Green House Gases | Centre for Science and Environment

Green House Gases


Change of climate in the US

Climate change has a surprising new follower: the US president. The US government has been the biggest bugbear in climate change negotiations. Since discussions began on this issue in the early 1990s, the US has stymied all efforts for an effective and fair deal. It has blocked action by arguing that countries like China and India must first do more. Worse, successive governments have even denied that the threat from a changing climate is real, let alone urgent.

The climate and trade tango

India has emerged as a “voice” in climate change and trade negotiations. At the recently concluded trade talks in Bali, the Indian government was insistent that the rights of poor farmers should not be compromised; in climate change it has raised the matter of equity in sharing global atmospheric space. The already industrialised countries say India is obstinate, strident and unnecessarily obstructionist in crucial global debates. The problem is not that India is loud—that it must be.

Climate science in real world

What we desperately shut our minds to is once again being pronounced ever more clearly: climate change is here; it is already bringing devastating extreme weather events; it will become worse in the years to come. In late September, part 1 of the fifth assessment report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was released in Stockholm.

Equity: the next frontier in climate talks

In 1992, when the world met to discuss an agreement on climate change, equity was a simple concept: sharing the global commons—the atmosphere in this case—equally among all. It did not provoke much anxiety, for there were no real claimants. However, this does not mean the concept was readily accepted. A small group of industrialised countries had burnt fossil fuels for 100 years and built up enormous wealth. This club had to decide what to do to cut emissions, and it claimed all countries were equally responsible for the problem. In 1991, just as the climate convention was being finalised, a report, released by an influential Washington think tank, broke the news that its analysis showed India, China and other developing countries were equally responsible for greenhouse gases. Anil Agarwal and I rebutted this and brought in the issue of equitable access to the global commons. We also showed, beyond doubt, that the industrialised countries were singularly responsible for the increased greenhouse gases.

At the cusp of another lost decade

 The climate talk at Durban is heading for a stalemate. I do not see any major breakthrough other than some sort of “Durban declaration / mandate” to take the negotiation process forward. We might also have some decision on Green Climate Fund and its architecture, which the host South Africa and the African Union is pushing for. 

New AWG-LCA text out!

cop17.jpg

Durban, December 7: It is a humdinger.  At 138 pages of bracketed text, and paragraph shifts, this exemplar of sharp and concise decision-making is longer than the one the Chair circulated on Saturday, December 3, 2011.

Let’s look at an immediately notable ‘change’ between the two drafts, for now only in the text related to ‘A shared vision for long-term cooperative action’.

India and China are doing their fair share

fairshare.jpg

November 30, 2011: India and China cannot  be blamed for lack of progress in the global climate change negotiation, a senior negotiator from the Africa Group said today. Speaking to Down to Earth, at the sidelines of the COP17 in Durban, Seyni Alfa Nafo, a negotiator from Mali and the spokesperson of the Africa Group said: “India and China are doing their fair share,” and that developing countries combined efforts to reduce green house gas emissions was more than that of the developed countries.

Down To Earth Cover Story: Future shock

As the world continues to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the global temperatures could rise by 3°C by mid-century, says a soon-to-be-released report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Read more

Factsheet: Who is responsible for Climate Change?

Read to find out what are the major source of North-South differences and the past, present and future of climate change negotiations

Read more

Factsheet: The emissions imbalance

In 2007, the US had less than 5 per cent of the global population, but it accounted for 20 per cent of global CO2 emissions. India, with almost 17 per cent of global population, accounted for less than 5 per cent of the emissions.  More on who is emitting and how much.

Read more

Follow us on 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
gobar times