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India at COP25: Developed countries that benefited from carbon emissions must repay debt

The Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Prakash Javadekar delivered India’s Statement at the 25th session of Conference of Parties under the UN Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP25, in Madrid, Spain yesterday.
Climate change is real, said Javadekar, observing that the world recognized it and adopted a comprehensive agreement in Paris. Let us concentrate on implementation of Paris Agreement and not digress, he said, adding that if there is an inconvenient truth in the form of climate change, we are providing a convenient action plan. We are walking the talk, said Javadekar.
India has reduced emissions intensity of GDP by 21% and is on track to achieve the goal of 35% emissions reduction as promised in Paris, said Javedekar. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced 175 gigawatts targets for renewables under the Paris Agreement, recalled Javadekar, sating we have already achieved 83 gigawatts.
The PM subsequently increased the target to 450 gigawatts at the recent UN Climate Action Summit, and we are simultaneously progressing on solar, biomass and wind energy, Javadekar said.
India has levied a carbon tax on coal production at the rate of $6 per tonne, said Javadekar, adding that even with 36 parties represented in Parliament, India could achieve this unanimously.
The headline is that a commercial flight was operated on 100% biofuel and India is targeting blending 20% ethanol in petrol by 2030, the Minister said, adding that India has leapfrogged from Bharat Standard IV to Bharat Standard VI for vehicle emission norms and, from 1 April 2020, vehicles will be BS-VI compliant.
360 million LED bulbs have been fitted in homes, and 10 million conventional streetlights have been replaced with LED lights, said Javadekar, remarking that there is also a strong push for use of EVs through multiple policy interventions and the introduction of incentives.
India has provided 80 million LPG connections replacing conventional firewood cooking stoves, said Javadekar, adding that the cooling action plan and adaptation plan are working well and will achieve targets.
India has promised creation of additional carbon sinks of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon equivalent through increasing green cover, said the Minister, remarking that green cover has increased by 15,000 sq km in the last 5 years. India is undertaking special projects like urban forests, school nursery, agroforestry, water and fodder augmentation in the forest area, Javadekar said.
India prioritises adaptation as an integral part of climate actions, and therefore India will be investing about $50 million in water conservation, the Minister said. India has set a target to restore 26 million acres of degraded land by 2030 during the 14th COP of UN Convention to Combat Desertification in Delhi – one of the largest programs in the world to ensure carbon sink in land resources, said Javadekar.
100% Neem coating of urea fertilizer is appreciated by the world and 170 million soil health cards are taking care of the soil health, thus creating more carbon sinks, he said.
India also launched the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), which is a partnership to support countries through knowledge exchange and provide technical support on developing disaster and climate resilient infrastructure, said the Minister.
Only 6 countries are on track to meet their Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) announced in Paris, Javadekar said, adding that India leads the pack.
It is time for reflection and assessment as we near the end of the pre-2020 period, said Javadekar, asking if the developed world has delivered on its promises. Unfortunately, certain countries have not met their Kyoto Protocol targets, Javadekar chided, saying neither do their NDCs reflect ambitions nor they have shown willingness to enhance their commitments.
Javadekar then proposed that a delay of three years to fulfill pre-2020 commitments till the global stocktake happens for bridging emission gaps.
The Minister also draw attention to the issue of finance, saying the developed world promised $1 trillion in the last 10 years, whereas not even 2% has materialized. It has to be public finance and there should be no double accounting, fumed the Minister, adding that the world that benefited from carbon emissions that made them ‘developed’ must repay the debt.
Technology development and transfer at affordable costs is crucial for developing countries, said Javadekar, adding that if we are dealing with a disaster, nobody should profit from it. He proposed more joint research and collaboration, and grant finance made available for meeting the targets.
COP 25 is an important step in the collective journey towards a clean, green and healthy planet, Javadekar acknowledged, adding that market and non-market mechanisms play an important role.
India expects that guidelines for Article 6 will ensure the transition to a Clean Development Mechanism under Kyoto Protocol and provide incentives and positive signals to the private sector, which had invested in it, the Minister said, urging support for vulnerable communities worldwide with a strong Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage, with provision for financial support.
This is the time for ownership and this is the time for responsible action, said the Minister, saying India has and will continue to do its bit, while expecting commensurate multilateral action with developed countries taking the lead.
Javadekar ended with a powerful quote from Thoreau: “What is the use of a house, if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?”