Experts want more U.S. action on climate

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Biden promised return to Paris Treaty

United States President-elect, Joseph Biden has committed to getting his country back into the 2015 Paris Climate Change Treaty, which commits countries to prevent a 2 degrees Celsius rise in global temperature by the end of the century.

However, experts in India say the U.S. ought to be doing more. The U.S. formally left the Treaty on November 2 after a four-year withdrawal period.

 

Emissions targets

  • Several developed countries and regions including the United Kingdom, Japan, and the EU have committed to achieve ‘net zero emissions’ by 2050. 
  • China, too, has committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2060 with a greenhouse gas levels peaking by 2030.
  • The U.S. — the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases — is exceptional in not committing to a deadline.

India on track

  • India has consistently maintained that it was doing more than its fair share towards achieving Paris targets and other developed countries ought to be stepping up. 
  • We are asking world leaders to comply with the Paris Agreement. 
  • Our Prime Minister is passionate about climate change. India’s emission share in the world is only 6%. 
  • India is taking care of nature and doing well. We have increased our tree cover, converted vehicles to BS-VI standards, reduced our emissions, prepared land restoration plan besides other actions.
  • India should urge the Biden administration to adopt climate change goals that place it on a path to a less than 2°C warming target.
  • At present, India is the only G-20 country whose Paris pledges for 2030 place it on a 2°C pathway.

Paris Agreement

  • The Paris Agreement (French: l'accord de Paris) is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigationadaptation, and finance, signed in 2016. 
  • The agreement's language was negotiated by representatives of 196 state parties at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Le Bourget, near ParisFrance, and adopted by consensus on 12 December 2015. 
  • As of February 2020, all 196 members of the UNFCCC have signed the agreement and 189 have become party to it. 
  • Of the seven countries which are not party to the law, the only significant emitters are Iran and Turkey.
  • The Paris Agreement's long-term temperature goal is to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C (3.6 °F) above pre-industrial levels; and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 °C (2.7 °F), recognizing that this would substantially reduce the risks and impacts of climate change. 
  • This should be done by reducing emissions as soon as possible, in order to "achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases" in the second half of the 21st century. 
  • It also aims to increase the ability of parties to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change, and make "finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development."

Way forward

Under the Paris Agreement, each country must determine, plan, and regularly report on the contribution that it undertakes to mitigate global warming. No mechanism forces a country to set a specific emissions target by a specific date, but each target should go beyond previously set targets. In 2020 the United States withdrew from the agreement. 

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