India Needs $1 Trillion To Fulfill Its Carbon Emissions Promise
The Paris climate deal that supersedes the Kyoto Protocol has clearer intent and more objective goals than its predecessor.
The Paris climate deal that was negotiated by 195 countries last December was finally signed in New York on April 22. The signing of the deal was as much a historic moment as it was symbolic, as 130 countries put their seal on the landmark deal to save the planet on the occasion of Earth day.
The Paris climate deal that supersedes the Kyoto Protocol has clearer intent and more objective goals than its predecessor. To be precise, the Paris agreement underlines a temperature goal, a temperature limit of well below 2 degrees Celsius rise. It also envisages to pull down the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius in the long term.
Many countries feel the 2 degrees Celsius target is very strong but island and more vulnerable nations would have been happier with the target set at 1.5. Interestingly, the deal will take effect once 55 countries covering 55% of emissions have ratified the deal. This is a quagmire as countries signing the deal still need to get it ratified by their internal agencies. These can be anything from the Union cabinet in case of India to both houses of the Congress for the United States of America.
Any country becomes tied to the climate agreement only when it deposits their acceptance with the Secretary General of the United Nations. 34 nations that embody 49% of emissions have confirmed their participation till now.
Amidst much fanfare as well as apprehensions surrounding the Paris climate deal, the next step in the process is even more gargantuan. The world needs to fund technology shifts towards greener alternatives to cut emission, effectively. A colossal funding is required by mainly developing countries to adopt climate change mitigation policies. While developed countries had pledged a kitty of $100 billion by 2020 to help mitigate climate change, current requirement estimates dwarf these earlier monetary assurances.
Developing countries need a whopping $4.1 trillion dollars to control carbon emissions globally. That is roughly the size of the Japanese economy. And this statistic has come from only 70 countries that have published their data so far which does not include China. India has indicated that it will need $1 trillion to achieve the emission goals.
So where will this money come from? Shifting funds from unjustifiable expenditures like those for defence is a source of funds that nations can readily dip into. The cuts in defence expenditure needs to be in tandem my major military powers of the world so that distrust can be allayed. Critics of such cut downs can take reprieve from their lament by knowing that the planet at least have boundaries if the Paris climate agreement can be implemented.
Taxation can also be another tool to raise such monstrous sums of money. Targeted taxes which make owning or doing climate sins more expensive will have double the rewards for the fight against climate change. Not only will such taxes assist the parties with the much needed money, climate hurting activities will also acquire a psychological disincentive, limiting carbon emissions.
The Supreme Court of India has shown some initiative by banning sale of high end diesel cars in New Delhi. But the ban should ideally be lifted and replaced with 'climate tax'. Moreover, industrial units should be closely monitored and incentivised for keeping carbon emissions in check. Stringent penalties for defaulters will add to the reservoir of funds and act as a deterrent for future wrongdoers.
The next few years will prove critical in the endeavour of raising funds to halt man made climate change as envisioned in the Paris climate deal. Much of its success will however depend on stronger legislations as well as enforcement and an enormous, concerted effort by all countries.