PM Narendra Modi to attend Paris climate summit’s inauguration

In a major departure from climate change summits of the past 80 world leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will participate in the inaugural phase of the climate summit in Paris, the French embassy confirmed on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, French ambassador tweeted about it and in Paris following the announcement in Paris by Laurent Fabius, the foreign minister of France.

PM Narendra Modi to attend Paris climate summit's inauguration

The development is significant in the backdrop of the last week’s climate change negotiations in Bonn, Germany that saw stormy discussions with the developing nations terming the draft of the Paris agreement as ‘lopsided.’ The conference though eventually manifested in a draft text of 55 pages that was more agreeable to all parties.

The presence of 80 world leaders at the beginning of the climate summit was termed as ‘unprecedented’ by some experts. “Usually, the designated negotiators wait for heads of states to arrive and negotiate the final talks, which happens in the last few hours. This is what happened during the Copenhagen summit in 2009. Hence, it is unprecedented for leaders to be present at the inaugural session, to set the ball rolling”, said Harjeet Singh, International Policy Manager, Climate Change, ActionAid International, a non-profit organization. The 2009 Copenhagen climate summit did not result in a legally binding treaty and the summit was largely considered as a failure across all circles.

Singh added, “Negotiations on the draft Paris agreement have not been amicable and we still have a long way to go to sort out differences between developed and developing nations.”

After the draft of the Paris climate agreement was re-worked Bonn, a last round of negotiations on it will occur in Paris between November 8 and November 10. Ministers of over 100 countries, including environment minister Prakash Javadekar, will be present at this meeting.

But, even as world leaders have committed to participating in the inaugural session, there are major concerns among the G77+ China group of developing nations on climate finance and technology transfers. Developing nations such as India, Brazil and South Africa are pushing the developed countries to take responsibility for their historical emissions and also commit finance to poorer nations for switching for adapting to climate change. On the other hand, the richer nations have maintained that countries such as India, South Africa, China and Brazil have grown stronger economically and thus need to share the burden by cutting their carbon emissions substantially.

The resolution to this stand-off is going to be the key to the Paris climate summit for reaching an agreement to cap global warming at 2°C over pre-industrial revolution levels

India’s climate action targets for 2030.
India has said that it aims to reduce emissions intensity or emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 33-35% by 2030, from 2005 levels. Ahead of the 2009 Copenhagen climate summit, India had committed to reduce its emissions intensity by 20-25%, and the environment ministry said that it has already achieved a 12% reduction. This essentially means that the new target to reduce emissions intensity by 35% is doable.