QUESTION : Explain the significance of climate diplomacy for India and efforts in reducing carbon emissions by GoI.
Topic- REJECT THIS INEQUITABLE CLIMATE PROPOSAL
India’s climate action and the issue of phasing out the use of coal.
WHY IN NEWS ?
Recently, the UN Secretary General’s call for India to give up coal immediately and reduce emissions by 45% by 2030 (on a par with the developed countries) is a call to de-industrialise the country and abandon the population to a permanent low-development trap.
CLIMATE PROPOSAL ?
- In a move in climate diplomacy, secretary called on India to make no new investment in coal after 2020.
- It was in reality a deliberate setting aside of the foundational principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that distinguish between the responsibilities and commitments of developed countries vis-à-vis those of developing countries.
WHY SHOULD INDIA REJECT THIS ?
- The UNFCCC itself has reported that between 1990 and 2017, the developed nations excluding Russia and east Europe, have reduced their annual emissions by only 1.3%.
- India with the lowest per capita income among the G-20, is undergoing the worst economic contraction currently, whose long-term impact is still very unclear.
- It was an unmistakable ratcheting up of pressure on India in the climate arena.
- Developed countries of Europe and North America’s phasing out of coal has obscured the reality of its continued dependence on oil and natural gas, both equally fossil fuels, with no timeline for their phase-out.
- While it is amply clear that their commitments into the future set the world on a path for almost 3°C warming, they have diverted attention and the passage of resolutions declaring a climate emergency that amount to little more than moral posturing.
INDIA’S TRACK RECORD :
- India’s renewable energy programme is ambitious while its energy efficiency programme is delivering, especially in the domestic consumption sector.
- India is one of the few countries with at least 2° Celsius warming compliant climate action, and one of a much smaller list of those currently on track to fulfilling their Paris Agreement commitments.
- Despite the accelerated economic growth of recent decades India’s annual emissions, at 0.5 tonnes per capita, are well below the global average of 1.3 tonnes, and also those of China, the United States and the European Union, the three leading emitters in absolute terms, whose per capita emissions are higher than this average.
- In terms of cumulative emissions (which is what really counts in determining the extent of temperature increase), India’s contribution by 2017 was only 4% for a population of 1.3 billion, whereas the European Union, with a population of only 448 million, was responsible for 20%.
ABOUT DEVELOPED WORLD’SSTRATEGY :
- Large sections of United States and other western nations have turned to pressure the developing countries to bear the brunt of climate mitigation.
- Their strategies include the promoting developing nation’s natural resources as active sites of mitigation and not adaptation.
- Promoting theories of de-growth or the neglect of industrial and agricultural productivity for the pursuit of climate change mitigation.
- These are accompanied by increasing appeals to multilateral world financial and development institutions to force this agenda on to developing countries.
REASONS FOR THE PRESSURE ON DEVELOPING NATIONS :
- A section of concerned youth in the developing countries unsensitised to global and international inequalities, have also helped promote the undifferentiated rhetoric of a climate emergency.
- U.S. would cease all participation in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation, and begin negotiations to re-enter the agreement on terms.
- The EU nations for their long-term reliance on gas and oil while hiding behind their overwhelming rhetorical focus on coal.
- EU has been promoting the agenda of carbon neutrality by 2050 as national level goals applicable to all, without any reference to global and international equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities in climate action.
WHAT WILL BE CONSEQUENCES IF INDIA CEASES ALL COAL INVESTMENT ?
- Currently, 2 GW of coal-based generation is being decommissioned per year, which implies that by 2030, India will have only 184 GW of coal-based generation.
- But meeting the 2030 electricity consumption target of 1,580 to 1,660 units per person per year, based on the continuation or a slight increase of the current decadal growth rate, will require anywhere between 650 GW to 750 GW of renewable energy.
- Unlike the developed nations, India cannot substitute coal substantially by oil and gas and despite some wind potential, a huge part of this growth needs to come from solar.
- None of this will really drive industry, particularly manufacturing, since renewables at best can meet residential consumption and some part of the demand from the service sector.
- Currently, manufacturing growth powered by fossil fuel-based energy is itself a necessity, both technological and economic, for the transition to renewables.
- Whether providing 70% to 80% of all generation capacity is possible through renewables depends critically on technology development, including improvements in the efficiency of conversion of energy from its source into electricity.
- But since the Copenhagen Accord signaled the end of legally binding commitments to emissions reduction by the developed countries, technology development in climate change mitigation technologies has registered a significant fall.
- Annual filing of patents shows a marked decline, ranging between 30% to 50% or more from 2009-10 to 2017, across all subsectors and across all developed countries, without exception.
- Lacking production capacity in renewable energy technologies and their large-scale operation, deployment on this scale will expose India to increasing and severe dependence on external sources and supply chains.
- It is a truism that renewables alongside coal will generate, directly and indirectly, far more employment than renewables alone.
ABOUT UNFCCC :
- UNFCCC is an international environmental treaty adopted on 9 May 1992 and opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992, entered into force on 21 March 1994.
- The UNFCCC objective is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system
- Currently, there are 197 Parties (196 States and European Union) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
PARIS AGREEMENT 2015 :
- Parties to UNFCCC agreed to strive to limit the rise in global warming to well under 2 degrees Celsius, over pre-industrial levels by 2100, under Paris Agreement 2015.
- Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) were conceived at Paris summit which require each Party to prepare, communicate and maintain successive nationally determined contributions (NDCs) that it intends to achieve.
- Parties shall pursue domestic mitigation measures, with the aim of achieving the objectives of such contributions.
- Paris Agreement replaced earlier agreement to deal with climate change, Kyoto Protocol.
