Bonn: India’s Wakeup Call

Vijay Jayaraj
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Posted: Dec 05, 2017 12:01 AM
Bonn: India’s Wakeup Call

The recent climate conference at Bonn signaled the end of the climate doomsday movement, and provided a compelling reason for India’s resignation from the Paris agreement.

At Bonn, India and China (highest emitter of carbon dioxide), voiced the concerns of developing countries against restrictive climate policies that threatened the growth of their economies.

India, for example, faces huge challenges in its energy sector. Nearly 300 million people in India still have no access to uninterrupted electricity.

The major challenges at Bonn, however, came from an unlikely camp—the top emitters in the developed world, namely the U.S. and Germany.

The Bonn proceedings were not any different from the earlier climate conferences where ambiguity regarding financial commitments was the norm.

The pullout of the U.S. (the second highest emitter of carbon dioxide) from the Paris agreement created a huge financial and strategic void, which was left unresolved.

Germany is projected to miss its emission reduction targets for 2020, and its emissions have been trending upwards for the past three years. In fact, the Merkel government refused to make any substantial new pledges towards the Paris agreement.

The U.S. and Germany represent the top emitters of the developed world. Their departure from the Paris agreement is a major hurdle for its proponents.

This did not stop developed countries like France and Canada from pushing for an increase in emission targets at Bonn. But the developing countries were quick to raise the issue of ‘Pre-2020 targets’—pre-existing commitments made by the developed countries under the (expired) Kyoto protocol.

The inclusion of existing commitments like Kyoto in the upcoming climate conferences would provide an opportunity for the developing countries to defend against any further demands from the developed nations.

Developing countries are also unhappy about the lack of commitment shown by the developed world towards reducing emissions, and their apathy in providing the finances intended to facilitate the transition to renewables.

Environment Secretary of India C.K. Mishra was hopeful that the developed countries would increase their reduction targets during the upcoming climate conferences in 2018.

But India needs to be cautious. As suggested by the country’s chief economic advisor, it should defend its rights to unrestricted access to coal resources.

Moreover, it is too dangerous for the country to trust a climate policy that is based on highly controversial scientific conclusions which are based on faulty mathematical models that have exaggerated the actual warming seen in nature.

This year has been nothing but a nightmare for proponents of the Paris agreement.

Declining global temperatures, the emergence of more scientific evidence regarding the stability of global temperature levels, the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris agreement, the inability of the developed states to meet the pre-2020 deadlines, and the lack of financial commitment—all have rendered the Paris agreement an exercise in futility.

Poorer countries like India must not commit to the draconian Paris agreement any longer. Bonn is a wakeup call for India to pull out.