Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

The IPCC provides regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation. IPCC reports are also a key input into international climate change negotiations.

Created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Program. For preparing the reports, IPCC does not conduct its own research, neither does it finances climate research. It bases its climate reports on the review of already published scientific research by a panel of scientists.

Sixth Assessment Report of IPCC

This is the sixth cycle of global review of climate change being conducted by IPCC. This report is significant as its findings will compel countries to up their climate commitments in Glasgow climate summit of UNFCCC.

Salient Findings

  1. Climate Change
    • Incontrovertible evidence now exists that demonstrates that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred. Recent changes across the climate system are unprecedented over many thousands of years.
  2. Global Warming:
    • Global surface temperatures are now higher by 1.070C over the pre-industrial level.
    • Global surface temperature will continue to increase until at least the mid-century under all emissions scenarios considered. Global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C will be exceeded during the 21st century unless deep reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions occur in the coming decades.
  3. Green House gases
    • The report notes that the Carbon dioxide has been and will continue to be the dominant cause of global warming under all greenhouse gas emissions scenarios.
    • GHG warming is assessed to be partially offset by aerosol cooling by almost 30%.
  4. Solutions:
    • From a physical science perspective, limiting human-induced global warming to a specific level requires limiting cumulative CO2 emissions, reaching at least net zero CO2 emissions, along with strong reductions in other greenhouse gas emissions. Strong, rapid and sustained reductions in CH4 emissions would also limit the warming effect resulting from declining aerosol pollution and would improve air quality. 

2nd Report Sixth Assessment Report of IPCC

The UNFCCC report reaffirms India’s call for equity and climate justice and stated that Developed countries must take lead in urgent mitigation and providing finance for adaptation, loss and damage.

Key findings of the Report

  • The report affirms that climate change due to historical emissions is leading to serious impacts which are already being felt globally including in developing countries with low contribution to cumulative emissions. These impacts will rise as warming proceeds and will rise rapidly at higher levels of warming.
  • It emphasizes that action on adaptation is urgently needed – as urgently as action on mitigation.
  • It underlines the need for climate action based on equity and climate justice to ensure the well-being of humanity and the planet. The science of climate resilience now fully acknowledges the importance of equity and climate justice that India has always championed and had brought into the Paris Agreement
  • It acknowledges the importance of Indigenous and Local Knowledge in adaptation to climate change. Vulnerable and marginalized communities, regions and populations face rising exposure to hazards. It notes that vulnerability is enhanced by lack of development, social and economic inequalities. 
  • It is a clarion call for the world to abandon their unsustainable production and consumption and move urgently to climate resilient development. Reference to sustainable lifestyles has already been introduced in the Paris Agreement thanks to India’s efforts, led by the India’s Prime Minister at Paris in 2015.
  • It notes that impacts and consequent limitations to adaptation would rise beyond 1.50C warming above pre-industrial levels. It had made clear that developed countries need to rapidly decrease their emissions and reach net zero by 2050.
  • Provision of finance is critical for helping developing countries and vulnerable populations act quickly and effectively. Public finance is the key enabler for adaptation. 
  • Development to reduce non-climatic drivers of vulnerability is critical to promoting adaptation and is already reducing vulnerability. Rapid progress on achieving the SDGs will help in enhancing adaptive capacity and resilience.
  • It re-affirms that the balance between adaptation and mitigation in climate resilient development depends on national circumstances according to countries’ capabilities including resources and past contributions to global emissions.
  • It fully acknowledges the importance of losses and damages arising from climate change. Inadequate adaptation due to lack of financial and technological resources, capacity building and other constraints lead to losses and damages. Further losses and damages would increase as some limits to adaptation are being reached and more would be at higher levels of warming.
  • Adaptation suffers from a tremendous lack of finance, with only a small proportion of climate finance devoted to it, while the overwhelming proportion goes to mitigation.
  • Ecosystem based adaptation and Nature-based approaches such as green infrastructure offer multiple benefits and synergies between adaptation and mitigation. Though the Report refers to the prospects and limitations of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) in climate mitigation, the SPM acknowledges the reservations of developing countries that NbS will be promoted as the sole or the major solution to climate mitigation which is obviously not the case.
  • It recognizes the key role of agriculture and the great importance of food security in adaptation.
  • It notes that future climate-resilient development pathways depend on climate risks, adaptation measures and the remaining carbon budget. 

