COPENHAGEN SUMMIT- What You Should Know : Dr.Vinod Khanna, Copenhagen Summit COPENHAGEN SUMMIT- What You Should Know 7-18th Dec 2009 Dr.Vinod Khanna
email@example.com Slide 2: Dr.Vinod Khanna, Copenhagen Summit Representatives of 192 countries meet in one of the most widely anticipated international conferences in Copenhagen. Aims and Objectives : Dr.Vinod Khanna, Copenhagen Summit Aims and Objectives to try and hammer out an agreement that, many hope, will save the planet from the fallouts of global warming and climate change.. Slide 4: Dr.Vinod Khanna, Copenhagen Summit What you should know? Why we should be scared of global warming? : Dr.Vinod Khanna, Copenhagen Summit Why we should be scared of global warming? Science says that the average temperature on earth has been rising rapidly.
And this is the result of growing concentrations of 'greenhouse gases' that are emitted whenever any fuel is burnt to produce energy.
Science also says that if something is not done immediately to stop the increase in the concentrations of these gases, there will be catastrophic consequences in the next few decades.
Glaciers will melt, sea levels will rise, low-lying areas will be submerged, crops will be damaged, extreme weather events like cyclones and storms will become more frequent.
In short, the world will become a difficult place to live in and millions of people may lose their lives. What's the solution? : Dr.Vinod Khanna, Copenhagen Summit What's the solution? Since the problem has been caused by excess GHGs, the solution is to reduce the emission of GHGs. Simple, isn't it? : Dr.Vinod Khanna, Copenhagen Summit Simple, isn't it? Not quite.
Industries have to operate,
Vehicles have to run and
People have to use appliances.
Developing countries like India need more and more energy to power their industries and increase other economic activities.
Developed countries might not need to increase their energy consumption now but their current consumption is already very high.
It's a vicious cycle.
Development needs more industries and machines, but these lead to increased emissions. Is there a golden mean? : Dr.Vinod Khanna, Copenhagen Summit Is there a golden mean? A middle path has to be found so that
Emissions can be reduced but not at the cost of development.
Excess consumption and wastage of energy has to be prevented.
More efficient technologies have to be found.
If possible, ways have to be devised to absorb GHGs so that they don't accumulate in the atmosphere.
Nature offers such a solution in trees, which absorb carbon dioxide and are therefore very good carbon sinks and are good for reducing GHG concentrations. So what will the Copenhagen meet do about the problem? : Dr.Vinod Khanna, Copenhagen Summit So what will the Copenhagen meet do about the problem? It is expected to come up with an agreement that will make it legally binding for rich and developed countries to reduce their GHG emissions by specific amounts by a certain date, possibly 2020.
In fact, such an international agreement already exists. It is called the Kyoto Protocol that makes it mandatory for a group of rich countries to reduce their collective emissions by 5.2 per cent from their 1990 levels by 2012.
The Copenhagen meet is expected to fix bigger targets on these countries for a period beyond 2012 and till 2020. Why should the rich pay more? : Dr.Vinod Khanna, Copenhagen Summit Why should the rich pay more? Well, it's only fair since they created the problem in the first place. More than 80 per cent of the accumulated GHGs in atmosphere have been emitted by these countries since they were the first ones to industrialise.
They continue to emit more, a handful of about 30 rich countries account for nearly half the global emissions.
Their average per capita emission is more than twice the world average and at least ten times more than that of India.
A lot of it results from wasteful and luxurious consumption of energy. But that doesn't mean the rest can just sit back and do nothing, does it? : Dr.Vinod Khanna, Copenhagen Summit But that doesn't mean the rest can just sit back and do nothing, does it? According to the Bali Action Plan, every country needs to take steps to reduce its energy consumption.
But unlike rich countries, they do not have to affix targets and the reduction targets are not legally binding.
This has been done so that the developing countries don't find themselves constrained in their effort to increase economic activity and reduce poverty.
Development and poverty reduction have been recognised as the primary and overriding concern for these countries and that includes India. Does everyone agree on such an arrangement? : Dr.Vinod Khanna, Copenhagen Summit Does everyone agree on such an arrangement? In principle, yes, but there are sharp differences over the details.
