Global Warming

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  • An increase in the average temperature of Earth’s near surface air and oceans since the mid-20thcentury
  • 4thassessment report of IPCC: global temperature increased 74+18 degree C during the 20thcentury.
  • Caused by greenhouse gases
    • Water vapour, Co2, Methane, Nitrous Oxide, Ozone, CFCs (in order of abundance)
  • Since the industrial revolution, the burning of fossil fuels has increased the levels of Co2 in the atmosphere from 280 ppm to 390 ppm.

IPCC

  • 1988 by World Meteorological Organisation and UNEP
  • tasked with reviewing and assessing the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change
  • Nobel Prize in 2007
  • The IPCC does not carry out its own original research, nor does it do the work of monitoring climate or related phenomena itself.
  • A main activity of the IPCC is publishing special reports on topics relevant to the implementation of the (UNFCCC)
  • Till now, it has released four assessment reports (1990, 1995, 2001, 2007)
  • Fifth assessment report is due in 2014

UNFCCC

1992 at the Rio Summit.

194 members. Secretariat at Bonn.

Parties to UNFCCC are classified as:

  • Annex I countries – industrialized countries and economies in transition
  • Annex II countries – developed countries which pay for costs of developing countries
  • Developing countries.

 

Conference Place Outcome
1995 COP1 Berlin The Berlin Mandate
1996 COP2 Geneva
1997 COP3 Kyoto Kyoto Protocol
1998 COP4 Buenos Aires
1999 COP5 Bonn
2000 COP6 /2001 COP6 The Hague/Bonn CDM and Joint Implementation adopted at Bonn
2001 COP7 Marrakesh
2002 COP8 New Delhi Delhi Declaration: Calls for efforts by developed countries to transfer technology and minimize the impact of climate change on developing countries
2003 COP9 Milan
2004 COP10 Buenos Aires
2005 COP11/MOP1 Montreal
2006 COP12/MOP2 Nairobi
2007 COP13/MOP3 Bali Bali Action Plan
2008 COP14/MOP4 Poznan, Poland
2009 COP15/MOP5 Copenhagen
2010 COP16/MOP6 Cancun
2011 COP17/MOP7 Durban, South Africa

 

Tarawa Climate Change Conference

  • In the lead up to COP16, the leaders of the world’s most climate-change vulnerable countries met in Kiribati in November 2010
  • Ambo Declarationwas adopted
    • It calls for more and immediate action to be undertaken to address the causes and adverse impacts of climate change.

CoP-16/CMP-6, Cancun

COP-16 President: Patricia Espinosa, Mexico’s foreign secretary

COP-17 will be held in Durban

Issues

  • Forestry issues and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) plus
  • The developed countries are pushing for transparency from countries where they will fund climate change mitigation.
    • The assessment of carbon emission mitigation for developing countries is right now through domestic communication but is subject to international consultation and analysis. This push for transparency is a major contentious issue.
  • Fast-track finance: $ 30 bn had been committed at CoP-15. A large part of this funding is yet to come through.

 

Goals

Agreements Reached

  • The outcome of the summit was an agreement, not a binding treaty, which calls on rich countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions as pledged in the Copenhagen Accord, and for developing countries to plan to reduce their emissions, to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels.
  • There should be no gap between the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in December 2012, and the second phase.
  • The agreement calls on the developed countries to “raise the level of ambition of the emission reductions to be achieved by them individually or jointly, with a view to reducing their aggregate level of emission of green house gases”
  • Allows flexibility in choosing the base year for setting emission reduction targets
  • Emissions trading and the project based mechanism under the KP shall continue to be available to Annex 1 parties as a means to meet their quantified emission limitation and reduction objectives.
  • The agreements recognize that in all climate change related action,human rights must be respected. They also recognise the need to engage with a broad range of stakeholders, including youth and persons with disability, and call for gender equality and effective participation of women and indigenous people in effective action on all aspects of climate change.
  • The BASIC group softened the three demands it had before the talks began
    • Necessity of a second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol
    • Need to accelerate disbursement under the fast start finance in the form of new and additional resources through a multilaterally supervised mechanism
    • Continued dialogue on IPRs as part of the technology development and transfer issues.
  • REDDis a part of the package and proposed mitigation actions include conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks and sustainable management of forests.
    • REDD is a set of steps designed to use market/financial incentives in order to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases from deforestation and forest degradation. Its original objective is to reduce GHGs but it can deliver ‘co-benefits’ such as biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation
    • REDD+ calls for activities with serious implication directed towards the local communities, indigenous people and forests which relate to reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation. It goes beyond deforestation and forest degradation and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks
  • ACancun Adaptation Framework has been proposed to strengthen and address implementation of action, and various kinds of assessments, apart from R&D and host of other issues.
  • Green Climate FundThe fund will be designed by a transitional committee, with 15 members from the developed countries and 25 from the developing nations.
  • Pledge by the developed countries to provide $100 bn annually till 2020.