India is already walking the path of climate resilient development with its combination of several adaptation-oriented development actions and its contribution to mitigation. At COP26, as the implementation of the Paris Agreement began, India reaffirmed its commitment to climate actions, including the goal of net zero by 2070, and the one-word mantra of L.I.F.E. (lifestyles for environment). India notes that future reports should strengthen the “solution space” and more comprehensively assess knowledge regarding effectiveness, costs and benefits.

LIFE – Lifestyle for Environment

At COP26 to UNFCCC held in Glasgow, UK, India shared the mantra of LIFE – Lifestyle for Environment – to combat climate change.

Goal 12 of SDG is to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns focussing on waste management (both municipal and hazardous), food loss reduction, waste recycling and reuse, and sustainability in industries such as tourism. SDG 12 calls for a change in present lifestyle to one that is more sustainable.

As part of the United Nations Decade of Action for attainment of SDGs, India has initiated several measures for promoting Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy, including for prevention and management of waste. Concepts of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and Circular Economy are based on principles of reduce-reuse-recycle and are relevant for promoting sustainable consumption and production. NITI Aayog has constituted Committees for development of circular economy (CE) action plans for distinct categories of wastes.

MoEFCC is the Nodal Ministry for Circular Economy Action Plan for Tyre and Rubber and has notified on ‘Guidelines on the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for Plastic Packaging’ under Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.

MoEFCC launched the Green Good Deeds (GGDs) movement as a social movement with the aim to bring about mass environmental awareness in the society at all levels. GGDs are simple, practical steps that every individual may perform in day-to-day life to adopt an environment-friendly lifestyle. A compilation of such deeds has also been published under the title ‘Green Deeds & Habits for Sustainable Environment.’ Promotion of GGDs among school and college students has been taken up under National Green Corps (NGC) “Eco-club” program. Cleanliness drives, plantation drives, awareness on waste management, minimizing use of single-use plastic, eco-friendly celebration of festivals, etc. are some of the activities undertaken by Eco-club students.

Components of LIFE

  • From dispose economy to circular economy: In a linear/dispose economy we mine raw materials that we process into a product that is thrown away after use. In a circular economy, we close the cycles of all these raw materials. It aims to increase the lifecycle of goods through reuse, recycling and repairs.
  • 3Ps – Pro Planet People: People and planet are interconnected. Life as we know today cannot exist if either are destroyed. The aim is to encourage people to lead the lifestyle having a smaller carbon footprint, leading to a more sustainable use of the environment.
  • Eliminating/ Reducing throw away culture: Under throwaway culture, economy is strongly influenced by consumerism. It features overconsumption and a preference for short-lived products, which maximise profit, rather than creating durable goods that don’t need constant replacing.
  • One World: Climate change is a global phenomenon. No individual country could solve this problem alone. Thus, there is need for international cooperation and coordination to better tackle the challenge.

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)

  • UNCLOS lays down a comprehensive regime of law and order in the world’s oceans and seas.
  • 1982 convention was signed by 117 states & it establishes rules governing all uses of the ocean and its resources.
  • The convention also provides the framework for the development of a specific area of law of the sea.
  • The convention is a lengthy document having 446 articles grouped in 7 parts in 9 annexes.


As otherwise provided in the UNCLOS convention, the normal baseline for measuring the breadth of the territorial sea is the low-water line along the coast as marked on large-scale charts officially recognized by the coastal State.


Territorial Sea

  • Every state has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles measured from the baseline determined in accordance with this convention.
  • The outer limit of the territorial sea is the line every point of which is at a distance from the baseline equal to the breadth of the territorial sea.
  • Where the coasts of two States are opposite or adjacent to each other, neither of the two States is entitled, failing agreement between them to the contrary, to extend its territorial sea beyond the median line every point of which is equidistant from the nearest points on the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial seas of each of the two States is measured.

Contiguous zone

  • Contiguous zone generally extends 12 nautical miles beyond the territorial sea limit. It consists of a combination of Revenue and Public health or Quarantine jurisdiction.
  • The coastal state can prejudice a foreign flag vessel beyond the territorial see if there are reasonable grounds for assuming they are about to violate Customs or Public Health Regulations

Exclusive economic zone

The exclusive economic zone shall not extend beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.

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