Paris Climate Change Conference: Five things you must know!

The Paris climate summit is being held in Le Bourget, France, from 30 November to 11 December.  

By Ritu Singh | Last Updated: Nov 30, 2015, 15:43 PM IST

Ritu Singh

As the historic Paris climate summit kicks off on Monday, world leaders have the challenge of coming to a mutual decision on how to prevent climate change, which could have disastrous consequences in the future if not checked on time.

What is COP21?

It is the 21st Conference of the Parties, i.e. the annual meeting of all countries which want to take action with regard to global warming. It is being held in Le Bourget, France, from 30 November to 11 December. A total of 147 heads of state and government will attend the summit.

Objective of the meet:

  • The goal of the Convention is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit the global temperature increase to 2 °C above pre-industrial levels.
  • The objective is also to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world.

Why is the meeting being held?

Current commitments on greenhouse gas emissions run out in 2020, therefore, Paris government is expected to produce an agreement on what happens for the decade after that and potentially beyond.

Also Read: Paris Climate Conference: 5 reasons why chances are better this time

What is the host country's stand:

France is one of the lowest greenhouse gas emitters among industralized nations, producing just 1.2% of global emissions, while accounting for 4.2% of global GDP. France is a contributor to the Global Environment Facility and the Clean Technology Fund, also participating in the work of the Board of the Green Climate Fund, to which it will be contributing a total of $1 billion by 2018.

The big issue:

The tension is between the rich countries, which historically have the largest carbon footprint leading to global warming and which tend to be less affected by its consequences, and the poorer, developing countries.

Rich countries have pledged to give poor nations $100bn a year by 2020 to help them reduce emissions and adapt to climate change.

Where does India stand:

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has said that India expects an "equitable and just" climate agreement in Paris and does not want the Paris summit to fail unlike the Copenhagen summit which the minister said people have termed as "flopenhagen".

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting Paris on November 30 to take part in the inaugural session of the UN climate change summit.

If India is compelled to agree to carbon cuts, it will have to cut down on using coal energy that is a significant stay in the energy supply in the country. India has said that it will not agree to any proposal at the climate change negotiations that will seek to restrict the use of coal as a source of energy in the near term but it will have to promise something in terms of how it will cut down on carbon emission by harnessing alternative forms of energy supply.

India has embarked on an ambitious renewable energy pathway, but coal is likely to remain its primary source of energy for the next couple of decades at least. In a recent projection, the government had said it hoped to bring down its dependence on coal for electricity production from the current 61 per cent to 57 per cent by 2031-32.

Highlights of India's climate action plan:

Highlights of India's climate action plan, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), as announced by Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar are as follows:

- To reduce the emissions intensity by 33-35 percent by 2030 and achieve 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030

- To propagate a healthy and sustainable way of living based on traditions and values of conservation and moderation

- To create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

- To better adapt to climate change by enhancing investments in development programmes in sectors vulnerable to climate change, particularly agriculture, water resources, Himalayan region, coastal regions, health and disaster management

- To mobilise domestic and new and additional funds from developed countries to implement the above mitigation and adaptation actions in view of the resource required and the resource gap.

- To build capacities, create domestic framework and international architecture for quick diffusion of cutting edge climate technology in India and for joint collaborative R&D for such future technologies

- Reflect issues of mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology transfer and capacity building.