This topic covers information related to policies, acts and schemes related to climate change.
National Action Plan on Climate change
The National Action Plan on Climate change was formally launched on June 30th, 2008. The NAPCC identifies measures that promote development objectives while also yielding co-benefits for addressing climate change effectively. There are eight “National Missions” which form the core of the National action plan. They focus on promoting understanding of climate change, adaptation and mitigation, energy efficiency and natural resource conservation.”The eight missions are:
- National Solar Mission
- National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency
- National Mission on Sustainable Habitat
- National Water Mission
- National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem
- National Mission for a Green India
- National Mission fro Sustainable Agriculture
- National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change
i. National Solar Mission
Great importance has been given to the National Solar Mission in the NAPCC. The objective of the mission is to increase the share of solar energy in the total energy mix of the country, while also expanding the scope of other renewable sources. The mission also calls for the launch of a research and development (R&D) programme that, with the help of international cooperation, would look into creating more cost-effective, sustainable and convenient solar power systems.
The NAPCC sets the solar mission a target of delivering 80% coverage for all low temperature (<150° C) applications of solar energy in urban areas, industries and commercial establishments, and a target of 60% coverage for medium temperature (150° C to 250° C) applications. The deadline for achieving this is the duration of the 11th and 12th five-year plans, through to 2017. In addition, rural applications are to be pursued through public-private partnership.
The NAPCC also sets the target of 1000 MW/annum of photovoltaic production from integrated facilities by 2017 as well as 1000 MW of Concentrating Solar Power generation capacity.
ii. National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency
The Government of India already has a number of initiatives to promote energy efficiency. In addition to these, the NAPCC calls for:
- Mandating specific energy consumption decreases in large energy consuming industries and creating a framework to certify excess energy savings along with market based mechanisms to trade these savings.
- Innovative measures to make energy efficient appliances/products in certain sectors more affordable.
- Creation of mechanisms to help finance demand side management pro-grammes by capturing future energy savings and enabling public-private-partnerships for this.
- Developing fiscal measures to promote energy efficiency such as tax incentives for including differential taxation on energy efficient certified appliances.
iii. National Mission on Sustainable Habitat
The aim of the Mission is to make habitats more sustainable through a threefold approach that includes:
- Improvements in energy efficiency of buildings in residential and commercial sector
- Management of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)
- Promote urban public transport
iv. National Water Mission
The National Water Mission aims at conserving water, minimizing wastage and ensuring more equitable distribution through integrated water resource management. The Water Mission will develop a framework to increase the water use efficiency by 20%. It calls for strategies to tackle variability in rainfall and river flows such as enhancing surface and underground water storage, rainwater harvesting and more efficient irrigation systems like sprinklers or drip irrigation.
v. National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem
The Plan calls for empowering local communities especially Panchayats to play a greater role in managing ecological resources. It also reaffirms the following measures mentioned in the National Environment Policy, 2006.
- Adopting appropriate land-use planning and water-shed management practices for sustainable development of mountain ecosystems
- Adopting best practices for infrastructure construction in mountain regions to avoid or minimize damage to sensitive ecosystems and despoiling of landscapes
- Encouraging cultivation of traditional varieties of crops and horticulture by promoting organic farming, enabling farmers to realize a price premium
- Promoting sustainable tourism based on best practices and multi-stakeholder partnerships to enable local communities to gain better livelihoods
- Taking measures to regulate tourist inflows into mountain regions to ensure that the carrying capacity of the mountain ecosystem is not breached
- Developing protection strategies for certain mountain scopes with unique “incomparable values”
vi. National Mission for a Green India
This Mission aims at enhancing ecosystem services such as carbon sinks. It builds on the Prime Minister’s Green India campaign for afforestation of 6 million hectares and the national target of increasing land area under forest cover from 23% to 33%. It is to be implemented on degraded forest land through Joint Forest Management Committees set up under State Departments of Forests. These Committees will promote direct action by communities.
vii. National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture
The aim is to make Indian agriculture more resilient to climate change by identifying new varieties of crops, especially thermal resistant ones and alternative cropping patterns. This is to be supported by integration of traditional knowledge and practical systems, information technology and biotechnology, as well as new credit and insurance mechanisms.
viii. National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change.
This Mission strives to work with the global community in research and technology development and collaboration through a variety of mechanisms and, in addition, will also have its own research agenda supported by a network of dedicated climate change related institutions and universities and a Climate Research Fund. The Mission will also encourage private sector initiatives for developing innovative technologies for adaptation and mitigation.
