2021 GS3 Answer

Q. Describe the major outcomes of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). What are the commitments made by India in this conference?

Question from UPSC Mains 2021 GS3 Paper

Model Answer: 

The 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held in Glasgow, Scotland, from October 31 to November 12, 2021. The conference brought together world leaders, experts, and activists to discuss the pressing issues of climate change, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting clean energy, and mitigating the impacts of climate change.

Major Outcomes of COP26:

The COP26 conference resulted in several significant outcomes, including:

  • Glasgow Climate Pact: The Glasgow Climate Pact is a landmark agreement that was reached at the end of the conference. It includes a commitment by countries to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, as well as a range of measures to reduce emissions and promote sustainable development.
  • Increased Climate Ambition: Many countries, including major emitters like China, Russia, and India, announced increased climate targets and commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The European Union pledged to cut its emissions by 55% by 2030, while China promised to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.
  • Finance: Developed countries pledged to provide $100 billion per year in climate finance to developing countries, in order to help them adapt to the impacts of climate change and transition to a low-carbon economy. The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) was also launched to mobilize private finance towards the net-zero transition.
  • Adaptation: COP26 put a strong emphasis on adaptation to the impacts of climate change, particularly in vulnerable regions such as small island developing states and Africa. The Adaptation Action Coalition was launched to help countries develop and implement adaptation strategies.

India’s commitments in COP26:

India, as a major developing country, made several commitments at COP26, including:

  • Net-Zero Emissions: India pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2070, while also announcing an ambitious target to achieve 500 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2030.
  • Clean Energy: India announced its commitment to promote clean energy and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. The country plans to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in its energy mix to 50% by 2030.
  • Finance: India announced its commitment to mobilize $1.5 trillion in domestic and international finance to support its climate goals, including funding for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable transport.
  • Adaptation: India emphasized the importance of adaptation and resilience in the face of climate change, particularly for vulnerable communities. The country announced the establishment of a National Adaptation Fund, as well as a regional center on climate resilience in Chennai.

Conclusion:

COP26 was a critical moment in the global effort to address climate change. The conference resulted in several significant outcomes, including increased climate ambition, commitments to finance and adaptation, and the landmark Glasgow Climate Pact. India also made important commitments at the conference, including its pledge to achieve net-zero emissions by 2070 and its focus on promoting clean energy and building resilience to climate impacts. The success of COP26 will depend on the ability of countries to follow through on their commitments and take bold action to tackle the urgent challenge of climate change.

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