Why the Climate Equity Monitor is needed – The New Indian Express
The world has a limited carbon budget to limit the rise in temperatures since pre-industrial times to 1.5 ° C or 2 ° C. This budget is more strictly limited for the temperature target of 1.5 ° C, and more than 80% of it was already exhausted in 2019. The discourse on net-zero and the aggressive pressure for all countries say target years ignore understanding of the problem of global warming. It is not the year of net zero that is the determining factor in the increase in global temperature, but the cumulative emissions until the world reaches net zero emissions. The Climate Equity Monitor (CEM) center stages this basic scientific understanding.
The CEM also integrates this result of climate science with the fundamental question of climate equity and justice. Developed countries have usurped a disproportionate share of the carbon budget and, based on currently stated targets, will continue to do so even in the future. The CEM clearly illustrates the extent of overuse in developed countries and provides estimates of debt and carbon credit from different Annex-I (developed countries) and non-Annex-I (developing countries). The methodology used is clear and simple.
Unfortunately, many other websites that track climate efforts emerge from the Global North and dismiss the issue of historical responsibility altogether. They provide no historical context to the commitments made for the future and many of them whitewash the repeatedly delayed action by developed countries that is responsible for the climate crisis we face today. In the process of greenwashing, they also fail to represent science accurately. For example, the US ‘effort’ on climate change is often referred to as ‘adequate’ despite its historic and high per capita emissions, repeated withdrawal from climate agreements, and continued reliance on fossil fuels (coal , oil and natural gas), just because of a declaration of net zero for 30 years in the future which will result in their disproportionate consumption even of the remaining carbon budget. Such portrayal of the actions of developed countries ignores both science and equity, which are key elements of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
With the CEM, we aim to represent a perspective on climate equity in the developing world. To our knowledge, this is the first such initiative to emanate from the developing world. But we hope that many more will take on the task of presenting their own perspectives emerging from the realities of their people and their social and economic conditions.
In India, we have too often looked inward as if the entire responsibility of addressing climate change lies with us. We felt that it was high time for the balance to be restored and for our obligations to match our responsibilities. The CEM is intended to raise awareness, especially in India, that climate change is a problem of global collective action and cannot be solved simply by self-denial. India is part of the solution to climate change, but it is not the only answer. A very misconception is often put forward: those who are most likely to feel the impact of climate change are forced to do more by reducing their emissions. Our data analysis and website aim to demystify this false narrative.
Unfortunately, several small developing countries have been misled or forced to achieve huge emission reductions, which, in percentage terms, may even be greater than those of some developed countries. We must remember that for developing countries, including India, development is integral to intergenerational equity.
In this 75th year of independence, we cannot forget the sacrifices that brought us here and the efforts required to ensure a secure and sustainable future for generations to come. Resilience and environmental sustainability are part of that future, but there is much more at stake for us.
Associate Professor, National Institute for Advanced Studies, Bangalore
Principal Investigator, Climate Change, MSSRF, Chennai