Over 150 heads of state and government gathered in Paris at the UN climate change conference on Monday, 30 November, the largest group of leaders ever to attend a UN event in a single day.
In speech after speech, they provided political leadership and support to reach an ambitious and effective climate change agreement by December 11 that will set nations on the path to a low-carbon, climate-resilient future that keeps the average global temperature below two degrees Celsius.
Indian Prime Minister said that the India has ancient belief of people and planet and they are inseparable. India has set ambitious emission reduction targets of 33-35% of 2005 level by 2030, by generating 40 percent of power from non-fossil fuels. India will generate 175 Gigawatts of renewable energy by 2022 while also increasing its forest cover to sink 2.5 billion ton CO2.
It is encouraging public transport system and would like to see climate justice happening in terms of ratification of Kyoto Protocol by developed countries and fulfilling their responsibilities of making clean energy available and accessible to developing countries.
Bhutanese delegation at the summit will also reach a point where both rich and poor countries would agree to cut down emission levels of greenhouse gases. Newspaper Kuensel writes that Bhutanese representatives are confident that, as small as they may be, they have to set a trend. Bhutan pledged to be carbon neutral and also a carbon sink while it emits 2.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) against the sequestration by forests, which is about 6.3 million tonnes of CO2.
It says that “living high up on the young Himalayan Mountains, we are in a fragile eco system. Our ancestors realised that. Therefore, our lakes are sacred, trees have lives and glaciers cannot be disturbed, as the protective spirit would be angered. These beliefs, now proven by science, are passed down for generations, not through science, but through stories, myths and religious teachings.”
Bhutan is already feeling the heat in the form of flash floods, strange pattern of rainfall, new diseases due to fragile ecosystems while it strives to work on adaptation and mitigation measures with the financial aid and technical support from developed nations.
The Pakistani Prime Minister said that his country has minimal contribution to global warming while Pakistan is one of the most vulnerable countries to the impact of climate change, while it looks forward for collective action. Pakistan believes that comprehensive and meaningful climate change agreement must be anchored around the principle of ‘Common but Differentiated Responsibilities’.
It was said that Pakistan is committed to the cause of reducing global emissions through various mitigation initiatives, including promotion of affordable renewable technologies, measures towards energy efficiency, implementation of mass transport systems and expansion of hydro-electricity potential. It sees that Green Climate Fund (GCF) holds the potential to provide a powerful stimulus towards low-carbon and carbon-resilient development solutions.
One of the Nepalese newspapers writes that COP21 in Paris is a great opportunity for Nepal to show what it’s doing to combat climate change. Nepal is the only country in South Asia that has not submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC)—the mandatory document that outlines individual country’s adaption and mitigation measures as a basis for country’s climate commitments. Nepal is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change due to thinning ice cover leading to regular flash floods with increasing and erratic rainfall and uneven temperature rise. Nepalese feel that it should not suffer due to climate change as it has no contribution to this, while it must highlight the unique vulnerabilities of LDCs.
Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on Mountains and Climate linked issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last five years this knowledge sharing portal has become one of the important references for the governments, research institutions, civil society groups and international agencies, those have work and interest in the Himalayas. The Climate Himalaya team innovates on knowledge sharing, capacity building and climatic adaptation aspects in its focus countries like Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Climate Himalaya’s thematic areas of work are mountain ecosystem, water, forest and livelihood. Read>>