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India brings to fore emission gap between rich, developing nations

A scientific initiative called the ‘Climate Equity Monitor’ was launched on Sunday, with Union environment minister Bhupender Yadav saying that the monitor will encourage discussions on issues related to equity and justice at the ongoing climate negotiations.

On the first day of the Glasgow climate change conference (COP26), India highlighted the large disparity in historical emissions of rich or developed countries and developing countries such as India.

The Climate Change Group at MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) launched the online dashboard to assess equity in climate change mitigation.

“Welcome the scientific initiative, Climate Equity Monitor, (https://t.co/KzqShJ1Ggt) which went live today. Its focus on equity & climate action from a data and evidence-based perspective will encourage vigorous discussion on the crucial issue and engage experts from all nations,” Yadav tweeted on Sunday.

The Climate Equity Monitor has a stark map of carbon credit/debt, which shows that northern countries including the US, Russia, Australia and most European countries have exceeded their fair share of the global carbon budget. Carbon debt, according to the monitor, is the difference between the actual cumulative emissions for a country and its fair share of the global carbon budget already consumed. The values for developed countries clearly indicate their responsibility and the massive carbon debt they owe the world, it states. On the other hand, southern countries including India, China, Africa, South America and others are highlighted in blue, indicating that they have generated credits by consuming less than their fair share.

Fair share of carbon budget is defined as the share of the cumulative emissions based on the share in the global population.

The monitor also has an interactive graph on historical emissions which indicates China followed by US and the EU have the highest historical greenhouse gas emissions, the monitor jointly developed with the Natural Sciences and Engineering department at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) Bengaluru said.

“The Climate Equity Monitor is aimed at monitoring the performance of Annex-I Parties (developed countries) based on the foundational principles of the Climate Convention, namely equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC). The performance and policies of the Non Annex-I Parties (developing countries) will be also provided for comparison,” a statement by the Union environment ministry welcoming the launch of the monitor said. CBDR RC is a principle under UNFCCC which acknowledges different capabilities and differing responsibilities of individual countries in addressing the climate crisis based on their social and economic conditions.

“In keeping with the latest scientific results of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that have underlined the importance of cumulative emissions and carbon budgets, the analysis will be anchored in these two concepts. The equitable sharing of the global carbon budget is the fundamental equity principle that will underpin the assessments that will progressively appear on the website. Existing “tracking” websites on climate policies are based in the global North and routinely do not address the crucial aspects of equity and differentiation. Other websites, according to the researchers, bury the key issues in complexities that are not transparently dealt with,” the ministry said in its statement.

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