Climate Change - Conventions Related to Climate Change Management December 21, 2017 Conventions Related to Climate Change Management The Convention on Climate Change sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change. It recognizes that the climate system is a shared resource whose stability can be affected by industrial and other emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The Convention enjoys near universal membership. Under the Convention, ‘governments gather and share information on greenhouse gas emissions, national policies and best practices launch national strategies for addressing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to expected impacts’, including the provision of financial and technological support to developing countries cooperate in preparing for adaptation to the impacts of climate change. Background: Climate change is a complex problem, which, although environmental in nature, has consequences for all spheres of existence on our planet. It either impacts on– or is impacted by– global issues, including poverty, economic development, population growth, sustainable development and resource management. At the very heart of the response to climate change, however, lies the need to reduce emissions. In 2010, governments agreed that emissions need to be reduced so that global temperature increases are limited to below 2 degrees Celsius. UN FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE • In 1992, countries joined an international treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to consider what they could do to limit global temperature increases and the resulting climate change, and to cope with its impacts. • By 1995, countries realized that emission reductions provisions in the Convention were inadequate. As a result, they launched negotiations to strengthen the global response to climate change, and, in 1997, adopted the Kyoto Protocol. • The Kyoto Protocol legally binds developed countries to emission reduction targets. The Protocol’s first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 2012. The second commitment period began on 1 January 2013 and will end in 2020. • There are now 195 Parties to the Convention and 192 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005. Since then, the Protocol the Parties to the Protocol has continued the negotiations and has amended the Protocol to achieve more ambitious results by 2030. The following timeline provides a brief summary of negotiations towards a climate agreement- Negotiations timeline INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS STEPS TAKEN BY INDIA In recognition of the growing problem of Climate Change, India declared a voluntary goal of reducing the emissions intensity of its GDP by 20–25%, over 2005 levels, by 2020, despite having no binding mitigation obligations as per the Convention. A slew of policy measures were launched to achieve this goal. As a result, the emission intensity of our GDP has decreased by 12% between 2005 and 2010. It is a matter of satisfaction that United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in its Emission Gap Report 2014 has recognized India as one of the countries on course to achieving its voluntary goal. India has a definite plan of action for clean energy, energy efficiency in various sectors of industries, steps to achieve lower emission intensity in the automobile and transport sector, a major thrust to non-fossil based electricity generation and a building sector based on energy conservation. • India became the 56th signatory State to sign the ‘Raptor MoU’ that was concluded on October 22, 2008 and came into effect on November 1, 2008 on conservation of birds of prey in Africa and Eurasia. The ‘Raptor MoU’ extends its coverage to 76 species of birds of prey, out of which 46 species, including vultures, falcons, eagles, owls, hawks, kites, harriers, etc. also occur in India. • Environment Ministry released new categorisation of industries. Based on pollution scores, the re-categorisation was finalised as – Red, Orange, Green and White. • The ninth meeting of the National Steering Committee on Climate Change (NSCCC) was held. The Committee approved the Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) on adaptation submitted by governments of Telangana, Mizoram, Jammu & Kashmir, Meghalaya and Chhattisgarh for funding, under the National Adaptation Fund on Climate Change (NAFCC) at a total cost of approximately Rs. 108 crore for implementation in these states. • Environment Minister emphasised relevance of Indian lifestyle and its low carbon footprint at negotiations for phasing down of HFCs in Kigali. • India welcomed landmark HFC agreement at Kigali on October 15, 2016. The Kigali Agreement is a reaffirmation of the global intent to mitigate climate change and exemplifies international co-operation in this regard. The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol is legally binding. • Cabinet approved ratification of Paris Agreement on September 28, 2016. • Environment Minister constituted monitoring committee to oversee outbreak of H5 avian influenza. • Environment Ministry reviewed ambient air quality status of Delhi and directed neighbouring states to effectively enforce ban on stubble burning. NATIONAL SCHEMES FOR CLIMATE CHANGE MANAGEMENT CONVENTION RELATED TERMINOLOGIES • “Adverse effects of climate change” means changes in the physical environment or biota resulting from climate change which have significant deleterious effects on the composition, resilience or productivity of natural and managed ecosystems or on the operation of socio-economic systems or on human health and welfare. • “Climate change” means a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods. • “Climate system” means the totality of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere and their interactions. • “Emissions” means the release of greenhouse gases and/or their precursors into the atmosphere over a specified area and period of time. • “Greenhouse gases” means those gaseous constituents of the atmosphere, both natural and anthropogenic, that absorbs and re-emits infrared radiation. • “Regional economic integration organization” means an organization constituted by sovereign States of a given region which has competence in respect of matters governed by this Convention or its protocols and has been duly authorized, in accordance with its internal procedures, to sign, ratify, accept, approve or accede to the instruments concerned “Reservoir” means a component or components of the climate system where a greenhouse gas or a precursor of a greenhouse gas is stored. • “Sink” means any process, activity or mechanism which removes a greenhouse gas, an aerosol or a precursor of a greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. • “Source” means any process or activity which releases a greenhouse gas, an aerosol or a precursor of a greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.