India yet to take call on climate change summit

India yet to take call on climate change summit

India is yet to finalise its official line on several climate change issues, days before the commencement of the annual UN climate summit at Bonn, Germany.

The 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP-23) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will take place between November 6 and 17.

It would be the first climate summit after the Trump administration announced that the US would pull out of the Paris Agreement, which aims for a global reduction of greenhouse gas emission.

The Bonn summit - being held on the 25th anniversary of the UNFCCC - is also the place to decide on the rule book to implement the Paris pact. But in the past 25 years, the global emission has continued to rise upwards, rather than go down.

The Indian government's inability to finalise its position on the event of the summit is because of a difference of opinion between the ministries of environment and external affairs, sources said. Officials in the green ministry are tight-lipped on the status of the position paper.

Over the course of the next two weeks, negotiators from all over the world would attempt to flesh out a set of implementation guidelines for the Paris Agreement - a long-term global strategy to address climate change - ahead of the 2018 deadline.

Although the Paris pact set a goal to limit the rise of the global average temperature to two degrees Celsius, scientists have warned it is 95% likely that the average global temperatures would pass this threshold by the end of the century.

The challenge facing governments is to raise ambition and accelerate actions before the narrow window of opportunity closes.

To capture progress, the COP-23 needs to resolve several substantive issues like the role of the US, barely any finance and lack of ambition on the part of rich nations to set ambitious near-term targets.

The rules and guidelines, to be negotiated at Bonn, include transparency framework, new market mechanism, facilitative dialogue and a global stock take.

"In 2006, India lost nearly $40 billion due to weather-related disasters. Almost half a per cent of the GDP was lost to these natural calamities. Bonn would be the place to make the rules for the implementation of the Paris Agreement," said Chandra Bhusan, deputy director general, Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi.

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