Rise in Temperature, Key debate in the Paris Climate Negotiations

  • The Paris Climate negotiations have boiled down to essentially two interrelated issues. The first being the restriction on temperature rise targeted and the second being the emission cut pledges by the 140 nations, who are a part of the meet.
  • On the first issue there is significant debate with several countries moving for a target of less than 2 Celsius increase which is facing staunch opposition from developing countries who cannot cut emission to match such an optimistic target. The second issue regarding the emission cuts is interrelated as the emission cuts are to be based on the temperature target that is decided.
  • There are several other supplementary issues such as the binding nature and effect of these pledges and determining a strong formula for enforcement and sanctions against nations which do not follow their pledges, a perennial issue in International treaties.
  • Another issue is the need for technological and monetary help for certain underdeveloped or developing countries to enforce their pledges and to reduce their emissions as per the terms of the Paris Summit. This is seen as a stumbling block as there is no solution as of yet for cheap technology sharing or any other such measures.
  • India has however taken a very tough stand on the issue with the Prime Minister being open to climate reforms but however stating that development goals were his priority and that as India was not the cause of the current problems, India will not cut its goals due to the mistakes of others. This has come as a blow against the summit purpose to an extent as India being the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases is an important component of any environment efforts to curb global warming.

Background

  • The temperature rise has become the major issue of the climate change summit due to the potential repercussions that studies are showing if the situation is left unchanged for even the next 30 years.
  • To exemplify the possible scenarios that could result from the action plan and the situation faced in the absence of the same, the following facts released in a study of climate effect is relevant:
  • A temperature rise of about 2 Celsius which is the situation targeted in the reform and emission cuts would cause exposure to less than 1 billion people to heat waves, flooding of less than 30 million people, and reduction in water shortage currently experienced, by the 22nd
  • A temperature rise of 5 Celsius which is the situation expected without immediate reforms would lead to over 12 billion people being exposed to extreme heat waves annually, flooding of over 120 million people annually, and water shortage for over 2 billion people by the 22nd Century.

News Item Compiled by Girish Deepak

 

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