South Asia and Beyond

COP28: Challenges And Vulnerabilities

Beginning today, delegates from 200 countries will gather in Dubai for 13 days to take stock of climate change achievements and progress on limiting global temperature rise to below 2 degrees celsius. Some big proposals include ending private financing for coal power plants, which India may find unacceptable, and a complete phase-out of all fossil fuels including oil and gas, which seems impractical.

Prime Minister Modi is in Dubai for COP28, the Conference of Parties to take stock of achievements in climate change and the way forward. He will have a tough fight on his hands as rich countries and those most affected by climate change are pushing for a complete phase-out of coal, oil, and gas.

India relies on coal for over 70% of its electricity generation and any move to phase it out would have disastrous consequences for development. China too relies on coal for 56% of its energy use, while Russia is dependent to the extent of 60%. The UAE which is hosting COP28, is a major exporter of oil and may not take kindly to measures to cap it.

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But India has also moved on the renewable energy front, generating 44% of its energy through renewables such as hydroelectricity, solar and nuclear. He is expected to push the rich countries hard on the issue of climate financing and green technologies for poorer countries.

The US and Europe have promised to put money into a climate damage fund and also mobilise private finance. But they are yet to fulfil an old commitment of $100 bn in climate financing every year for the developing world, a point India will make forcefully.

Climate change negotiations are always difficult given that the priorities of every country are different, the solution lies in finding a compromise that will take the world another step closer to a greener, cleaner planet.