December 13, 2015

Centre for Science and Environment at COP 21 in Paris

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) registered a strong presence in the COP in terms of its side events, press briefings and presentations. CSE dealt with issues related to renewable energy, energy access, India’s dependence on coal, equity and carbon budget in a pan of 6 days.

Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general of CSE, presented the idea of “Global Renewable Energy and Energy Access Transformation” or GREEAT at the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy side event on energy access. He spoke about the importance of affordability in the future energy system. “Future of energy is decentralized distributed and renewable,” he said at the event. CSE along with Friends of the Earth International and What Next Forum, jointly endorsed the GREEAT programme and released its updated version at a press briefing.

Questioning its dependence on coal, India was being deemed the villain in climate negotiations. CSE, in its press briefing, explained how hypocrite the developed nations were being in its claim. “India is cornered in climate negotiations for using coal as a major fuel in its energy mix despite the fact that the rich developed countries were also doing the same and would continue to do so in the future. It is the best negative argument available against India,” said Bhushan in his presentation titled - Coal, Climate Change and India.

Bhushan emphasized the efforts India was making to reduce its carbon emissions from coal which included strictest strict environmental standards for coal based power, carbon tax and ambitious renewable energy targets. However, the twin challenges of switching to low carbon growth and providing energy access to all was highlighted.

CSE organized a side event in the COP21 at the India Pavilion along with the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change titled ‘Equity and Climate Justice: Operationalising Equity and the Global Carbon Budget.’ The presenter from CSE, Arjuna Srinidhi presented the CSE’s analysis of linking human development index with the carbon space left for the developing world. T. Jayaraman, from Tata Institute of Social Sciences and Josep Xercavins, Professor, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya presented their interpretation of the carbon budget as well. Interestingly, all the three models presented showed a point of convergence in establishing the fact that there needs to be fair distribution of remaining carbon budget and the developing countries including India should be given space for development. The underlying conclusion of the event pushed for the need for an operational mechanism of allocation of carbon budget to be established under the Paris Agreement.

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