Implementation of Missions
The 8 National Missions are to be institutionalised by “respective ministries” and will be organised through inter-sectoral groups including, in addition to related Ministries, Ministry of Finance and the Planning Commission, experts from industry, academia and civil society.
Climate change accords
Various climate change accords that were and are in existence are covered here.
i. Montreal Protocol, 1987
The Montreal Protocol is widely considered as the most successful environment protection agreement. The Protocol sets out a mandatory timetable for the phase out of ozone depleting substances. This timetable has been reviewed regularly, with phase out dates accelerated in accordance with scientific understanding and technological advances.
The Montreal Protocol sets binding progressive phase out obligations for developed and developing countries for all the major ozone depleting substances, including CFCs, halons and less damaging transitional chemicals such as HCFCs.
The Multilateral Fund, the first financial mechanism to be created under an international treaty, was created under the Protocol in 1990 to provide financial assistance to developing countries to help them achieve their phase out obligations.
The Protocol has been further strengthened through five Amendments - London 1990, Copenhagen 1992, Vienna 1995, Montreal 1997 and Beijing 1999 - which have brought forward phase out schedules and added new ozone depleting substances to the list of substances controlled under the Montreal Protocol.
The Montreal Protocol has also produced other significant environmental benefits. Most notably, the phase out of ozone depleting substances is responsible for delaying climate forcing by up to 12 years.
ii. United Nations Climate Change Conference, Copenhagen
The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen ended with an agreement by countries to cap the global temperature rise by committing to significant emission reductions and to raise finance to kick start action in the developing world to deal with climate change.
At the meeting, world leaders agreed the "Copenhagen Accord", which was supported by a majority of countries. The "Copenhagen Accord" recognizes the scientific view that an increase in global temperature below 2 degrees is required to stave off the worst effects of climate change. In order to achieve this goal, the accord specifies that industrialized countries will commit to implement, individually or jointly, quantified economy-wide emissions targets from 2020, to be listed in the accord before 31 January 2010.
A number of developing countries, including major emerging economies, agreed to communicate their efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions every two years, also listing their voluntary pledges before the 31 January 2010.
iii. Kyoto Protocol
The Kyoto Protocol is an international and legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. It came into force on 16th February 2005. The major feature of the Kyoto Protocol is that it sets binding targets for industrialized countries for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The green house gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons. As of 2008, 183 parties have ratified the protocol, which includes India.
Recognizing that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity, the Protocol places a heavier burden on developed nations under the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities.” Under the protocol, the developed countries are required to reduce emissions of GHGs by an average of 5.2 per cent below 1990 levels by 2012.
The Kyoto mechanisms
Under the Treaty, countries must meet their targets primarily through national measures. However, the Kyoto Protocol offers them an additional means of meeting their targets by way of three market-based mechanisms.
- Emissions trading – known as “the carbon market">
- Clean development mechanism (CDM)
- Joint implementation (JI).
Countries with commitments under the Kyoto Protocol have accepted targets for limiting or reducing emissions. These targets are expressed as levels of allowed emissions, or “assigned amounts”. The allowed emissions are divided into “assigned amount units” (AAUs).
The Kyoto Protocol allows countries that have emission units to spare (emissions permitted to them but not "used") to sell this excess capacity to countries that are over their targets.
Thus, a new commodity was created in the form of emission reductions or removals. Since carbon dioxide is the principal greenhouse gas, it was termed carbon trading. Carbon is now tracked and traded like any other commodity. This is often termed the carbon market.Other trading units in the carbon market
The other units which may be transferred under the scheme, each equal to one tonne of CO2, may be in the form of:
- A removal unit (RMU) on the basis of land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) activities such as reforestation
- An emission reduction unit (ERU) generated by a joint implementation project
- A certified emission reduction (CER) generated from a clean development mechanism project activity
The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), defined in Article 12 of the Protocol, allows a country with an emission-reduction or emission-limitation commitment under the Kyoto Protocol to implement an emission-reduction project in developing countries. Such projects can earn saleable certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2, which can be counted towards meeting Kyoto targets.
A CDM project activity might involve, for example, a rural electrification project using solar panels or the installation of more energy-efficient boilers. The mechanism stimulates sustainable development and emission reductions, while giving industrialized countries some flexibility in how they meet their emission reduction or limitation targets.
