Climate Equity | Centre for Science and Environment

Climate Equity


Last call to get climate deal right

The Indian government must not use “equity” to block climate change negotiations. It must be proactive on equity and put forward a position on how to operationalise the sharing of the carbon budget—accounting for countries’ contribution to past emissions and allocating future space—in climate talks.

I wrote this last year when the UPA government was in power. I am repeating this as the NDA government prepares for the next conference of parties (CoP) to be held in December in Peru.

Second National Research Conference on Climate Change Report

The Second National Research Conference on Climate Change was at held at IIT Delhi on November 5-6, 2011. Over 100 researchers/scientists from esteemed institutions participated in the conference and about 50 of them presented their research papers.

 

The inconvenient truth

Many years ago, in a desperately poor village in Rajasthan, people decided to plant trees on the land adjoining their pond so that its catchment would be protected. But this land belonged to the revenue department and people were fined for trespass. The issue hit national headlines. The stink made the local administration uncomfortable. They then came up with a brilliant game plan—they allotted the land to a group of equally poor people. In this way the poor ended up fighting the poor. The local government got away with the deliberate murder of a water body.

Second National Research Conference on Climate Change Report

The Second National Research Conference on Climate Change was at held at IIT Delhi on November 5-6, 2011. Over 100 researchers/scientists from esteemed institutions participated in the conference and about 50 of them presented their research papers.

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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.

The final outcome of the Durban Conference on Climate Change

 

Saturday morning, December 10th



Our assessment: "The Durban Conference is a turning point in the climate change negotiations as even though developing countries have won victories, these have come after much acrimony and fight. At Durban the world has agreed to urgent action, but now it is critical that this action to reduce emissions must be based on equity. India's proposal on equity has been included in the work plan for the next conference. It is clear from this conference that the fight to reduce emissions effectively in an unequal world will be even more difficult in the years to come. But it is a conference, which has put the issue of equity back into the negotiations. It is for this reason an important move ahead."


Some decisions and what they imply

 

New AWG-LCA text out!

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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's environment minister says "equity is central to any debate on climate change"

Makes her first public address in Durban at a side event organised by CSE in association with the ministry

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Makes her first public address in Durban at a side event organised by CSE in association with the ministry

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