Paris deal goes to Cabinet today

Aesha Datta New Delhi | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on September 27, 2016


India decides to ratify agreement to retain voice in global climate negotiations

Global politics, which were once determined purely by factors such as economics, arms, oil and nuclear prowess, are increasingly being affected by climate change.

And India’s decision to ratify the Paris agreement seems to be governed by the changing geopolitics.

New Delhi, which till recently was adopting a wait-and-watch policy, changed its position in the last few days.

According to sources, the deal would have anyway gone through, and India would not have liked to be seen as losing a voice in the international climate negotiations, and therefore the change in stance.

Now, the Centre only needs the Cabinet’s approval for its decision to ratify the deal and does not need to go through Parliament. The matter is likely to come up for a Cabinet approval on Wednesday, before the instruments for its implementation are submitted.

Some also point out that India’s wait-and-watch policy regarding the deal appears to have finally ended with China and the US — the two together account for over 40 per cent of global emissions — ratifying the agreement earlier this month.

Earlier this year, India had been seen tying its decision to ratify the deal with the US’ support for India’s membership at the Nuclear Suppliers Group — a strategy that proved unsuccessful.

The Paris agreement is seen as US President Barack Obama’s ‘legacy’ and the US government was keen on India, one of the bigger economies of Asia, ratifying the deal, according to sources in the know.

Now, with the 61 countries, comprising 47.81 per cent of global emissions, it is likely that the next Conference of Parties meeting in Marrakech, Morocco, in November, will start with the deal coming into force — with or without India, which accounts for just over 4 per cent of emissions.

The Paris agreement comes into force once at least 55 countries comprising 55 per cent of global emissions ratify it.

India’s decision to join ahead of this cut off, now, when big polluters and several prominent, and politically important countries have already joined in, is strategic and would give it a strong voice on the table.

Going forward, this early bird entry would help India keep the pressure on the developed nations to do their part, said Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director General, Centre for Science and Environment.

“There is a lot that India needs to demand from the developed countries on the climate front including pushing them to increase their emissions cut. The Paris deal is not sufficient to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degrees largely because the developed countries are not doing enough to cut emissions or to provide technology or finance to developing countries to move to low carbon development,” he added.

The going, however, is not going to be entirely easy for India, which has set some very ambitious goals under its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, which now have to be implemented. Fulfilment of some of these targets would require amendments to laws, which then have to go through Parliament.

Published on September 27, 2016
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