G7 ministers’ meeting: India asks rich nations to intensity emission cuts

New Delhi: India is home to 17 per cent of global population but accounts for only 4% of global carbon emissions while developed nations with the same population account for nearly 60% of carbon emissions

BY | Saturday, 15 April, 2023
Plenary Session at G7 Ministers' Meeting on Climate, Energy and Environment at Sapporo, Japan on 15 April 2023. (Credit: @byadavbjp/ Twitter)

Meeting the global target of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 will require developed nations to scale up their emission reduction efforts, India said at the G7 Ministers Meeting on Climate Energy and Environment in Japan’s Sapporo on Saturday.

This will create opportunities for developing nations like India to address the needs of its people, which will also build resilience against the adverse impacts of climate change, environmental degradation, and pollution, Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav said at the plenary session of the G7 minister’s meeting.

He also emphasised that developing countries require access to adequate means of implementation, finance, and technology to effectively combat climate change and address environmental challenges.

“The global goal of reaching net zero by 2050 needs enhanced emission descaling by developed nations. This will provide space for countries like India to achieve the development required for its people, which will provide necessary defence against the impacts of climate change, environmental degradation and pollution,” he said.

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Net zero means achieving a balance between the greenhouse gases put into the atmosphere and those taken out.

“IPCC AR 6 report re-emphasises that development is our first defence against climate change,” Yadav said.

“We do hope that developed countries will make good on their commitments on finance for combating climate change and provide for the same for dealing with the environmental degradation and biodiversity loss,” a statement quoting the minister said.

Yadav said while efforts have been made to establish policy frameworks to tackle climate change, it is now imperative for governments worldwide to engage individuals and promote greater public participation in the fight against climate change.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last year launched ‘Mission LiFE’ (lifestyle for environment) which calls for a global mass movement for inducing behavioural changes focused on “mindful and deliberate utilization” of resources.

The G-7 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom.

During the G-7 summit in Germany last year, the participating countries established a shared objective of transitioning towards a predominantly decarbonized electricity supply by 2035.

At an event in New Delhi last month, Yadav had said that India is free to use its resources to fulfil the energy needs of its people and countries historically responsible for climate change cannot ask it to stop its development.

India firmly believes that any action to combat climate change must be based on the principles of equity and Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC).

Equity essentially means that each country’s share of carbon dioxide emissions is equal to its share of the global population.

The CBDR-RC principle recognises that each country is responsible for addressing climate change but developed countries should bear primary responsibilities as they account for most of the historical and current greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the Union Environment Ministry, India is home to 17 per cent of the global population but accounts for only four per cent of global carbon emissions.

Developed nations with the same percentage of population account for nearly 60 per cent of carbon emissions.

The Earth’s global surface temperature has risen by around 1.15 degrees Celsius as compared to the pre-industrial (1850-1900) average and the CO2 spewed into the atmosphere since the start of the industrial revolution is closely tied to it.

Major damage had already been done before the 1990s when economies like India started to develop, reports suggest.

According to the “Global Carbon Budget Report – 2022”, more than half of the world’s CO2 emissions in 2021 were from three places — China (31 per cent), the US (14 per cent), and the European Union (eight per cent).

Ranking fourth, India accounted for seven per cent of global CO2 emissions.

However, at 2.4 tCO2e (tonne carbon dioxide equivalent), India’s per capita greenhouse gas emission is far below the global average of 6.3 tCO2e, according to a report released last year by the United Nations Environment Programme.

Per capita emission in the US (14 tCO2e) is far above the global average, followed by Russia (13 tCO2e), China (9.7 tCO2e), Brazil and Indonesia (about 7.5 tCO2e each), and the European Union (7.2 tCO2e).

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