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Paris climate deal weak and unambitious: CSE


Paris : The climate change agreement adopted here is “weak and unambitious” and does not include any “meaningful” targets and have discharged developed nations from their historical responsibility, an Indian green think tank today said.

Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said that the developed nations have no legally binding targets on finance or emissions cuts in the agreement and the phrase “historical responsibility” has been erased from the agreement which weakens the obligations of developed countries to take actions due to there past emissions.

CSE director general Sunita Narain said that the whole Paris agreement is “weak and unambitious” and does not include any “meaningful” targets.

“Developing countries have got words and promise of money while the developed countries have finally got rid of their historical responsibility of causing climate change. They have no legally binding targets on finance or emissions cuts.

“The phrase ‘historical responsibility’ has been erased from the agreement and this weakens the obligations of developed countries to take actions due to there past emissions.”

“Without historical responsibility, equity will now be interpreted only through the words ‘respective capabilities and national circumstances” further removing differentiation between the climate actions of developed and developing countries,” said Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director General, CSE.

A landmark climate change deal was clinched here with the approval of India, China and the US after days of tough negotiations here. The legally-binding pact seeks to limit global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius.

CSE said that to erase any notion of historical responsibility, the developed countries have gone to the extent of mentioning in the text that the loss and damage due to climate change “does not involve or provide a basis for any liability or compensation”.

“On the whole, the draft Paris agreement continues to be weak and unambitious, as it does not include any meaningful targets for developed countries to reduce their emissions.”

“It (the pact) notes that climate injustice is a concern of some and it maintains that the agreement will be under the UN convention. But as it does not operationalise equity and the term carbon budget didn’t even find mention in the text. This will end up furthering climate apartheid,” said Narain.

Elaborating about what India has gained and lost out on the climate change agreement, CSE said that the agreement is under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC).

India has got right words like equity and common but differentiated responsibilities mentioned in many places.

The green body also said that India has also got the terms like climate justice, sustainable lifestyle and consumption mentioned in the agreement.

But it must be noted that these are not in operational parts of the text and so there are no commitments for these things.

“India also believes that it will not have to do much before 2030, but CSE analyses is that India will be under constant pressure to take more burden for mitigating climate change by 2020 and beyond, especially when the next review of all the nationally determined contributions of countries take place,” the body said.

While analysing the agreement, CSE said that differentiation between developed and developing countries is maintained in the text in some parts, particularly on finance, but it must be noted that this is weak differentiation based on capabilities and not on historic responsibilities.

It said that the the words ‘Equity’ and ‘Common But Differentiated Responsibilities’ has come in many places, but gets negated by the fact that the Nationally Determined Contributions of countries are not legally binding and everyone has to take on mitigation commitments.

“The text does talk about support for loss and damage, but clearly specifies that this will not be considered as liability or compensation. This further weakens the obligations of developed countries and erases responsibilities of dealing with the consequences of their past emissions.

“References to carbon budgets is gone and so developed countries can continue to disproportionally appropriate carbon space in the future as they have done in the past. A fair distribution of the remaining carbon space based on historical responsibilities could have avoided this inequity,” it said.

After 196 nations adopted the agreement yesterday, India said it has created a “chapter of hope” in the lives of seven billion people.

However, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar also said that the agreement could have been more ambitious as the actions of developed nations are “far below” than their historical responsibilities and fair shares.

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