Climate Change | Paris Agreement

Part 1 of this Series : Climate Change | An Overview

Part 2 of this Series : Climate Change | Agreements

Part 3 of this Series : Climate Change | CoP

Funding and transfer of technology:

With regard to $100 billion funding and providing clean technology, there is no clarity in the agreement and these issues have been left to future negotiations during the next five years. Many developing and poor nations are upset with this fact. This would, in turn, hamper the entire process of adaptation and mitigation effort.

Historical emissions of rich countries:

  1. With the omission of the words ‘historical agreements’ of rich nations in the agreement it appears that the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibility of rich and poor nations has been diluted.
  2. This absolves rich countries of their responsibility for reducing their emissions drastically, which is required to save the planet from disastrous consequences of climate change.
  3. This, in turn, puts greater pressure on developing countries, in particular India and China, to reduce their emissions much more than they have pledged.

Monitoring mechanism:

The methodology of monitoring of implementation of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) remains unresolved in Paris and is still to be negotiated in the coming years.

  1. India and China have maintained that developed and developing countries should have different systems of monitoring and reporting, which were devised at Cancun in 2010. These are called as International Assessment and Review (IAR) for the developed and International Consultation and Analysis (ICA) for developing countries.
  2. Why different systems? This difference is due to the fact that developing countries do not have the necessary capability to undertake stringent reporting and thus they wanted the Paris Agreement must operationalise and implement differential obligations of developed and developing countries.

Other outcomes of the conference:

  1. The Paris Agreement has incorporated a new threshold limit of average global temperature rise of 1.5-degree Celsius by 2100 instead of the current limit of 2-degree Celsius. This requires all countries (rich nations in particular) to embark upon huge enhancement of emission cuts urgently.
  2. Economies in tech-innovative places such as the US and Japan are likely to do well, as renewable energy work takes off in poor countries having abundant ‘sunshine’ and ‘wind’. This will expand market share for companies involved in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Also, innovators and venture capitalists are likely to make a beeline for energy industry.

Significance of the Paris agreement –

  1. The Paris Agreement acknowledges the development imperatives of developing countries. The Agreement recognizes the developing countries’ right to development and their efforts to harmonize development with environment, while protecting the interests of the most vulnerable.
  2. The Paris Agreement recognizes the importance of sustainable lifestyles and sustainable patterns of consumption with developed countries taking the lead, and notes the importance of ‘climate justice’ in its preamble.
  3. The Agreement seeks to enhance the ‘implementation of the Convention whilst reflecting the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances.
  4. The objective of the Agreement further ensures that it is not mitigation-centric and includes other important elements such as adaptation, loss and damage, finance, technology, capacity building and transparency of action and support.
  5. Pre-2020 actions are also part of the decisions. The developed country parties are urged to scale up their level of financial support with a complete road map to achieve the goal of jointly providing US $ 100 billion by 2020 for mitigation and adaptation by significantly increasing adaptation finance from current levels and to further provide appropriate technology and capacity building support.
  • Important –
Common but differentiated responsibilities Kyoto Protocol
$100 billion commitment by developed countries CoP 15, Copenhagen
Green Climate Fund CoP 16, Cancun
Principles of equity CoP 17, Durban
Limit to reduce global temperatures within 2 degree Celsius increase CoP 20, Lima











In case of India, the process of ratification is simple. It only required the Cabinet decision. India had pledged to:

  • Decrease the carbon per unit of GDP (carbon intensity of our economy) to about 33 to 35% in 2030 as compared to 2005 levels.
  • Meet at least 40% of India’s electricity generating capacity from non-fossil fuels.
  • Capture 5 billion tons of carbon dioxide by trees and forest cover.

India’s commitments of 100 GW of solar energy, 60 GW of wind energy and by 2022, we would have about 40% of our energy needs to be met from non-fossil fuel energy sources.


  • Fair to India:
  1. The principle of “differentiation”, means developed nations must take greater action to fight climate change, has been retained, though in diluted form.
  2. India is allowed to carry out its development plans.
  3. India has safely accorded priority to the fact that India’s ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ rest on the condition that our targets would be met only if adequate funding and transfer of technology would be facilitated by the developed countries. In his interview to David Letterman, the Prime Minister stressed on this issue to clarify his stand that India’s compliance to Paris agreement also depends on the funding and technology transfer conditions being attested under the Climate agreement.
  • Unfair to India/Developing countries:
  1. Technology transfer: Developed countries opposed India’s demand to address issues related to intellectual property rights, future technology development and institutional arrangement.
  2. Responsibility of developing Vs Developed nation: Being the primary polluter developed countries apathy to take responsibility is unfair.
  3. Fund transfer: According to the Copenhagen Accord, $100 billion of finance a year will be available by 2020 to support climate action by developing countries. There would be no increment in this fund till 2025.
  4. Binding target: India heavily depends on coal and other fossil fuel for its energy requirement. Achieving target under these conditions will be a difficult task. Countries have declared their national target, but many developed groups have opposed against legal binding including the US and the EU.
  5. It is an undeniable fact that developed countries are responsible for current situation. Paris agreement has however diluted their responsibility.

Part 5 of this Series : Paris Agreement – Implications to India

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