The Trump administration has begun the process of withdrawing formally from the Paris Agreement, informing the United Nations (UN). It is known that the US will become the first country to break away from this agreement on completion of the process. According to President Trump, this decision of the US (which is one of the most greenhouse gas emitters in the world) will benefit the country’s oil, gas and coal industry the most. But with this decision of America, the issue of election between development and environment has once again come under discussion. Currently almost the entire world is facing the crisis of climate change. Earth’s temperature is rising more rapidly, the weather is changing and glaciers are constantly melting. Experts say that the decision of the Trump administration has increased the challenge of fighting the threat of climate change before the world community.
Climate change: a reality
The serious challenge of climate change cannot be ruled out. It is currently affecting all regions around the world. Rising seawater levels and changing patterns of weather have affected the lives of thousands. Despite all the efforts around the world, greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and experts expect the average surface temperature of the Earth to rise significantly in the coming years and its side effects will also emerge over time. It is important to note that climate change is a major challenge for modern society, because environmental change can threaten food production, increase sea level and natural phenomena can be exposed rapidly. Statistics show that between 1980 and 2011, floods affected nearly five million people worldwide and the world’s major economies suffered economic losses. In many countries, major sectors of the economy such as agriculture and tourism are also being affected due to climate change. In addition, continuous drought conditions are prevailing in some parts of the world and they are facing severe water scarcity. The situation of Zero Day in Cape Town, South Africa is a direct example of this. The changing pattern of the weather has also changed the local environment of the places where fauna and flora are found, due to which many animals are either migrating or are on the verge of extinction. The changing pattern of drought and weather has affected farmers all over the world and they are forced to change their crops. Climate change is also affecting the health of the common people, with the World Health Organization (WHO) saying that drought, poor air and poor quality of water are causing dangerous health problems in coastal and low-lying areas. The United Nations (UN) says that it is not possible to deal with these threats of climate change without taking continuous action.
What is Paris Agreement?
- The Paris Agreement is an important environmental agreement that was adopted by almost every country in the world in 2015 to deal with climate change and its negative effects.
- The agreement aims to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to a large extent, so that the global temperature rise in this century can be kept at 2 ° C below the pre-industrial level.
- With this, a target has been set to keep the temperature rise further 1.5 ° C. It is important that each country must reduce its emission of greenhouse gases to achieve these goals, in respect of which commendable efforts have been made by many countries.
- The agreement provides a way for developed nations to assist developing nations in their efforts to combat climate.
History of Paris Agreement
- From 30 November to 11 December 2015, governments of 195 countries gathered in Paris, France and concluded a new global agreement on climate change aimed at reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, which would reduce the risk of climate change. Visually, an effective step would be.
- There are currently a total of 197 countries in the Paris Agreement. Significantly, the war-torn Syria was the last country to sign the deal. Of these, 179 countries have formally approved the deal, while some major countries such as Russia, Turkey and Iran have not yet formally joined the agreement.
Key Points of Paris Agreement
- In addition to the emission reductions of greenhouse gases, the Paris Agreement cites the need to review each country’s contribution to emission reductions every five years to prepare them for potential challenges.
- According to the agreement, developed countries should help developing and underdeveloped countries in tackling climate change and adopting renewable energy through ‘climate finance’.
- The government of any one country cannot fulfill the objectives of the Paris Agreement. That is why the role of local governments, businesses, investors, civil society, unions and educational institutions is clearly considered important under the Paris Agreement.
- It is noteworthy that 186 countries responsible for more than 90 percent of global emissions have set carbon reduction targets, known as ‘Nationally Determined Contributions’ (INDC), to achieve carbon emission reduction objectives. .
- The Paris Agreement also suggests mandatory measures for monitoring, verifying and reporting the progress of carbon emission reduction targets.
Why is the Paris Agreement important?
- Carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane are some gases that collect heat in the atmosphere and prevent heat from entering the Earth’s surface into space, also known as the greenhouse effect. The IPCC, the scientific body that researches about climate change, says that since the 1950s, the emission of these gases has been the main reason for the rise in global temperature.
- It is noteworthy that the rise in temperature has significantly changed the global weather pattern and this changed pattern has led to droughts, hot winds, floods, forest and storms all over the world. The rise in temperature and changes in weather patterns are melting glaciers, which is leading the world to rise in sea water levels and coastal erosion.
- Climate change is not only increasing temperature and changing seasonal patterns, but it also affects our air, water and food. In such a situation, it cannot be denied that we are moving towards a public health crisis.