Rich countries, for example, want big, emerging economies like India and China to also take some sort of targeted reductions in their rapidly growing emissions.
Developing countries, on the other hand, are demanding more ambitious emission cuts from the rich countries. They are also asking for transfer of technology and money to cope with the effects of a problem that is essentially the making of rich countries. So will the Copenhagen meet result in a deal? : Dr.Vinod Khanna, Copenhagen Summit So will the Copenhagen meet result in a deal? The chances of a comprehensive agreement in accordance with the Bali roadmap look remote. But all the major emitters are expected to list their offers to reduce their emissions. A political declaration is also likely to come out, stating the intent and commitment to quick action. India and climate change : Dr.Vinod Khanna, Copenhagen Summit India and climate change The facts
India is the fifth largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind China, the United States, the European Union and Russia.
Its annual carbon dioxide emission is in the range of 1.2 to 1.4 billion tonnes.
Its annual greenhouse gas emission (CO2 plus five other gases, including methane) is in the range of 1.6 to 1.8 billion tonnes.
India's per capita emission is about 1.2 tonnes per year. That's about one fourth of the global average, about one-tenth of the emissions of developed countries and about one-third of China's.
Between 1990 and 2004, India's carbon dioxide emissions grew by about 7 per cent a year on an average. India's traditional argument: : Dr.Vinod Khanna, Copenhagen Summit India's traditional argument: Development and poverty reduction is its primary and over-riding priority even as it shares responsibility for contributing to global efforts to contain temperature rise and climate change. It is, therefore, in no position to cap or reduce its emissions, though it is working towards slowing the growth of its emissions.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation) is the sole responsibility of Annex-I countries (developed nations), as the Kyoto Protocol says. India will take mitigation efforts only if the developed world supports it with technology transfer and finance.
India has already come up with a National Action Plan on Climate Change in line with its responsibility under the Bali roadmap. Several other steps, including a new building code, fuel efficiency standards and massive afforestation, have also been initiated. However, these domestic actions are not open to international scrutiny.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has given an assurance that even as its total emissions grow, India will never allow its per capita emissions to rise above the average per capita emissions of the developed world A shift? : Dr.Vinod Khanna, Copenhagen Summit A shift? In the run-up to the Copenhagen summit, however, India has displayed a lot of flexibility and made a series of unilateral offers.
20-25 per cent cuts in carbon intensity by 2020 over 2005 levels: this was announced last Thursday as a "non-binding" domestic target.
* India also agreed to tell the world about the amount of emission reductions that its domestic actions were likely to lead to by a certain year. It was not prepared to do so earlier. These numbers, however, cannot be treated as internationally binding targets.
Two degree statement in Italy: At the Major Economies Forum earlier this year, India signed on a declaration that called on all the signatories to work towards limiting the global rise in temperatures to within 2 degrees centigrade from the pre-industrial levels. This created a controversy because some interpreted the declaration as indirectly imposing emission cuts on India. But the MEF declaration is not a legally binding document.
India has also offered to report its emission status to the international community more frequently than it is required to do under law. This will allow the world to track the results of India's domestic actions. The climate change dictionary : Dr.Vinod Khanna, Copenhagen Summit The climate change dictionary 1.Adaptation: Refers to actions required to cope with the changes being brought about by global warming. For example, introducing a new variety of crop that can withstand, or probably give a better yield, in higher temperatures is an adaptation process. There are huge costs involved.
2.Anthropogenic emissions: Emissions caused as a result of human activity.
3.Bali Action Plan: Adopted at the 13th meeting of the Conference of Parties (CoP) held at Bali, Indonesia, in 2007, the plan spelt out four areas where accelerated action was required to deal with climate change:
* Enhanced mitigation by rich countries. Developing countries to come up with NAMAs, or nationally appropriate mitigation actions, that would be non-binding and without targets.
* Adaptation by developing and least developed countries (LDCs).
* Transfer of Technology from rich countries to developing nations and LDCs.
* A funding architecture to finance the costs of adaptation and mitigation. Funds to come from the rich countries. The climate change dictionary : Dr.Vinod Khanna, Copenhagen Summit The climate change dictionary 4.CoP: The Conference of Parties is an annual meet. The first such conference or CoP1 was held in Berlin in 1995 - the Copenhagen meet is the 15th.