 

Conclusion

  • UNFCCC secretary-generalChristian Figueres emphasised that the main achievement of the Cancun meet has been to restore some degree of faith in the multilateral process.
  • The agreements don’t mention any reduction targets.
  • Though the agreements recognize the need to reduce the GHG emissions and curb the increase in global average temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, in the absence of any firm target, this could be an inadequate and vague provision
  • Bolivia has rejected the agreement, saying that it won’t support agreement without binding emission cuts.
  • In a sense, the summit was both a major step forward as well as a failure
  • It was a step forward because in recent years climate change negotiations had stumbled and this meeting helped overcome that
  • It was a failure because it failed to reach an agreement for binding restrictions that are required to avert global warming.
  • There was no agreement on how to extend the Kyoto Protocol, or how the $100 billion a year for the Green Climate Fund will be raised or whether developing countries should have binding emissions reductions.

Convention on Biodiversity

  • Opened for signature at the Earth Summit in 1992 and entered into force on December 29, 1993
  • There are 193 parties. Its secretariat is based in Montreal, Canada.
  • US has signed but not ratified the treaty.
  • It is an internationallegally-binding treaty with three main goals:
    • conservationof biodiversity
    • sustainable useof biodiversity
    • fair and equitable sharingof the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources
  • Its overall objective is to encourage actions which will lead to sustainable future
  • CBD covers biodiversityat all levels: ecosystems, species and genetic resources
  • It also covers biotechnology through theCartagena Protocol on Biosafety
  • Its governing body is the Conference of Parties (COP). They meet every two years
  • TheEcosystem Approach, an integrated strategy for the management of resources, is the framework for action under the Convention
  • Precautionary principle: it states that where there is threat of significant reduction or loss of biological diversity, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to avoid or minimize such threat.
  • 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity.

COP-10 of CBD

  • Held at Nagoya, Japan in October 2010.
  • It achieved three inter-linked goals
    • Adoption of a new ten year strategic plan to save biodiversity
    • Resource mobilization strategy to increase official development assistance for biodiversity
    • A new international protocol on access to and sharing the benefits from the use of the genetic resources of the planet (Nagoya Protocol)
  • Japan Biodiversity Fund was established
  • COP-11 will take place in 2012 in India

Nagoya Protocol

  • Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from Their Utilization
  • The protocol creates a framework that balances access to genetic resources on the basis ofprior informed consent and mutually agreed terms with a fair and equitable sharing
  • Expected to enter into force in 2012
  • The Strategic Plan of CBD, which aims to arrest biodiversity loss throughout the world by 2020, will be called the Aichi Target. <Aichi is the prefecture in which Nagoya is situated>

Aichi Target

  • The Strategic Plan of the CBD or the ‘Aichi Target’ adopted by the meeting include 20 headline targets, organised under five strategic goals that address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss, reduce the pressures on biodiversity, safeguard biodiversity at all levels, enhance the benefits provided by biodiversity, and provide for capacity building.
  • The Aichi target will be the overarching framework on biodiversity not only for the biodiversity-related conventions, but for the entire UN system.
  • Some targets
    • 17 pc inland and 10 pc marine ecosystem
    • Conserving coral reefs
    • Restore 15 pc of degraded areas
    • Halve or bring to zero the rate of loss of natural habitats including forests
  • Target is that by 2020, at least 17 pc of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 pc of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem are conserved
  • The conservation is to be done through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systemsof protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes.

