Mains Q & A 14 January 2023
Q1. Recent developments in India and the United States’ comprehensive global strategic cooperation have primarily focused on trade and the environment. Discuss. (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS II International Relations
When the history of the twenty-first century is written, India and the United States, as well as the strategic alliance they forge, will be prominently represented. Shared strategic interests will suffer if India and the U.S. are unable to adopt coordinated trade and climate policies together. Additionally, a stronger front would be created against China, which wants to control these fields.
Advancements in bilateral trade recently:
There are promising signs that the rechartering of the Trade Policy Forum has made the bilateral trade relationship between India and the USA a priority.
India is settling WTO disagreements. The USA can find synergy, starting with a settlement of their disputes in the World Trade Organization (WTO) over solar panels.
China has successfully dominated the global market because to their hesitation in pursuing and resolving disputes at the WTO, which has forced everyone to rely on a source they view as a threat.
Strategic convergence must point the way forward in this case.
Energy relations: The two countries could also take a path that encourages trade in temporary energy sources like ethanol.
Think about starting small with the simplest conflicts to settle and working your way up to more significant ones. For instance, steel and aluminium tariffs
Defense Industry: The US requests more significant adjustments to India’s defence offsets programme as well as higher FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) limitations in the sector.
Developments in the India-USA climate relationship recently:
The two nations are collaborating on the Climate and Clean Energy Agenda Partnership; John Kerry, the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, has already made two trips to India.
India and the USA launched the “Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue (CAFMD)”. The Leaders’ Summit on Climate in April 2021 saw the announcement of the India-U.S. Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 cooperation, which has two tracks, one of which is the CAFMD.
Together, the US and India will instal 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030.
Currently, it is predicted that India’s installed electricity capacity would reach 476 GW by 2021–2022, and that it will rise to at least 817 GW by 2030.
One of the key venues for US-India cooperation will be the Partnership, which will prioritise promoting urgent climate action during this important decade.
The US and India want to demonstrate through this collaboration how the international community can balance swift climate action with inclusive and robust economic growth while taking local conditions and sustainable development priorities into account.
The commercial distribution of cutting-edge technology and products for carbon mitigation and adaptation to the carbon emissions linked to worldwide mobility of people and things are just a few of the ways that trade and climate are interlinked. If governments, particularly those in India and the United States, coordinate their policies to stimulate the flow of climate-related technologies and synchronise their goals for decreasing emissions related to trade, the relationship between climate change and trade can generally be favourable.
Q2. Considering India’s ambitions for equitable development, is it possible to realise its ambitious goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2070 and other promises made at the COP-26 meeting in Glasgow? critically evaluate (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS III Environmental Conservation related issues
India claimed that it would achieve carbon neutrality by 2070 as part of a five-point action plan that includes reducing emissions by 50% by 2030. India made this pledge and urged wealthy nations to carry out their obligations to fund the battle against climate change at the Conference of the Parties (COP) 26 climate summit in Glasgow.
India’s performance in terms of contributions that are nationally determined:
At the Paris Agreement’s fifth anniversary, India was the only G20 nation to have complied with it (December 2020).
India has continuously ranked among the top 10 nations on the Climate Change Performance Index for the past two years.
Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All is the largest zero-subsidy LED bulb programme in the world for domestic consumers (UJALA).
India assisted in the founding of the International Solar Alliance, a confederation of countries with a wealth of solar energy resources, as well as the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.
Will India achieve carbon neutrality by 2070?
Exceeding the NDC pledge: According to reports and documents, India is on track to meet and go above and above the NDC goal to achieve 40% installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based sources by 2030.
In comparison to the voluntary declaration calling for a reduction of 20% to 25% by 2020, India’s GDP emission intensity decreased by 24% between 2005 and 2016.
More importantly, we accomplished these objectives by 2015 with only roughly 2% of the US$100 billion allocated to developing nations in Copenhagen (2009) coming to pass.
With a target of 175 GW of capacity by 2022 and 450 GW by 2030, India is creating one of the most extensive programmes for the expansion of renewable energy.
Investment in green initiatives: As part of the fiscal stimulus package following the pandemic, the government announced a number of green initiatives, including: a $26.5 billion investment in biogas and cleaner fuels; $3.5 billion in incentives for the manufacture of effective solar photovoltaic (PV) and advanced chemistry cell batteries; and $780 million for a programme to encourage afforestation.
India’s contribution to global emissions is far less than its fair share of the global carbon budget under every equity criteria.
India has challenges in achieving carbon neutrality:
Given the situation of the world today, any selfless commitment to become carbon neutral would be a useless gesture that would transfer the burden from the developed world to the people of India.
India faces a significant challenge in terms of low-carbon growth and climate change adaptation, which unquestionably necessitates decisive, well-coordinated action.
India’s plan to eventually reach net-zero emissions depends on both large reductions in first-world emissions and a sufficient and well-defined global carbon budget.
Any attempt to restrict India’s options and drive it into a low-development trap based on fictions that pass for science must be rejected.
According to a report by the Council on Energy, Environment, and Waters titled The Implications of a Net-zero Target for India’s Sectoral Energy Transitions and Climate Policy, the country’s installed solar power capacity must increase to more than 5,600 gigawatts in order for India to achieve net-zero by 2070.
India will need to consume 99% less coal by 2060, mostly for the generation of energy, in order to achieve net-zero emissions by 2070.
By 2050, all sectors’ crude oil consumption would need to have peaked, followed by a sharp reduction of 90% from 2050 to 2070.
Green hydrogen must provide 19% of the entire energy needs of the industrial sector.
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