COP27 and Net Zero Journey: Where India and the world stand

COP27 and Net Zero Journey: Where India and the world stand

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By: Anup Garg, Founder, and Director, WOCE (World of Circular Economy)

“Environmentalists, innovators, corporate, and common masses, carried myriad expectations from the conference of parties (COP) 27. It looked like the most revered global climate conference, in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt (from November 06 to18). It provided no less than a golden opportunity for stakeholders, countries, corporates, climate advocates, and advisors, to ‘walk-the-talk’ of effectively tackling the global challenge of climate change.

We must understand that transition to Net Zero not just requires a planned fossil fuel phase-out and shift to renewable energy, energy efficiency, and clean tech solutions, but also a change in the mindset of the common masses. And to bring this behavioral change- at the heart of India’s vision of a safe planet is a one-word Mantra – Lifestyle for Environment that Prime Minister Modi had set forth in our
National Statement at COP26. Towards realisation of the mantra, Mission LiFE was launched by Prime Minister Modi in the presence of the UN Secretary-General his Excellency Antonio Guterres, in October 2022.

Within one year, it was laudable that India could submit its Long-Term Low Emissions Growth Strategy indicating low carbon transition pathways in key economic sectors. Besides, other countries too declared their higher decarbonisation targets, backed by policies and investments.

It is unfortunate that despite the occurrence of extreme weather events and the rise of global emissions, countries like Russia and Ukraine dare to engage in a war that not only has killed human lives, but the global economy raised inflation to an all-time high, and has now increased the use of coal at an alarmingly high level.

The good news about COP27 was that a group of nations, including India, stated that carbon border taxes, which could lead to market distortion and exacerbate the lack of trust between parties, must be avoided.

India and other countries must focus on techniques like carbon capture and storage (CCS) to stop GHGs from entering the atmosphere are discussed. These technologies are pricey right now and their usefulness is debatable. Nevertheless, CCS has recently emerged as a crucial component of various nations’ decarbonization programs.

In total, COP27 does a great job of bringing all the stakeholders together to agree on the objective of reducing emissions which is essential to avoid further climate change impacts, but it is lacking the measurement of the actions being done against the pledges made by the stakeholder.

Fundamentally “one which cannot be measured cannot be managed”. The biggest dilemma is when the rest of the world could not convince Russia and Ukraine not to engage in a war, how effective is it going to be for COP to convince the world that actions are needed on the ground to save mother earth? Hoping that COP 27 brings a meaningful change and just does not become a mere networking social event.”

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