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Policy Framework on Aspects of Climate Change

by | Apr 15, 2022 | Climate Change

Governmental and Intergovernmental Actions to Combat Climate Change

Every landscape, from forest to savanna, Mountains to oceans, has seen the effect of climate change. It is causing havoc on national economies and harming people’s lives. Weather patterns are shifting, sea levels are increasing, and extreme weather is getting more frequent. To minimize emissions, various policies, regulations, and laws are applied. A policy framework on aspects of climate change is much needed by international and national organizations.

In line with India’s energy strategy and the Paris Agreement, the Indian government and several state governments have taken specific initiatives. Some of those steps are as follows:

  • India’s renewable energy target will be doubled to 450 gigawatts (GW) by 2030
  • National Solar Mission.
  • India will have wind power.

India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) was issued in 2008, and it includes various targets for the country.

These targets are not limited to just covering one-third of the nation’s land in forest cover by 2022. The objective also is to boost renewable energy supply to 6% of the overall energy mix by 2022 and to maintain disaster management.

All of the efforts strive to increase the country’s overall resiliency, which is critical because India’s economy very much relies on climate-sensitive sectors like agriculture, water, forestry and natural resources.

National policy is made and governed as prescribed by the United Nations framework for climate change under the United Nations environment program.

The Role of the IPCC on Climate Change

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a United Nations intergovernmental committee tasked with enhancing understanding of human-caused climate change.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) established it in 1988, and the UN General Assembly later approved it. It has 195 member nations and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

The IPCC is an internationally recognized body on climate change. Various Climate scientists have worked for years to publish the most authentic findings. Its findings are largely accepted by other major climate scientists and governments in all countries. Its reports are important to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), with the Fifth Assessment Report influencing the historic Paris Agreement in 2015.

For contributions to human knowledge of climate change, the IPCC and Al Gore received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

In 1990, the IPCC released its First Assessment Report (FAR), followed by a supplemental report in 1992, a Second Assessment Report (SAR) in 1995, a Third Assessment Report (TAR) in 2001, a Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) in 2007, and a Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) in 2014. The IPCC is now working on its Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), which will be finished in 2022 and distributed in parts.

The IPCC has approved and published “Principles Governing IPCC Work,” which states that the IPCC will analyze the following:

  • The danger of human-induced climate change
  • Its potential implications
  • Feasible preventative solutions.

More information on IPCC https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/ipcc-who-are-they#.Wc5E-J_RaHt

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was established as a global environmental agreement. Its purpose was to address much-needed dangerous human interference with the climate system and stabilise high rising concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases.

This framework was signed by 154 countries of UN members during the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). This conference is often known as the Earth Summit. The Earth summit took place in Rio de Janeiro from 3rd to 14th of June 1992. It is headquartered in Bonn, Germany.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference is a series of annual meetings held under the supervision of UNFCCC. They are the formal meeting of the UNFCCC Parties (Conferences of the Parties) (COP) to assess various progress and other aspects in addressing climate change. Dated back in the mid-1990s, COP started to negotiate the Kyoto Protocol. This protocol was established for developed countries to legally bind them to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The UNFCCC’s Paris Agreement was opted in December 2015 and went into effect in November 2016. This agreement results from the discussions that began in 2011 in Durban at the 17th Conference of the Parties to produce a legislative framework applicable to all Parties to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with implementation beginning in 2020.

This is the detailed list of parties to the UNFCCC – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_parties_to_the_United_Nations_Framework_Convention_on_Climate_Change.

The Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol was an international treaty that extended the United Nations UNFCCC of 1992, which required state parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions based on the scientific consensus that global warming is occurring and human-caused CO2 emissions are to blame.

On December 11, 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was signed by UN member countries. It was signed and held in Kyoto, Japan; thus, its name is the Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol went into effect after almost 7 years, on February 16, 2005. In 2020, the Treaty had 192 parties (Canada had withdrawn from the protocol in December 2012).

The Protocol was founded on the principle of Common but differentiated responsibilities, which recognized that different countries have different capabilities in combating climate change.

The Protocol’s first commitment period began in 2008 and ended in 2012. A second commitment term, called the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, was agreed upon in 2012 to prolong the pact until 2020, with 37 nations having bound objectives.

The Doha Amendment had been adopted by 147 countries as of October 2020. Although the second commitment period expired on the same day, it went into force on December 31, 2020, following ratification by the required minimum of 144 states. Thirty-four of the 37 parties with legally binding agreements had signed.

The Global Carbon Market (CDM, JI, IET)

Carbon markets are a cost-efficient and useful method for mitigating climate change. They provide incentives for climate-friendly investment when combined with other tools for pricing greenhouse gas emissions, such as CO2 taxes. As a result, carbon markets may assist states in establishing more significant climate goals.

Article 6 of the Paris Agreement governs the global carbon market. Its goal is to allow signatory countries to take advantage of global market systems. Around the world, several international, national, and sub-national market systems are currently being developed. The rising variety of carbon markets needs a strong regulatory framework.

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is an UN-run carbon offset program that allows governments to fund greenhouse gas emissions-reduction projects in other countries and claim the avoided emissions as part of their efforts to fulfil international emissions objectives.

Article 17 of the Kyoto Protocol establishes International Emissions Trading (IET), which permits nations with extra emission units to sell them to countries that are above their objectives.

In the form of emission reductions or removals, a new commodity was formed. People simply refer to carbon trading since carbon dioxide is the most common greenhouse gas. Carbon is now recorded and sold in the same way that other commodities are. The “carbon market” is the term for this.

Ecological Footprints and Carbon Footprints

Carbon vs Ecological Footprints (Policy Framework on Aspects of Climate Change)

The ecological footprint is a method to track human demand for natural capital. This methodology is supported by the Global Footprint Network for calculating the amount of natural resources required to support the human population or, say, an economy. It uses an ecological accounting system to track this need. It’s a metric for measuring the human effect on the environment.

The productivity of a city’s, state’s, or nation’s natural assets is referred to as biocapacity (including cropland, grazing land, forest land, fishing grounds, and built-up land).

The entire greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions created by an individual, event, organization, service, place, or product, represented in carbon dioxide equivalents, are referred to as a carbon footprint (CO2e).

The burning of all kinds of fossil fuels (coal, petroleum), deforestation, the production and consumption of food and other products, timber, construction of roads and buildings, transportation, and many other services may all generate greenhouse gases. These greenhouse gases include carbon-containing gases, carbon dioxide and methane.

The ecological footprint involves the carbon footprint. When simply the carbon footprint is published, it is frequently stated in the weight of CO2 (or CO2e, which represents GHG warming potential (GGWP)), but it can also be expressed in inland areas, similar to ecological footprints.

 

 

Author

  • The author has done a master's in Environmental science and is currently working as chief Environmental Advisor with New Delhi State Government.

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