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International Political Game of Climate Change


UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) is holding 20th COP (Conference of Parties) from 1st to 10th December, 2014 at Lima in Peru. Political pundits of environment and environmentalists across the globe are keenly watching the outcome of this COP20. When Kyoto Protocol was adopted at COP3 of UNFCCC at Kyoto in 1997, there was lot of optimism among those who were concerned about climate change. However, this optimism could not be converted into reality even after more than one and half decade as some countries that are responsible for heavy historical as well as current emission of GHG (green house gas) were not agreed to abide by at least in action the emission reduction targets fixed based on common but differentiated principle. Even after raising the global concerns by environmentalists across the globe about climate change, those countries that are mainly responsible for climate change due heavy emission of GHG after industrial revolution were not interested much in mitigation activities, sometimes even denying the science of global warming and climate change and man made contribution to same. However, after witnessing a number of climate change led disasters across the globe in last one decade, now every country has accepted the threat of climate change. But still, most of the countries individually or in groups are busy in consolidating their own positions against the climate negotiations to serve their own economic and other interests at the cost of climate change rather than cooperating at global level to fight against it. Developed countries are of the opinion that they have developed climate change related technologies for mitigation as well as adaptation after putting a lot of investment and hard work, then why should not they reap the benefits of the same by charging high premium on these technologies when they are in great demand due to compulsion aroused out of climate change. On the other hand developing and least developing nations are of opinion that this problem has been created by developed countries due to their excessive GHG emission due to their past and present industrial activities and they should take the responsibility of corrective action. Accordingly countries individually or in groups are trying to influence the doctrine of climate negotiations to their advantage. However, concerted efforts of all the countries in varied degree would be required to address this issue.


 There are three pronged ways to tackle climate change, one is mitigation, and other is adaptation and third is mitigation and adaptation combined. If capability and venerability is put together, then countries can be grouped in three categories as developed, developing, least developing and island countries based on their capabilities, required responses and actions. All the countries should allocate their resources towards mitigation and adaptation based on their technical and financial capabilities, and threat perception of climate change. Developed countries that are technically and financially sound should first focus on mitigation activities, and their second priority should be on those activities which are mitigative as well as adaptive in nature. Allocating the resources for only adaptation by developed countries should be their last priority as most of the developing countries have adequate adaptive infrastructure already in place, and moreover, furthermore creation of adaptive infrastructure could further aggravate climate change and put more burden on least developing countries and island nations, and developing countries.  Similarly, developing country with moderate technical and financial resources should first focus on combined mitigation and adaptation activities, then on adaptation and finally mitigation activities. The least developed countries who have least technical and financial resources and island nations who are most vulnerable should first focus on adaptation, then on combined mitigation and adaptation activities, and finally on mitigation activities as they are most vulnerable to scourge of climate change.  


Efficient use of energy and its conservation, modest use of energy in lifestyle, use of clean energy, forestation, climate resilient crops and seeds, energy efficient and climate resilient housing etc are some of the viable options that can address the issue of climate change mitigation and adaptation. However, for least developing countries and developing countries, major barriers for addressing these issues are availability of technology and finance which is abundantly available with developed countries. So, if this global menace of climate change is to be fought collectively, then developed countries should come forward and generously assist developing and least developing countries by providing technical assistance for capcity building, adequate technologies and attractive finances rather than charging exorbitantly high premium on technology. And developed countries should more focus on use of renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation and modest use of energy in lifestyle. If mitigation activities are not implemented timely, GHG and specially CO2 will be charged in atmosphere and ocean for longer duration and will remain for a longer period in atmosphere to increse global temperature on sustained basis. Time is running very fast and countries need to build up consensus on the priciples of common and differentiated action without taking climate negotiation further in quagmire of international political game from where there is no solution. Though it is late, but not too late to act upon mitigation action so that this beautiful planet could be saved from scourge of climate change. Let's hope that something concrete comes out from Lima.



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