2022 GS2 Answer

Q. Clean energy is the order of the day.’ Describe briefly India’s changing policy towards climate change in various international fora in the context of geopolitics.

Question from UPSC Mains 2022 GS2 Paper

Model Answer: 
India has been actively participating in various international fora to address the issue of climate change. Over the years, India’s policy towards climate change has evolved, reflecting changing geopolitical circumstances and the country’s own development priorities. In this answer, we will describe India’s changing policy towards climate change in various international fora in the context of geopolitics.

Paris Agreement:

In 2015, India played a significant role in the negotiation of the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius. India’s position was influenced by its development needs and the need to balance economic growth with environmental concerns. India committed to reducing the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33-35% by 2030 from 2005 levels and to achieve 40% of its electricity generation from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030. India’s commitment to renewable energy has also been demonstrated through initiatives like the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).

G20:

India has been an active participant in the G20 discussions on climate change, which bring together the world’s largest economies to address global issues. In 2020, India emphasized the need for a balanced approach to climate action that takes into account the different development stages and priorities of different countries. India also highlighted the need for developed countries to provide financial and technological support to developing countries to facilitate their transition to clean energy.

UNFCCC:

India has been a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) since its inception and has actively participated in its various conferences. India has consistently emphasized the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC), which recognizes that developed countries have historically contributed the most to greenhouse gas emissions and have a greater responsibility to address climate change. India has also advocated for greater financial and technological support for developing countries to enable them to transition to clean energy and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Geopolitical considerations:

India’s policy towards climate change is also influenced by geopolitical considerations, including its relations with major powers like the United States and China. India has been working with the United States on initiatives like the US-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership, which aims to strengthen cooperation on clean energy and climate change. India’s relations with China, on the other hand, have been strained over issues like border disputes and trade, which has impacted cooperation on climate change. India has been cautious about China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which includes several coal-based power projects that could contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

Conclusion:

India’s changing policy towards climate change in various international fora reflects the country’s evolving development priorities and geopolitical considerations. While India has committed to transitioning to clean energy, it has emphasized the need for a balanced approach that takes into account the different development stages and priorities of different countries. India has also advocated for greater financial and technological support for developing countries to enable them to transition to clean energy and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

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