 

Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol has put in place three flexibility mechanisms to reduce emission of Green House Gases. Although the Protocol places maximum responsibility of reducing emissions on the developed countries by committing them to specific emission targets, the three mechanisms are based on the premise that reduction of emissions in any part of the globe will have the same desired effect on the atmosphere, and also that some developed countries might find it easier and more cost effective to support emissions reductions in other developed or dev

developing countries rather than at home. These mechanisms thus provide flexibility to the Annexure I countries, helping them to meet their emission reduction obligations. Let us take a look at what these mechanisms are.

What are the three flexibility mechanisms put in place of the Kyoto Protocol for reducing GHG emission?

  • The three mechanisms are joint implementation. Emissions Trading and Clean Development

What is Joint Implementation?

  • Through the Joint Implementation, any Annex I country can invest in emission reduction projects (referred to as joint Implementation Project) in any other Annex I country as an alternative to reducing emissions domestically.
  • Two early examples are change from a wet to a dry process at a Ukraine cement works, reducing energy consumption by 53 percent by 2008-2012; and rehabilitation of a Bulgarian hydropower project, with a 267,000 ton reduction of C02 equivalent during 2008-2012.

What is Clean Development Mechanism?

  • The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) allows-‘l developed country with an emission reduction or emission-limitation commitment under the Kyoto Protocol to implement an emission reduction project in developing countries as an alternative to more expensive emission reductions in their own countries. In exchange for the amount of reduction In emission thus achieved, the investing gets carbon credits which it can offset against its Kyoto targets. The developing country gains a Step towards sustainable development.
  • To get a CDM project registered and implemented, the investing country’ has to first take approval from the designated national authority in the host countryestablish “Additionally”, define baselines and get the project validated by a third party agency, called a Designated Operational Entity (DOE).The Executive Body of CDM registers the project and issues credits, called Certified Emission Reductions (CERs), or carbon credits, where each unit is equivalent to the reduction of one metric tonne of. C02 or its equivalent. There are more than 4200 CDM projects in the pipeline as on 14.3.2010. The expected CERs till the end of2012 is 2,900,000,000

What is “Additionality” in a CDM project ?

  • The feature of “additionality” is a crucial element of a CDM project it means that the industrialized country that is seeking to establish the CDM project in the developing country and earns carbon credits from it has to establish that the planned carbon reductions would not have occurred on its own, in the absence of the CDM project. They have to establish a baseline of the project. Which is the emission level that would have been there in the absence of the project. The difference between this baseline level and the (lower) emission level achieved as a result of the project is the carbon credit due to the investing country

What are some of the concerns regarding CDM ?

  • The risk of “false Credits” is a cause for concern with regard to CDM projects. If a project does not actually offer an additionally and the reduction in emission would have happened anyway Even without the project.

CoP15 (Copenhagen Summit)

  • Main aim was to establish a global climate agreement for the period from 2012 when the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol expires
  • The conference did not achieve any binding agreement for long term action
  • A ‘political accord’ was negotiated by approximately 25 parties
    • Collective commitment by developed countries for new and additional resources , including forestry and investments through international institutions to a tune of $30 bn for the period 2010-12.
  • Copenhagen Accord
    • Not legally binding and does not commit countries to agree to a binding successor to the Kyoto Protocol
    • Annex 1 parties would commit to economy-wide emissions targets for 2020 to be submitted by 31 Jan 2010. Delivery of reductions and finance by developed countries will be measured , reported and verified (MRV) in accordance with COP guidelines
    • Non-annex 1 countries would implement Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions to slow their carbon emissions
    • Commits $30 bn for 2010-12
    • Copenhagen Green Climate Fund
    • The accord shall be assessed in 2015

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)

 

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) is a set of steps designed to use market/financial incentives in order to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases from deforestation and forest degradation. Its original objective is to reduce green house gases but it can deliver “co-benefits” such as biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation.

REDD+ is being criticised by indigenous people and activists because it is designed to give more control over indigenous people’s forests to state forest departments, miners, companies etc resulting in violation of rights, loss of livelihoods etc.

REDD is presented as an “offset” scheme of the carbon markets and thus, will produce carbon credits. Forest degradation accounts for 15% of greenhouse gas emissions, about the same as transportation sector. Mitigation cannot be achieved without the inclusion of forests in an international regime. Hence, it is expected to play a crucial role in a future successor agreement to Kyoto Protocol.

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