The forthcoming report of the United Nations’ body of climate experts, to be released on April 4, is expected to be significant for India as it will focus on the progress on mitigating the climate crisis and discuss technological options available to reduce carbon emissions.
The two-week meeting of 195 nations and climate scientists, which began on March 21, will finalize the summary for policymakers that will cover various aspects of mitigation, including technology development and transfer.
India has been demanding finance and technology transfer from developed countries to tackle the climate emergency. Wealthy nations need to ensure rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the current decade to reach net zero much earlier than their announced dates, as they have used more than their fair share of the global carbon budget, India has maintained at various international platforms.
The new report will also document carbon dioxide removal technologies from the atmosphere, reducing emissions, just transition to low carbon economies, and fairness and equity in sharing the burden of reducing emissions, according to Jim Skea of the Imperial College, London, who is co-chair of the working group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change preparing the report.
“This report will review policies and scenarios, but also cover new ground in looking at how governments can improve laws and governance to better address the scale of the climate challenge,” said Navroz Dubash, professor at the Centre for Policy Research, a think tank, and coordinating lead author of the upcoming report.
“These questions are challenging for all countries, and perhaps particularly India, which has to address climate change while grappling with pressing development needs,” Dubash said.
The report will emphasize the criticality of near-term emissions mitigation, said Vaibhav Chaturvedi, fellow at New Delhi-based think tank Council on Energy, Environment and Water and co-author of the report.
“I hope that political leaders take the findings of this report with utmost seriousness and respond to the climate emergency with all resources at their disposal,” Chaturvedi said.
The report will be significant because earlier two reports of the world’s most authoritative panel of climate experts — Climate Change 2021 – The Physical Science Basis, released in August last year and Climate Change 2022 – Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, released last month — highlighted that at least half the world’s population lives in regions vulnerable to the climate crisis and that it has already resulted in several irreversible impacts.
The planet may have lost the opportunity to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, IPCC said in its August 2021 report. The 1.5 degrees global warming threshold is likely to be breached in the next 10 to 20 years in all emission scenarios, including when carbon dioxide emissions decline rapidly to net zero around 2050.
“According to present national commitments, global emissions are set to increase by almost 14% in the 2020s. Last year alone, global energy-related CO2 emissions grew by 6% to their highest levels in history. Coal emissions have surged to record highs. We are sleepwalking to climate catastrophe,” UN secretary general António Guterres said on March 21 at a sustainability summit hosted by the Economist magazine.
“But the development imperatives and economic structure of major emerging economies are standing in the way of similar commitments. Above all, a high dependence on coal. This includes China, India, Indonesia and others,” Guterres said.
“India is pursuing bilateral measures to achieve Prime Minister Modi’s ambitious targets for renewable energy expansion by 2030, which we hope to soon see reflected in a new and strengthened national climate plan,” he said.