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U.N.’s Climate Ambition Summit UPSC NOTE

 U.N.’s Climate Ambition Summit 2023

  • To accelerate action by governments, business, finance, local authorities and civil society, and hear from “first movers and doers,” the United Nations Secretary-General convened a Climate Ambition Summit at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 20 September 2023.

  • It was marked by the absence of major economies whose actions significantly influence the future of global emissions.

  • China, the U.S. and India (collectively account for about 42% of global greenhouse gas emissions) — were all absent from the summit.

  • The summit was designed, according to the U.N., to “showcase leaders who are movers and doers ... and have credible actions, policies and plans to keep the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal of the Paris Agreement alive and deliver climate justice to those on the front lines of the climate crisis”.

  • In the run-up to the summit, nearly 100 heads of state had written in response to a call from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to ramp up action to address the climate crisis. 

  • However, Only representatives from 34 states and seven institutions were given the floor on the day of the summit.

  • India’s neighbours Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan were among the listed speakers and emerging economies such as South Africa and Brazil were also on the list. 

  • The European Union, Germany, France and Canada were also on the podium.

  • The criteria for countries to be considered for a speaking slot at the summit were that they would be expected to present 

    • updated pre-2030 Nationally Determined Contributions (as agreed in Glasgow); updated net-zero targets; energy transition plans with commitments to no new coal, oil and gas; fossil fuel phase-out plans; more ambitious renewable energy targets; Green Climate Fund pledges; and economy-wide plans on adaptation and resilience.

Major announcements in the Summit

  • All the “main emitters” and notably all G-20 governments would be asked to commit to presenting, by 2025, more ambitious economy-wide Nationally Determined Contributions featuring absolute emissions cuts and covering all gases.

Updated climate goals:

  • Brazil’s announcement of reinstating its original 2015 nationally determined contributions (NDC) is welcome, given that the 2020 targets set by the country’s former President were misleading with questionable baselines. 

  • Almost a decade since the original NDC was announced, Brazil will now need to propose more ambitious measures to curb its emissions and look towards a just transition away from fossil fuels. 

  • Among others, Nepal announced a revised target of achieving Net Zero emissions by 2045 instead of 2050.

  • Thailand expressed its determination to be Net Zero by 2050.

  • Portugal announced a goal to be carbon neutral by 2045, instead of 2050.

  • More countries reaffirmed their commitment to climate ambition targets.

  • The Global Stocktake report has warned that the world is off-track in achieving the 1.5 degrees Celsius target. 

  • The final political phase of the Stocktake at COP28 is expected to lead to more ambitious NDCs by 2025.

Climate finance, including Loss and Damage:

  • Commitments to the Loss and Damage Fund (LDF), established at COP27 in Egypt, remained even more inconspicuous. 

  • Apart from Austria and Spain, no references were made to financing the LDF.

  • The Climate Ambition Summit (CAS) invitation extended to Germany and France as “first movers and doers” seems to have overlooked their calls to limit the LDF’s primary beneficiaries to certain countries, excluding countries such as Pakistan and Libya — a divide and conquer tactic. 

  • The push from developed nations to host the LDF under the World Bank also raises concerns, given the Bank’s history in misreporting climate finance. 

  • The impact of the CAS statements on the operationalisation of the LDF will now be seen at the fourth and final Transitional Committee meeting in October.

Fossil fuels:

  • The explicit mention of the coal phase out overshadowed that of “all fossil fuels”, which include oil and gas. 

    • At COP27, India’s suggestion to call for the phasedown of “all fossil fuels” and not just coal was omitted in the final document. 

    • Such a move fails to hold oil and gas producers like the US, Russia and Saudi Arabia accountable for their continued dependence on fossil fuels — both in production and consumption. 

  • COP28 delivering language targeting “all fossil fuels” this year seems like a distant prospect. 

  • At the CAS, Canada, who was one of the largest expanders of fossil fuels last year, announced the development of an emissions cap framework for the oil and gas sector. 

    • The country was also one of the top five “Planet Wreckers” named in a recent report, on track to lead 51 per cent of oil and gas explorations by 2050 with the US, Australia, Norway and UK. 

  • Omitting oil and gas from COP28 decision texts waters down accountability from these historical polluters to lead fossil fuel phaseouts.

Other announcements:

  • The European Union and Canada emphasised the call for covering at least 60 percent of global emissions by carbon pricing. 

  • The EU stated that the current carbon pricing mechanisms cover only 23 percent of global emissions and generates $95 billion, presenting prospects of new revenue.

  • In another development, Germany announced the launch of the International Climate Club, which it will co-chair with Chile, aiming to decarbonise industrial sectors and scale up green growth. 

India’s Updated Climate Pledges

  • India last updated its climate pledges in 2022.

  • As per the updated NDC, India now stands committed to reduce Emissions Intensity of its GDP by 45 percent by 2030, from 2005 level.

  • The government committed to meet 50% of its electric power needs from renewable, non-fossil fuel energy sources — up from 40% committed at the Paris agreement.

  • It promised to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2-equivalent [GtCO2e] through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: U.N.’s Climate Ambition Summit UPSC NOTE
U.N.’s Climate Ambition Summit UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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