Table of Contents
THE CONTEXT: Given India’s historically lower emissions, economic growth has taken precedence over climate concerns, but such an approach evades concerns of climate justice such as its effect on inequality across levels class, caste and region.
MORE ON THE NEWS:
- The G-20 summit that was held in Delhi (September 9-10) agreed on tripling renewable energy capacity and a voluntary doubling of the rate of energy efficiency improvement by 2030.
- The G-20 members emit most of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and produce the bulk of its fossil fuels.
- G-20 members have shown a degree of commitment to shift towards clean energy: Renewable energy sources provided 29% of their energy mix in 2021, an increase from 19% in 2010.
- Most members have pledged to be “net-zero”, cutting back on emissions and fossil fuel use.
- Could not find consensus: Delhi Declaration on the climate question could not find consensus on the most contentious issue, which is the root cause of the climate crisis of the phasing out of fossil fuels. With the policies articulated at the international level, how such policies and politics affect the domestic front do not get debated.
- Inequality matrix: It is now well documented across the world that climate change and energy transition disproportionately affect the poor. The climate-induced problems and droughts have compounded the agrarian crisis and allied economic activities. Variations in rainfall, temperature and extreme climate events directly impact agricultural productivity, compounding farmers’ income loss.
- Regional imbalance: There is a regional imbalance in the effect of climate change. Regions heavily reliant on coal production may lose revenues and livelihoods. This regional divide in economic inequality correlates with the energy source divide in India. Coal, the cheapest source of energy, is located in the poorer regions in eastern and central India while renewable energy hubs, powered by wind and solar photovoltaics (PV) technologies, are located in the relatively wealthy southern and western India
INDIA AND CLIMATE CHANGE
India’s energy consumption (2021)
- Coal was the major contributor to the total energy supply in India (accounting for 56.1% followed by crude oil (33.4%).
- Industrial sector was the largest consumer of energy, using more than half, i.e., 51% of the total final energy consumption followed by transport (11%), residential (10%), and agriculture (3.6%)
- Manufacturing is far more energy- and carbon-intensive than agriculture and services.
- India’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) aim to ensure that 40% of the total installed power generation capacity is clean energy. The country has pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2070.
- India’s approach to common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) in international negotiations allows developing countries in the global south to prioritise economic growth and development over climate mitigation.
- India’s historically lower emissions, focusing on economic growth, has naturally taken precedence over climate concerns. Such approach evades concerns of climate justice within India, particularly its effect on inequality across levels class, caste and region.
THE WAY FORWARD
- Balance development with Climate justice: There is a need of balancing the development with climate justice to ensure that development in the time of changing climate does not affect the livelihoods of the poor and vulnerable.
- Renewable energy adoption: Renewable energy adoption is crucial to address climate justice. However, it should be kept in mind that this shift should not exacerbate existing disparities of class, caste, and regional disparities. Transitioning to renewables requires a deliberate focus on protecting livelihoods, offering alternative job opportunities, and ensuring that vulnerable communities are not adversely impacted.
- Holistic approach: A just transition entails a holistic approach that considers economic, social, and regional inequalities. To ensure an equitable and sustainable transition, strategies must target inequality reduction and green investment simultaneously.
- Adequate compensation: Climate justice requires compensation for those who are harmed, as those who contribute to climate change are not the ones who are affected by it. Any mitigation effort must invert this carbon injustice by making the richer countries or richer classes within a country pay for the energy transition to the less developed countries.
THE CONCLUSION: Climate change and use of fossil fuels around the world is exacerbating the negative impact on vulnerable communities. There is a need to take steps for climate justice by
mitigation and adaptation , policy alignment and cooperation among nations.
PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTION
Q. Describe the major outcomes of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). What are the commitments made by India in this conference? (2021)
MAINS PRACTICE QUESTION
Q. What are the challenges in ensuring climate justice in India? As an emerging leader of Global South, how can India work with other developing nations to bring climate justice into global discourse? Discuss.Spread the Word