Delhi – The 24th meeting of Conference of Parties (COP-24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be held at Katowice, Poland from 2ndDecember 2018 to 14th December 2018. COP-24 is very significant as it is expected to finalise guidelines for implementation of the Paris Agreement adopted in 2016.

Union Environment Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan who will be leading the 17 member Indian delegation said on the eve of his visit, that India expects that COP-24 should be able to frame guidelines, which are pragmatic and gives due consideration to challenges and priorities of developing countries inter alia different starting points as compared to developed countries, their vulnerabilities, development priorities like eradication of poverty, food security, energy access, providing health infrastructure etc.

“COP-24 should give equal focus to all agenda items, and the outcome of COP-24 should be balanced, inclusive, comprehensive and consistent with the principles and provisions of Convention and its Paris Agreement” said the Union Minister.

India strongly supports the objective of the Paris Agreement to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping the global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. India considers it important from the point of view of eradicating poverty and caring for the poor and the marginalised. The Agreement also focuses on developing country parties’ need to adapt to adverse impacts of climate change, in a manner that it does not put an additional burden on them.

During the COP-24, India would like to emphasise its concern for climate change and reaffirm its commitments to finalisation of the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP). India would like to ensure that Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC), in the light of different national circumstances, are operationalised in all elements of the PAWP. The outcome of the PAWP should support the enhancement of ambition without backsliding.

Significant gaps in pre-2020 climate efforts exist not only in mitigation but also in adaptation and support to developing countries. These implementation gaps will present an additional burden to developing countries in the post-2020 period. Therefore, the key concern for India is to ensure that no undue burden is shifted onto developing countries in the post-2020 period. The issue of pre-2020 commitments under Kyoto Protocol, particularly higher mitigation action of developed countries and the need for developed countries to fulfil their climate finance commitments of mobilising USD 100 billion per annum by 2020, will remain a priority for India in COP-24.

Adaptation is very important for developing countries and requires an urgent global response in terms of adaptation needs for developing countries vis-à-vis finance, capacity building and technology. India is of the view that enhanced provision of new, adequate and predictable finance, technology development and transfer, as well as capacity-building support, is key enablers for developing countries to achieve higher ambition in their climate actions, in the context of sustainable development. Therefore, PAWP must have mechanisms to ensure new, adequate and predictable support for developing country parties.

Additionally, the final political phase of 2018 Facilitative Talanoa Dialogue and stock take exercise on Pre-2020 implementation and action are also scheduled during COP-24.India will be looking forward to a rich exchange of views during the high-level Talanoa dialogue at COP-24, with consideration of pre-2020 actions and support as a crucial element, and its successful conclusion in 2018 as per the agreed modalities. India will be working together with all Parties in an open, transparent, inclusive and Party-driven manner to achieve a balanced and comprehensive outcome in the form of final PAWP at COP-24.

India, even though not a part of the problem, has been taking a leadership role in the global and domestic action on climate change. India has undertaken ambitious mitigation and adaptation actions in the field of clean energy, especially renewable energy, enhancement of energy efficiency, development of less carbon-intensive and resilient urban centers, promotion of waste to wealth, safe, smart and sustainable green transportation network, abatement of pollution and efforts to enhance carbon sink through creation of forest and tree cover. The ambitious goal of generating 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022, and initiatives on smart cities, electric vehicles, energy efficiency initiatives etc. have now made India one of the global leaders in climate action. With the achievement of about 72 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2018 out of a targeted 175 GW, India stands at 4th position globally in wind power, 6th position in solar power installed capacity, and overall 5th position in renewable power.

India made a voluntary pledge in 2009 to reduce the emission intensity of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 20-25 per cent from 2005 levels by 2020 (excluding emissions from agriculture). As per the various reports, we are on the way to achieve this target. India enhanced its climate goals in 2015 outlining eight (8) goals for 2021-2030, including reduction of the emission intensity of its GDP by 33-35 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030. India’s climate actions are synchronised with its development goals and simultaneously reflect its bold vision for combating climate change.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set an ambitious goal that India must start generating 40 per cent of its total power from non-fossil fuels by 2030, thereby placing India at a premium position on the international renewable energy map. The United Nations’ highest environmental honour, UNEP “Champions of the Earth” award was conferred on 3rd October 2018 on the Prime Minister of India in the policy leadership category for his pioneering work in championing the ISA and for his unprecedented pledge to eliminate all single-use plastic in India by 2022.

On the sidelines of COP-24, India will be setting up a Pavilion to create awareness about India’s positive climate actions in various sectors of the economy. The theme of this year’s India Pavilion is ‘One World One Sun One Grid’ as highlighted by our Hon’ble Prime Minister during the first assembly of the International Solar Alliance on 2nd October 2018. India Pavilion will strive to become an ideal platform for the exchange of innovative ideas for the world to come together and take action. Union Environment Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan will inaugurate the Pavilion on December 3rd 2018 and will address and will also release India’s second Biennial Update Report.

In the pavilion, India will also hold side events from December 3rd to December 13th 2018. There will be around 20 sessions, covering issues related to sectors important for climate change adaptation and mitigation. The sessions will cover presentations and panel discussions involving experts from both public and private spheres.

India would like to demonstrate the same spirit of commitment and leadership shown in the past during the COP-24. India’s expectation from COP-24 is that the decisions should be in consonance with the principles of UNFCCC, its Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement including equity, CBDR-RC, and climate justice.