- The global community is grappling with increasingly worrisome environmental concerns need no further elaboration. Concerted efforts to address the greenhouse gas emissions from further exacerbating the already fragile environment have yielded limited results so far. The most advanced and developed countries were expected to be the flagbearers in not only guiding the developing and poor countries to contribute in espousing environmental responsibilities but also handhold by sharing technical know-how as well as finances for the purpose. Disappointingly, apart from passionate exhortations to act wisely and responsibly, many developed countries have contributed little vis-à-vis curbing the greenhouse gases on expected lines.
PC: ROBB KENDRICK
- Mind you, at every international forum of repute and during multilateral-level discussions, the issue of global warming invariably attracts attention, and a pledge to contribute responsibly ensues. However, nothing tangible that could be holistically and impactfully addressed ever emerges on the matter. Against this backdrop, the recently organized Conference Of Parties (COP)27 hardly failed to elicit responses beyond rhetorical references. It was billed as implementation COP, pinning down the emission cuts needed to meet the grand Paris Agreement goal of limiting this century’s temperature rise to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Instead, a draft of the COP27 cover decision text released yesterday very much proves the sceptics right.
- Of doubters, there is no shortage. Of course, not all of them are quite as unbelieving as young Greta Thunberg, who has deplored the summit as just another opportunity for the powerful to continue greenwashing, lying, and cheating. But the frustration with how little 27 years of UN climate summits have achieved is widespread. Understandably, the thing is that the job needs a global forum, and this is the only one the world has. So, what are the specific disappointments from the recent summit? The loudest disappointments relate to the absence of any movement towards phasing down all fossil fuels as called for by India, any details on a loss and damage fund for the most climate-vulnerable countries. Yes, disappointments will continue.
- Any hope of a Montreal Protocol level of success, with over 99% of ozone-depleting substances being phased out, will be relegated to the dustbins. Meanwhile, the Ukraine war has been a steroid for nuclear from Europe to Africa. India is already advancing well towards targets such as meeting 50% of all power requirements from renewables by 2030. But it should be even more ambitious. There is now a significant market for India-made small modular reactors if India makes them. Thus, worldwide technological innovation and adoption have to make up for COP’s failure. Also, decarbonization through green hydrogen and carbon capture are two of the most critical next steps. For this to fructify, the active participation of different stakeholders is a must.