- USA recently pulled out from the agreement seriously damaging the global effort to reverse climate change, as USA is one of the largest Greenhouse Gas emitter.
INDIA’S INTENDED NATIONALLY DETERMINED CONTRIBUTION (INDCs) :
- India’s INDC include a reduction in the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 per cent by 2030 from 2005 level.
- India has also pledged to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
- India will anchor a global solar alliance, INSPA (International Agency for Solar Policy & Application), of all countries located in between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.
India must unanimously reject the UN Secretary General’s call and reiterate its long-standing commitment to an equitable response to the challenge of global warming.
QUESTION : Examine the legal and ethical issues related to how we deal with wild animals which venture into human-dominated landscapes
Topic- FOR THE WELFARE OF ANIMALS
Cruelty Against Animals
WHY IN NEWS ?
For a country that claims adherence(follow) to ahimsa, India’s treatment of its animals betrays a moral failure. The editorial talks about the need to reconsider several aspects of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act
CLASSIFICATION OF OFFENCES :
- Section 11 lists a series of offences, which vary from abandoning an animal to kicking it, mutilating it or killing it, and prescribes the same punishment for all these offences.
Severe offences are treated on a par with less severe ones. This is a clear departure from established principles of penology.
- An amendment is required to grade the offences according to their severity, and specify punishments accordingly.
- Further, the more severe offences must be made cognizable and non-bailable.
- At present, a majority of the offences under the Act are non-cognisable, which means the police cannot investigate the offence or arrest the accused without the permission of a Magistrate.
- This facilitates police inaction, and ensures that most culprits of animal abuse go scot free.
- The PCA Act creates a plethora of exceptions which significantly dilute the protections available to animals.
- Though Section 11 criminalises several forms of animal cruelty, sub-section (3) carves out exceptions for animal husbandry procedures such as dehorning, castration, nose-roping, and branding.
- The law does not provide any guidelines for these procedures. This allows individuals to resort to cruel methods.
- Many farmers remove horns using hot irons, knives or wires. Nose-roping involves piercing the animal’s nasal septa using a thick, blunt needle.
- Branding is traditionally done by applying a hot iron directly to the animal’s skin to imprint an identification mark on its body.
- These procedures cause tremendous physical and psychological pain to animals.
VIABLE ALTERNATIVES :
- On August 10, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) India moved the Delhi High Court seeking the enactment of proper regulations for such animal husbandry procedures.
- The petition suggests mandating the use of anesthetics prior to castration, and the replacement of cruel practices such as nose-roping with face halters and branding with radio frequency identification.
- Further, as opposed to dehorning cattle, it recommended that farmers breed hornless cattle.
- The exceptions in favour of animal husbandry practices need to be reconsidered as there are viable alternatives that would prevent animals from undergoing such trauma.
- The PCA Act also suffers from ambiguity in definition.
- The law was enacted to “prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals”. However, this phrase is not defined anywhere in the Act.
- This is crucial because what constitutes “unnecessary” is entirely a matter of subjective assessment.
- In the absence of a clear statutory definition, we are leaving crucial questions of animal welfare to the subjective moral compass of judges.
- Given that the aim of law is to achieve a certain standard of objectivity, it is essential that the expression “unnecessary pain or suffering” be defined.
ANIMAL WELFARE BOARD OF INDIA (AWBI) :
- It is a statutory body
- It is an advisory body advising the Government of India on animal welfare laws, and promotes animal welfare in the country of India.
- The Animal Welfare Board of India was established in 1962 under Section 4 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,1960.
- The Board consists of 28 Members, who serve for a period of 3 years.
- It works to ensure that animal welfare laws in the country are followed and provides grants to Animal Welfare Organisations.
- The Board was initially within the jurisdiction of the Government of India’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture. In 1990, the subject of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was transferred to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, where it now resides.
- It frames a range of rules on how animals ought to be humanely treated everywhere. It has also frequently litigated to have stricter laws to ensure animals were not unduly harassed or tortured
WHY IS THERE VIOLENCE AGAINST ANIMALS ?
- Violence against animals is considered ‘legal’ as long as it is directed against animals that are declared as ‘vermin’.
- This can be understood in the context of the state of the agricultural community in India.
- Agricultural losses due to climate change and inefficient policies have been added to by invasion of wild animals. Many of these affected farmers are themselves marginal.
The cause of such violence is two-fold:
- Society has delegated the law for handling the ‘vermin category’ of animals to the farmers. They can ‘destroy’ these animals at free-will in whatever manner they see fit.
- Government policies have failed to address farmers’ distress. Agriculture has become unviable for many of these communities.
WHAT ARE THE SAFEGUARDS AGAINST ANIMAL CRUELTY IN INDIA ?
- Compassionate treatment of animals is one of the Fundamental Duties of citizens of India, according to Article 51A.
- The Indian Penal Code has provisions for punishing acts like killing, maiming, poisoning etc. of animals that are valued at 10 INR or more under Section 428 and in case of such acts against animals valued at 50 INR and above, under Section 429
- Wildlife Protection Act ,1972
- PCA Act, 1960
WAY FORWARD :
- Mass awareness and sensitization campaigns are needed to make the general public alert to the animal cruelty issue.
- There is a need for wide spread adoption of early warning systems to reduce man-animal conflict in the areas bordering forests inhabited by elephants and other wild animals.
- It is high time that the PCA Act is subject to amendments and the penalties must be made proportional to the crimes to have an actual deterrent effect.
- Marketing and use of imported products developed by animal testing should be banned. Israel imposed such a ban in 2010 and the EU banned them in 2013. Its high time India follows suit.
- There is an urgent need to reconsider the exceptions in favour of animal husbandry practices as there are viable alternatives that would prevent animals from undergoing such trauma.