- Excess heat directly contributes to cardiac deaths and respiratory diseases. For example, in Ahmedabad in May 2010, over 1,300 deaths due to hot winds were recorded. Significantly, around 235 million people worldwide suffer from asthma.
- Changes in weather patterns also affect clean water and sources of food. While drought affects the water supply, floods contaminate sources of potable water and also increase the risk of water-borne diseases.
- Unforeseen weather also affects agriculture and it can be very harmful for agricultural areas. In such a situation the food supply of that region may be affected.
Paris Agreement vs. Kyoto Protocol
- Both the Paris Agreement and the Kyoto Protocol are designed to deal with climate change, but there are still some fundamental differences between them.
- While the Kyoto Protocol lays down legally binding emission reduction targets for developed countries, the Paris Agreement does not contain such binding targets for countries (developed, developing and underdeveloped), but includes all countries voluntarily on this side. There has been talk of attention.
- Under the Paris Agreement, all countries can set their own emission targets and there is no provision for any punitive action.
Paris Agreement Limits
- Scientists estimate that by the end of the century the Earth’s temperature would rise by 3 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, even if all countries under the Paris Agreement adhere to carbon-cut commitments. According to some scientists, even an increase of just 2 degrees Celsius can cause havoc in the world.
- Many critics believe that people’s behavior cannot be changed just because of the fear of global disaster and hence the agreement has no significance in the absence of monetary punitive action.
- There is no provision in the Paris Agreement for action against those countries which do not honor its commitments. Even in the Paris Agreement, there is no regulatory body to decide and investigate accountability.
Meaning of being out of the US agreement
- During the 2016 election campaign, US President Donald Trump had termed the Paris Agreement as against the interests of the US and in his election promises he stressed that if he is elected as President, then the US should be separated from this agreement Will be their priority.
- In June 2017, after he was elected president, he announced his withdrawal from the US agreement, but the Paris agreement had not yet been completed by three years.
- The United States (15%) is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world after China (27%). If it does not reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, then the goals of the agreement will be difficult to achieve.
- It is known that according to the commitment made in the Paris Agreement, the US had to reduce its 2005 emission level by 2025 by 26-28 percent.
- The biggest impact of America’s separation from it will be on the financial resources available to control climate change. Under the agreement, America had the highest participation in the Green Climate Fund. Therefore, in its absence, the goals of the agreement will be negatively affected.
- According to the agreement, it will be the duty of all developed countries to provide $ 100 billion per annum in the Green Climate Fund from 2020 to control climate change. The separation of the US will increase the additional financial burden on other countries.
- This step of America will inspire other countries of the world to move towards it, which is not in the interest of global society at all.
New Zealand example – zero carbon bill
- Recently New Zealand has passed a “Zero Carbon” bill for the purpose of completely eliminating carbon emissions by 2050. It is noteworthy that New Zealand has taken this step by clarifying its commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement.
- The new law stipulated that New Zealand would not emit any other greenhouse gas except methane in the coming years.
- Under this bill, a provision has been made to set up an independent climate change commission to advise the government on achieving its goals and to determine the ‘carbon budget’.
- In addition, New Zealand’s government has also promised that it will plant 1 billion trees over the next 10 years and ensure that by the year 2035 the electricity grid is fully powered by renewable energy.
Paris Agreement and India
- India formally signed the Paris Agreement in April 2016.
- India’s INDC involves reducing the intensity of GDP emissions by 33–35 per cent by the year 2030 as compared to the level of 2005.
- Apart from this, it also involves generating additional carbon depletion equivalent to 2.5-3 billion tonnes of CO2 by 2030 through additional forest and tree cover.
- Carbon emissions can be taxed globally using the concept of carbon tax in this regard, this will increase the commitment of all countries to cut carbon emissions.
- A regulatory body can also be created to determine the accountability of all countries and to examine their efforts in this regard. Also, countries which fail to fulfill their commitments can be fined and fined.
- The amount received from the penalty can be used for green projects.
- Currently governments around the world are spending a lot of money for subsidizing fossil fuels, which is encouraging the use of fuel. It is necessary that a global ban is imposed on the subsidy of all fossil fuels.
Climate change is the biggest challenge of the present time and should be taken seriously. The Paris Agreement is a very important and beneficial tool in this regard, although it still has some shortcomings which can be resolved by working together with all parties and making this agreement more useful.
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