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  • 03 November, 2022

  • 6 Min Read

COP27's Challenges

COP27's Challenges

  • The annual United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP27) will soon begin in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Shaikh.

Climate Objectives and the CoP

  • These annual meetings have been the driving force behind the global fight against climate change.
  • However, the response has been inadequate in comparison to the magnitude of the challenge.

Problems and Difficulties

Action plans that fall short:

  • The world has been deciding to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for at least two and a half decades.
  • According to the most recent assessments, countries' current climate action plans are woefully inadequate.
  • Rising emissions: Annual global emissions continue to rise in absolute terms, reaching nearly 50 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
  • Between 2010 and 2019, global emissions increased by more than 1% on average.
  • This is significantly slower than the previous decade's growth rate of about 2.6 percent, but it is insufficient for meeting climate targets.

Global concerns:


  • Countries have little appetite to increase climate action in the face of a worsening energy crisis and general economic gloom.

Ukraine war:

  • The energy and economic crisis brought on by the Ukraine war threatens to undo even minor gains.

Potential for growth:

  • Furthermore, even if emissions growth is immediately halted or reduced, this does not solve the problem.
  • This is because global warming is caused by accumulated emissions in the atmosphere rather than by current emissions.
  • Carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas, remains in the atmosphere for approximately 100 years, so any immediate reduction in emissions would have an effect only after several decades.
  • As a result, average global temperatures have risen faster in the last decade than at any other time in history.

Inadequate and unjust response:

  • The response in terms of emission reductions has been insufficient.
  • The rich and industrialized countries, which were the main polluters and thus primarily responsible for reducing emissions, failed to meet their collective targets.

Developing nations:

  • Countries such as China and India, which were not major emitters until recently, have seen their emissions rise dramatically.

The big picture

  • EU: As a bloc, the European Union has done relatively better on climate goals, with the United Kingdom, which is currently experiencing an economic downturn, halving its emissions from 1990 levels, according to UN data.
  • The United States, which was the world's leading emitter until it was surpassed by China in the mid-2000s, has been a major laggard, reducing emissions by only about 7% from 1990 levels.
  • India and China: During this time, China's emissions have nearly quadrupled, while India's have nearly tripled.

Suggestions and future plans:

  • According to the latest Emissions Gap Report, annual emissions would need to drop from the current level of about 50 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent to about 33 billion tonnes by 2030 and 8 billion tonnes by 2050 to have a realistic chance of keeping global warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • Even if the 2-degree target is met, emissions must be reduced to around 41 billion tonnes by 2030 and 20 billion tonnes by 2050.
  • This would necessitate drastic action on the part of all major emitters.

Considering the action plans:

  • First, climate change is a global issue that requires international cooperation.
  • Second, it requires rules that are fair and just to both the rich and the poor.
  • Third, science clearly shows that humans are to blame for the global temperature rise, and that this rise will result in more and more variable and extreme weather events, similar to what we are currently experiencing.
  • Four, each country's responsibility for the stock of emissions already in the atmosphere — the historical cumulative emissions that have "forced" climate change impacts — can be estimated.
  • Fifth, countries that have not yet contributed to emissions will do so in the future simply because the world has failed to make global rules that apply fairly to all.

Glasgow Climate Conference (Cop26)

  • The Glasgow meeting strengthened the Paris Agreement mechanism for eliciting pledges from countries and gradually increasing them.
  • It asked countries to update and strengthen their NDCs' 2030 emission targets by the end of 2022.
  • Its explicit goal was to keep 1.5 degrees Celsius alive through such pledges.
  • However, it was criticised for focusing too much on goal setting and not enough on the challenge of achieving those goals.

The 'Panchamrit' strategy of India

India's 'Panchamrit' strategy for improved climate targets was announced at the COP 26 conference in Glasgow.

  • India's non-fossil fuel energy capacity will be increased to 500 gigatonnes (GW) by 2030.
  • By 2030, it expects to meet 50% of its energy needs from renewable sources.
  • Between now and 2030, total projected carbon emissions will be reduced by 1 billion tonnes.
  • Its economy's carbon intensity will be reduced to less than 45 percent.
  • India will achieve its goal of net zero emissions by 2070.

About Conference of Parties(COP)

It is the supreme decision-making body of the UNFCCC.


  • The agreement seeks to limit global warming to well below 2°C, preferably to 1.5°C, compared to pre-industry levels.
  • Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs):
  • To achieve the targets under the agreement, the member countries have to submit the targets themselves, which they believe would lead to substantial progress towards reaching the Paris temperature goal.
  • Initially, these targets are called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).
  • They are converted to NDCs when the country ratifies the agreement.

Source: The Hindu

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