Paris climate accord: The emission issue that was left untouched

Time: 2018-12-19
NEW DELHI: The 200 signatories to the historic Paris climate accord may have agreed to a “rulebook” on tracking efforts to curb emissions at the COP24 meet last week in Poland. But there was little talk on countries actually ratcheting up emissions control. Global temperatures are headed for a 3 degree Celsius rise from pre-industrial levels although scientists have warned that anything above 1.5 degrees would be disastrous. In fact, 2018 saw an increase in CO2 emissions, largely due to coal and oil. A look at the top emitters, where they are and where they need to be underlines the challenge. 

UNITED STATES

Donald Trump has said he’s taking US out of the Paris accord and is dismantling green regulations introduced by Barack Obama, his predecessor. US looks like falling well short of its pledge, which means it will find it progressively tougher to effect emissions cuts. 

EUROPEAN UNION 

The 28-country bloc has taken some decisive actions to curb emissions. But challenges remain. While countries like Britain and the Netherlands seek to phase out coal power, Poland, which hosted the COP24 meet, is building new coal plants. 


CHINA

The country pledged that emissions would peak around 2030 and it would get 20% of its energy from non-fossil sources. China appears on track to hit that target as it is investing heavily in renewables and now sells more electric cars and buses than the rest of the world combined. But experts said the country, which saw a rise in CO2 emissions in 2018, would have to significantly ramp up emissions control for the world to keep below 2 degrees of warming. 

INDIA

With low per capita emissions as compared with the developed world, India has insisted that the wealthier countries should effect curbs to match their emission levels. The country now looks like it could surpass those goals given the falling cost of solar power and its focus on other renewable sources. 

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