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The Paris Agreement and Climate change

01-06-2017 05:23 PM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream

The Paris Agreement and Climate change | My Indian Dream

The Paris agreement is back in the news as the US has hinted that it will pull out from it. This article offers an insight into the Paris agreement and measures India has taken to limit climate change

The present conditions of our planet undeniably reveal the fact that the earth is in the grip of global warming.  From melting glaciers to soaring temperatures, we are endangering our very own existence by inducing large scale economic development that is destroying the environment that sustains us.

Global warming is the increase in temperature of the earth’s surface due to greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide which are emitted due to the burning of fossil fuels in industries as well as other harmful gases released into the atmosphere through vehicles and air conditioners. These gases trap heat which would have otherwise escaped the earth.  Over the years, the increase in greenhouse gases has led to more heat being trapped triggering a rise in average temperatures all over the world. This occurrence is also called climate change.

Fortunately, after enduring the fury of nature, people all over the world have begun to acknowledge the  dangers of climate change and are taking steps to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases.The Paris Agreement on climate change lays out commitments for nations to limit their greenhouse-gas emissions and contain the impact of global warming.

The agreement was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries in Paris on 12 December 2015.

It was opened for signature on 22 April 2016 (Earth Day) at a ceremony in New York. As of May 2017, 195 have signed the treaty, 147 of which have ratified (make officially valid) it. Many European Union states ratified the agreement in October 2016. India too ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change on 2 October 2016. The agreement went into effect on 4 November 2016.

India is responsible for 6% of the global CO2 emissions while China accounts for 28%, the United States for 16% and the European Union 10%. In terms of per capita CO2 emissions, 10 other countries are ahead of India.

 As part of the initial commitments to the agreement, India plans to reduce its carbon emission intensity - emission per unit of GDP - by 33-35% from 2005 levels over 15 years. It aims at producing 40% of its installed electricity capacity by 2030 from non-fossil fuels.

To achieve this, India will have to shift significantly from coal-based power generation to renewable energy sources. It will have to produce 100 gigawatts from solar, 60 gigawatts from the wind, 10 gigawatts from biomass and 5 gigawatts from small hydropower by 2022.Another commitment under the treaty requires India to increase its forest cover by five million hectares along with an improvement in the quality of green cover of an equal measure by 2030.

All nations have agreed to the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius.

A pull out will put the US in league with Syria and Nicaragua as the world’s only nonparticipants in Paris deal. Experts say that this move by the US may destroy its credibility and put China on top of global leadership. Both India and China whose carbon footprint is much smaller than the US have shown their intent to stand by the agreement.

So long as the countries of the world support the agreement and keep their promises,  there is hope that our planet will become a much better place for its inhabitants.

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I love to read and am passionate about writing. I like to absorb ideas and information and spread it among my readers. After all, knowledge is always an asset.
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