COP 27: With Little Progress on 1.5C Goal, What is the Way Ahead for India?

6 days ago 24

The annual Conference of Parties known as COP concluded its 27th edition at Sharm El Shiekh, Egypt with two big takeaways. The voices of the most-vulnerable and most-affected countries was heard with an agreement to establish a loss and damage facility.

However, progress was snail-paced in terms of raising ambitions to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The normative notion about failure on mitigation targets to adhere 1.5-degree Celcius threshold is not just dicey- it’s a gloated failure.

Indeed, the final text had no imprint on limiting the global warming thresholds as it remains unattended, albeit the tons of CO2 getting added to the atmosphere. Certainly, COP 27 ended with an emblematic note. However, can countries stand to the true sense of implementation-at-home which has global repercussions? 

India re-established its global thought leadership with soft climate diplomacy around LiFE (Lifestyle for the Environment movement), making it to the Sharm El Sheikh implementation plan and launching its ambitious and just-transition-committed Long-Term Low Emission Development Strategy (LT-LEDS).

As India made it vehemently clear, echoed by heavy weights like the European Union, the USA, and 80 other countries, there is no denying that limiting global temperature thresholds requires reducing fossil fuels beyond coal. However, staunch opposition by gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia, hindered the inclusion of phasing out all fossils into the final text.

COP 27 was a testament to the international climate collaborative led by India on the 'all-fossil fuels phase-down', which is now a set-in-motion narrative. Overall, the boost from Sharm-El-Sheikh calls for India to make its local and home-grown climate actions equation right. 

Charting a Climate-Resilient Pathway for India

Consensus on setting up the loss and damage facility is just the beginning; the real question is how much money the fund will get. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has already predicted that global temperature rise is heading toward 1.5°C.

Climate-vulnerable countries like India, whose three-quarter districts are extreme event hotspots, will be facing the maximum brunt. Between Sharm-El-Sheikh and Dubai, India needs to step up its climate adaptation actions to climate-proof its people and economy.  

First, it needs to integrate its food systems into the climate adaptation actions. Globally, as the Global Alliance for the Future of Food estimates, only three percent of public climate finance is targeted toward food systems-- roughly a quarter of the financing that goes towards mitigation activities. The trends are the same for India.

Essentially, climate-proofing food systems can ensure jobs, growth, and prosperity for marginalized communities. Moreover, integrating food systems into climate adaptation actions will promote the diversification of diets and supply chains that can withstand the perils of climate extremes. Overall, the integration will address the intrinsic issues of food insecurity, nutrition, and well-being. 

Second, with COP 27’s lukewarm optimism results, India must correctly set the domestic policy fora. The pace of climate change is humongous, and the window of response is widening.

In this context, resilience is a core function of re-insuring climate-proofed plans, policies, and investments that can save lives, livelihoods, and infrastructures.

The climate crisis code red calls for blending financing of climate adaption actions through a PPP, i.e., public-private-philanthropic modus operandi. The PPP mode will influence how climate actions are designed, planned, and implemented.

Above all, success will be continued based on the flawless execution of piloting some of the models that bring sustainability from the margins to the mainstream. Collaborative, investment-ready programs are operating-at-scale funneling, and making them mainstream them will fast-track India’s climate-proofing agenda.

Third, India needs to deliver and implement its climate actions effectively at a hyperlocal level. The recently launched LiFE should act as a catalyst for bridging systemic behavioral change in a bottom-up approach by igniting and promoting collective climate actions.

To deliver and achieve resilient milestones, there is a need to develop an integrated and unified mechanism to monitor and promote climate-resilient pathways across communities and climate-resilient pathways.

In fact, an effective monitoring framework that captures the theory of change of resilience building, provides adequate scaffolding to key decision-makers who can climate-proof lives and livelihoods. 

At a time when geopolitical imbalance and power dynamics threaten global security; making the domestic climate actions razor-sharp can keep the economic wagon up and running by climate-proofing the lives and livelihoods of its citizens. Though nascent, the time is right to align the developmental trajectories to meet the climate action trajectories. 

(Abinash Mohanty - Sector Head of Climate Change and Sustainability and an expert reviewer of the IPCC-AR(6) ( @Abinash0294)

Raghwesh Ranjan- Director of Social Economic Empowerment Practice (@raghwesh) at IPE Global, an international development organisation.)

(This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)

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