China, U.S. and India absent at U.N.’s Climate Ambition Summit

Climate Ambition Summit 2023

Context : The Climate Ambition Summit (CAS) in New York, as part of the United Nations General Assembly, that concluded on September 21, was marked by the absence of major economies whose actions significantly influence the future of global emissions. China, United States and India — who collectively account for about 42% of global greenhouse gas emissions and are the top three emitters in that order — were all absent from the CAS.

What is Climate Ambition summit?

  • To accelerate action by governments, business, finance, local authorities and civil society, and hear from “first movers and doers,” the United Nations Secretary-General convened a Climate Ambition Summit at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 20 September 2023.
  • The Summit represents a critical political milestone for demonstrating that there is collective global will to accelerate the pace and scale of a just transition to a more equitable renewable-energy based, climate-resilient global economy.
  • The main goal is to keep the 1.5°C degree goal of the Paris Agreement alive and deliver climate justice to those on the front lines of the climate crisis.
  • In the run-up to the summit, about 100 heads of State had written to ramp up action to address the climate crisis. However, only representatives from 34 states and 7 institutions were given the floor on the day of the summit. 
  • The criteria for countries to be considered for a speaking slot at the summit were:
    • That they would be expected to present updated pre-2030 Nationally Determined Contributions (as agreed in Glasgow); 
    • Updated net-zero targets; 
    • Energy transition plans with commitments to no new coal, oil and gas; 
    • Fossil fuel phase-out plans; 
    • More ambitious renewable energy targets; 
    • Green Climate Fund pledges; 
    • Economy-wide plans on adaptation and resilience. 

India’s climate commitments:
India last updated its climate pledges in 2022 of reducing emissions intensity — or the volume of emissions per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) — by 45% from 2005 levels by 2030, a 10% increase from what it agreed to in 2015.

The government committed to meet 50% of its electric power needs from renewable, non-fossil fuel energy sources — up from 40% committed at the Paris agreement. It assured to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3bn tonnes of CO2-equivalent [GtCO2e] through additional forest and tree cover by 2030. In 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi committed to India achieving net zero by 2070. 

The scientific assessment is that India’s commitment, alongside similar commitment by G-20 economies are insufficient to keep temperatures from keeping below 2C by the end of the century. However, India’s low per capita emissions and contribution to the carbon already in the atmosphere has led other analysts to suggest that India has committed to “more than its fair share” to keeping to the Paris-agreed limits. 

Source: The Hindu

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