There was a touch of déjà vu as the developed countries in particular wriggled out of an immediate commitment to act at the recently concluded international meet at Marrakech. Marrakech was meant to make the nationally determined contributions, submitted under the Paris pact, actionable. Developing countries tried to push developed countries to take pre-2020 actions (which included increased financing) before the Paris accord comes into effect. But they failed here. Little headway was made in funds for adaptation (coping with the effects of climate change) and mitigation (preventing a spike in emissions), even as the focus was more on the latter. The funds committed so far are well below the agreed amount of $100 billion a year by the OECD.

India has failed to draw attention to how climate change was translating into harsh impacts on the ground, with human and economic consequences. The failure of the state machinery and its inability to bring the on-ground plight into relief on the international platform leaves India at a fragile position in terms of climate finance. The country has also failed its citizens in adapting to climate change impacts — with few or no alerts on erratic weather events, deaths in flooding, droughts and others.

Besides, Minister of Environment Anil Dave accepted that the term climate justice, introduced by it in the Paris agreement, needed fine-tuning. Experts raised doubts about how far India can go with vague philosophies of climate justice and sustainable lifestyle, now part of the Paris draft. India’s homework seemed inadequate for the Marrakech meet.

At a time when the realities of climate change are becoming stark every day, India needs to develop better Centre-state coordination on climate actions, besides higher budgetary allocations for adaptation in particular.

Aesha Datta Senior Reporter