries an unreasonable risk of droughts and crop losses).

Steps to be taken by India

  • India should continue its leadership role by demanding that the community centred on the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) be prepared to improve projections that quantify impacts at local scales.

  • The IPCC and India must also track climate change and its consequences continuously at the socially relevant timescale of a few years.

  • There is a real threat here of India ‘agreeing’ to colonise the future with imperfect models and unrealistic scenarios.

  • Especially when the paths to certain outcomes are based on technical and economic feasibilities and dubious concepts like “negative emission technologies”.

  • The country must consider non-market goods such as equity, well-being, and biodiversity more deliberately.

  • As things stand today, reducing emissions as a paradigm for tackling climate change has essentially failed. 

  • Decarbonising the system is more likely to save us from ourselves.

  • India can cash in on these opportunities and grow its economy by focusing on green technologies to decarbonize the future.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Paris Agreement UPSC NOTE
Paris Agreement UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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