5.CDM: The Clean Development Mechanism offers an alternative way to rich countries to meet their emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol. These countries are allowed to fund clean projects in developing countries and the emissions savings accruing from these projects can be counted towards their own target. For example, an industry in India can decide to invest in highly efficient machinery that will help reduce its emissions below the acceptable standard. The industry therefore can claim to have saved some emissions and earn what is known as carbon credits. A country like Germany, for example, is then eligible to make a monetary payment to the Indian industry to buy those carbon credits and count it as its own emission reduction. The climate change dictionary : Dr.Vinod Khanna, Copenhagen Summit The climate change dictionary 6.Carbon Sink/Carbon Sequestration: If accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the problem, scientists are exploring ways to absorb the gas from the atmosphere and store it in some place. It is an effort to emulate the natural process of photosynthesis in trees which absorb CO2. The effort to create a man-made carbon sink, called carbon sequestration, has not been very successful till now.
7.Carbon intensity or emission intensity: It is the carbon emissions of a country per unit of its GDP. In mathematical terms, total carbon emissions in a year, divided by the country's GDP is equal to the carbon intensity. It is generally measured in tonnes of CO2 emissions per $1000 dollars of GDP.
8.Energy intensity: This is the energy consumption per unit of GDP, or in other words, the energy that goes into producing one unit of GDP. It is generally measured in kg of oil equivalent per dollar of GDP. The climate change dictionary : Dr.Vinod Khanna, Copenhagen Summit The climate change dictionary 9.GHGs or greenhouse gases: The six gases blamed for causing global warming: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride. Of these, the first two are known to be the biggest culprits.
10.Historical Responsibility: A term used to make the point that till now, almost all the accumulated GHGs in the atmosphere are a result of emissions by rich, industrialised countries over the last 150 years.
11.Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: A UN-instituted body set up in 1998 to study the science behind climate change. Most of what we know about climate change is based on the conclusions of IPCC reports. IPCC doesn't do any original research but comes out with reports based on papers published on the subject by independent scientists after a careful peer-review. It has so far come out with four reports, known as the Assessment Reports or ARs. Its first report that came out in 1990 suggested that human activity was causing a potentially dangerous change in global climate. The fourth assessment report was released in 2007. The next one is slated to be out in 2013. The climate change dictionary : Dr.Vinod Khanna, Copenhagen Summit The climate change dictionary 12.Kyoto Protocol: Born at the UN climate meet in the Japanese city of Kyoto in 1997, it introduced legally binding emission targets on rich countries. These countries legally committed themselves to reduce their collective emissions by 5.2 per cent from the 1990 levels by 2012. The Kyoto Protocol came into operation in February 2005.
13.Mitigation: It refers to the reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
14.Per capita principle: Enshrined in the UNFCCC, it says that every person in the world should have an equal carbon space in the atmosphere, meaning thereby that an equal per capita emission in every country was the desired goal.
15.Technology Transfer: Developing countries have been asking rich nations to make available to them the technologies that are more energy-efficient and therefore help in reducing emissions. The rich countries are reluctant to pass on these technologies because of intellectual property rights issues. The climate change dictionary : Dr.Vinod Khanna, Copenhagen Summit The climate change dictionary 16.UNFCCC: The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change came about at the UN Environment Conference, popularly known as the Earth Summit, at Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The UNFCCC sought to reduce the rise in greenhouse gas emissions. Importantly, this Convention enshrined the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, which stated that the countries that have contributed the maximum to global emissions should also be the ones to take the maximum responsibility for reducing the emissions.
Accordingly, this Convention divided countries in two broad groups - those named in Annex I of the Convention and those who were not, referred to as non-Annex countries - based on amount of their greenhouse gas emissions as well as the level of economic prosperity.
The countries included in Annex I were required to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, though no targets were fixed at this point. The targets came later through the Kyoto Protocol. Most of the Annex I countries were also listed in Annex II, that made it obligatory for them to assist the developing and least developed nations with financial resources and technology to be able to cope with the effects of climate change and global warming. Slide 23: Dr.Vinod Khanna, Copenhagen Summit Dr.Vinod Khanna