India tries to put spotlight back on pre-2020 actions of developed countries

G77+China submit that pre-2020 action will serve as the foundation for the post-2020 climate agreement

By Vineet Kumar
Published: Wednesday 10 June 2015


With just a day to go before the Bonn climate change conference draws to a close, India is pushing hard to redirect the focus of talks to a formal agreement for pre-2020 climate action.

Stating that high-level events on pre-2020 ambitions have become “talking shops”, India is resisting attempts by developed countries to skirt the issue and devote their energies almost entirely to post-2020 actions.

Susheel Kumar, additional secretary in India’s environment ministry and leader of the Indian delegation, told Down to Earth,“We need accelerated implementation process for (the) pre-2020 period and also for enhancing pre-2020 ambitions. How can countries accept the agreement on post-2020 actions when there is no clarity on pre-2020 action?”

At its first session in 2012, the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) had adopted the agenda under two workstreams—pre-2020 (Workstream II) and post-2020 (Workstream I). 

While negotiations under Workstream I will lead to the new climate agreement effective from 2020, the G77+China (including India) is worried that pre-2020 emissions reduction pledges by developed countries will fall short of restricting temperature rise under 2°C.

India has asked for related working documents to be issued as soon as possible so that negotiations for the pre-2020 agreement can be started immediately during this ADP session itself. 

The EU has, however, already made it clear that it is unlikely to enhance its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions before 2020. The US has also ignored talks about pre-2020 and said that countries should focus on post-2020 actions instead. Before 2020, only developed countries are required to take actions to reduce emissions.

Under these circumstances, it is crucial for developing countries like India to push developed countries into taking action otherwise the burden of emissions will have to be shared by both developed and developing countries after 2020. 

India also brought up the issue of climate finance in a discussion with Down To Earth. Kumar said, “Currently, there is no roadmap for finance. A very small amount of the fund, to the tune of approximately $10 billion is available so far. Even for that,it is not clear if it is just for one year or more. The US has committed $3 billion for 4 years, which means just $750 million per year. At this pace, how do we reach the $100-billion ambition? We cannot sit quietly for the remaining five years. It will be very unfortunate if we lose this precious time.”

There will be two more ADP sessions before COP 21 in Paris this December. Effectively, the world has 12 days (including today) between now and COP 21 to reach a new climate agreement.

Submissions by different groups

The EU, in its latest submission, said it would give importance to issues of transparency, accountability, dynamism, climate-resilient sustainable development and climate finance for post-2020 actions. It does not want to enhance its pre-2020 actions on emissions reduction even though it is required by the Durban mandate. The EU has also talked about recalling the pre-2020 mandate of Durban.

India is a member of the G77+China (which has 133 countries as its members) group. In its latest submission, it has reaffirmed principles of equity and CBDR (Common But Differentiated Responsibility) and recognised that pre-2020 action is the foundation for post-2020 action.  It has also demanded an immediate and early ratification of the Kyoto Protocol amendment for its second commitment period by its parties listed in Annex B of the Protocol. 

The group has urged developed countries to revisit pre-2020 targets, asking them to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent in 2017, 30 per cent in 2018, 35 per cent in 2019, and 40 per cent in 2020. Similarly, it has asked developed countries to achieve the $100-billion goal by increasing the level of financial support to $70 billion in 2016, $85 billion in 2018, and $100 billion in 2020, with a major chunk coming from public funding.

The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) noted withgrave concern thepre-2020 gap and gave importance to greater near‐term action. 

Along with India, Mali, Argentina, Brazil, Bangladesh, South Africa and Saudi Arabia have raised their concerns about the need for pre-2020 action to fight climate change and build trust among parties to reach the climate change agreement Paris in 2015. China has also warned that we cannot imagine post-2020 actions without pre-2020 actions.


The impact of climate change on the achievement of the post-2015 sustainable development goals

The costs of climate change impacts for India: a preliminary analysis

Temperature impacts on economic growth warrant stringent mitigation policy

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :
Related Stories

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.