An Indian study flags pre-2020 climate action gaps of rich nations, shows the US, Canada, Japan and Russia faltered big time | India News



NEW DELHI: Days after India asked rich nations at G20 meet to bring down their own per capita emission to global average by 2030, a new study on Wednesday flagged how many developed countries have miserably failed in their pre-2020 commitments with a group of them, including all G7 nations, reporting decline of only 3.7% in their greenhouse gas (GHG) emission by 2019 over 1990 levels.
The first-of-its-kind study in a developing country, carried out by the New Delhi-based think tank Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), may be an eye-opener for all stakeholders who have been pitching for higher mitigation targets of all emitters including India for post-2020 period without actually looking at what the historical polluters did during their earlier commitment period till 2020.
Though these countries along with developed nations in the erstwhile USSR had collectively declined emissions by 14.8% in 2019 against the target of 18% below 1990 levels, they emitted much higher amount of carbon than what they were expected during 2008-2020 period – it means they consumed the ‘carbon space’ which could have otherwise been available for developing and poor countries for their developmental needs.
“There has to be trust and confidence in the multilateral process. It is, therefore, important to recall and review what were the promises made in the pre-2020 period and whether those were delivered,” said Richa Sharma, additional secretary in the environment ministry who looks after the climate change issues.
Making her remarks at the virtual release function of the study, Sharma said, “A clear and unbiased assessment of the pre-2020 commitments and mitigation as well as finance is the need of the hour.”
The study seeks to illustrate clearly the performance of developed countries in the previous commitment periods (2008-12 and 2013–2020). The CEEW with this study also released a ranking of 43 developed countries based on their sincerity towards climate actions and mitigation efforts made in the pre-2020 climate regime.
Sweden, the UK, Belgium, and Denmark topped the list whereas other major economies like the US, Canada, Australia, and Russia featured in the bottom half in terms of their pre-2020 actions.
The CEEW study highlighted that the US non-participation in both commitment periods (2008-12 and 2013-2020) had several adverse effects on global climate action, including the withdrawal of other developed countries from the Kyoto Protocol.
Besides the biggest historical emitter US, three other big polluters – Canada, Russia and Japan – too had skipped the climate actions under either one or both commitment periods.
“Emissions from non-participating countries accounted for 47% of emissions from all developed countries between 2008-12. This figure rose to 71% between 2013-20,” said the study — ‘Unpacking Pre-2020 Climate Commitments: Who Delivered, How Much, and How will the Gaps be Addressed?’
In the backdrop of rich nations’ poor performance in reducing their promised carbon footprints during pre-2020 period, CEO of the CEEW Arunabha Ghosh said, “While all countries must consider raising ambition, the burden of unmet promises and disproportionate use of carbon space cannot fall on developing countries (for post-2020 climate action).”
India had, in fact, raised this issue during the G20 ministerial meeting last week, setting the tone for developing countries’ stand ahead of the 26th session of the UN climate conference (COP26) in Glasgow, UK in November where pre-2020 actions and mobilisation of adequate finance for climate action would dominate the discourse.
“We have to ensure that history does not repeat itself, and that countries work together to effectively tackle climate change. Our hope is that our evaluation of past efforts will inspire greater leadership, trust and transparency in future climate negotiations, starting with COP26,” said Shikha Bhasin, Senior Programme Lead, CEEW.
She said, “This is critical to ensure a just, equitable, and prosperous future. For example, countries that sat out of the pre-2020 commitment periods could compensate by purchasing unsold Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) or voluntarily cancelling unearned carbon allowances.”



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