A CDM project must provide emission reductions that are additional to what would otherwise have occurred. The projects must qualify through a rigorous and public registration and issuance process. Approval is given by the Designated National Authorities. Public funding for CDM project activities must not result in the diversion of official development assistance.c. Joint implementation
The mechanism known as “joint implementation,” defined in Article 6 of the Kyoto Protocol, allows a country with an emission reduction or limitation commitment under the Kyoto Protocol to earn emission reduction units (ERUs) from an emission-reduction or emission removal project in another country, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2, which can be counted towards meeting its Kyoto target.
iv. Nagoya Protocol
The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) to the Convention on Biological Diversity is a supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Nagoya Protocol on ABS was adopted on 29 October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan. Its objective is the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources, thereby contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. By helping to ensure benefit-sharing, the Nagoya Protocol creates incentives to conserve and sustainably use genetic resources, and therefore enhances the contribution of biodiversity to development and human well-being. India signed this protocol in 2010.
v. Cancun Agreements - 2010
The Cancun Agreements are a set of significant decisions by the international community to address the long-term challenge of climate change collectively and comprehensively over time and to take concrete action now to speed up the global response. The agreements, reached on December 11 in Cancun, Mexico, at the 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference represent key steps forward in capturing plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to help developing nations protect themselves from climate impacts and build their own sustainable futures. (UNFCC).
vi. Durban Climate Change Conference - November/December 2011
The United Nations Climate Change Conference, Durban 2011, delivered a breakthrough on the international community's response to climate change. In the second largest meeting of its kind, the negotiations advanced, in a balanced fashion, the implementation of the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol, the Bali Action Plan, and the Cancun Agreements. (United Nations framework for Climate Change)
vii. Rio+20 Earth Summit- June 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The major themes of these summit were:
- Green economy in the context of poverty eradication and sustainable development
- Institutional framework for sustainable development 172 governments participated, with 108 sending their heads of state or government. Some 2,400 representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) attended, with 17,000 people at the parallel NGO "Global Forum", who had Consultative Status.
The issues addressed included:
- systematic scrutiny of patterns of production — particularly the production of toxic components, such as lead in gasoline, or poisonous waste including radioactive chemicals
- alternative sources of energy to replace the use of fossil fuels which are linked to global climate change
- new reliance on public transportation systems in order to reduce vehicle emissions, congestion in cities and the health problems caused by polluted air and smog
- growing scarcity of water
The major outcomes of the summit are as follows:
Two highlights of Rio+20 were an agreement to develop a set of global sustainable development goals (SDGs) and to establish a high-level political forum on sustainable development. It was discussed how the green economy can be used as a tool to achieve sustainable development; strengthens the United Nations Environment Programme, promotes corporate sustainability reporting measures and takes steps to go beyond gross domestic product to assess the well-being of a country.
The conference calls for countries to strive to achieve a 'land degradation neutral' world (which will be implemented through the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification), to integrate planning and building sustainable cities and urban settlements (through assistance to local authorities), to strengthen risk assessments and to develop tools to reduce the risk of disasters.
viii. Paris Agreement
At the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. The agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C. The agreement is due to enter into force in 2020.
The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change. To reach these ambitious goals, appropriate financial flows, a new technology framework and an enhanced capacity building framework will be put in place, thus supporting action by developing countries and the most vulnerable countries, in line with their own national objectives. The Agreement also provides for enhanced transparency of action and support through a more robust transparency framework.
Further information on key aspects of the Agreement, click here.
The agreement refers to the Hydroflurocarbon (HFC) Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, agreed to at the 28th Meeting of Parties at Kigali, Rwanda on 15 October, 2016. Nearly 200 countries struck this landmark deal to reduce the emissions of powerful greenhouse gases, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), in a move that could prevent up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of global warming by the end of this century. The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol is legally binding and will come into force from January 1, 2019.
The Agreement upholds the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR & RC). It recognizes the development imperatives of high-growth economies like India, and provides a realistic and viable roadmap for the implementation of a phase-out schedule for high global warming potential (GWP) HFCs. Commonly used in refrigeration and air conditioning as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances, HFCs are currently the world's fastest growing greenhouse gases, their emissions increasing by up to 10 per cent each year. They are also one of the most powerful, trapping thousands of times more heat in the Earth's atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2).
Following seven years of negotiations, the 197 Montreal Protocol parties reached a compromise, under which developed countries will start to phase down HFCs by 2019. Developing countries will follow with a freeze of HFCs consumption levels in 2024, with some countries freezing consumption in 2028. By the late 2040s, all countries are expected to consume no more than 15-20 per cent of their respective baselines. Alternatives to HFCs currently being explored include substances that do not deplete the ozone layer and have a smaller impact on the climate, such as ammonia or carbon dioxide. Super-efficient, cost effective cooling technologies are also being developed, which can help protect the climate both through reducing HFCs emissions and by using less energy.
Further information on key aspects of the Agreement, click here.
Source : http://unfccc.int