Pros and Cons of COP-21

Pros and Cons of COP-21
Highlights

Will India gain from Paris Agreement on climate change? Though it is a complex issue and difficult to give straight answer, but  the Indian contingent in the climate talk gets both accolades and brickbats. Understandably India gains and also losses on the climate agreement count.

Will India gain from Paris Agreement on climate change? Though it is a complex issue and difficult to give straight answer, but the Indian contingent in the climate talk gets both accolades and brickbats. Understandably India gains and also losses on the climate agreement count.

Though negotiators at Conference of Parties (COP)-21 claim that they were back with the best possible deal, by agreeing to the draft means accepting some checks on national greenhouse gas emissions which will impact on the energy usage patterns of the country. On the other hand, if one consider as gain, the agreement will bring huge investment opportunity which in turn create jobs and infrastructure. But also it limits the country of its energy options.

Importantly, now India requires more energy for commercial cooking fuels, power for industry and commerce which will provide livelihood for the masses. And the agreement compromises on these issues. This would make the task for negotiators more difficult and it requires a hard bargain capacity without causing any harm or limitations, particularly, when the Indian contribution to the global environment is so negligible.

The interesting dimension to the Paris talks would be last-minute introduction of a dissonant note that 'idea of attempting to limit temperature increase to 1.5 degree C, instead of 2 degree C.’ While it maintained the principle of developed and developing countries and points out that the expectations of mitigating the actions by the developing countries solely depends on the expected support from the developed countries.

Then how industry benefited?
On one hand, India has enough time to conform to the emission norms that was fixed during the talks and on the other hand it can lay hands on the high-end newer technologies and also investment, which will offer smooth transition to emission free environment.

Industry is enthused with these developments and reacted positively. According to the industry body FICCI, the outcome of COP 21 negotiations are positive, however points out that the aspect of climate finance is not so clear. The developed countries are responsible to mobilise the climate finance and pass on the developing countries.

Hence, the finances would depend on the ability and bilateral relations with other funding countries, though the Green Climate Fund (GCF). Leaving the external funding, Ficci President Harshvardhan Neotia states, ‘It is time for the industry to gear up in tackling the challenge of climate change in a renewed confidence’.

It may be true that the Paris Agreement is not so binding on the governments and also there is no mechanism to enforce it. Hence, one can say there is no gain to India. But it cannot be dismissed so easily.

All International agreements require domestic action. In fact, India has already taken steps to implement by fixing a target of generating 175 GW of renewable energy, including 100 GW solar power by 2022. This automatically brings big business into the sector.

For instance, during 2015, India attracted over $1 billion investment in renewable energy, covering top five deals. The largest deal being GE Energy Financial Services acquired undisclosed equity stake in Welspun Renewables Energy. While another renewable energy project developer, ReNew Power Ventures raised $265 million from its investors to invest in various ventures.

The Singapore government's investment arm, GIC, entered into an agreement with Greenko to acquire its subsidiary Greenko Mauritius. Another wind power developed, Ostro Energy, raised $230 million fund to enter India's wind power market in a big way. Hence, it is solely depend on the Indian industry to invest in the cleaner energy projects in order to exploit the lucrative conditions for the betterment of the country.

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