COP16 - National and international policy responses to the carbon budget approach: An Indian perspective
Following on from TERI's highly successful side events at COP14 and COP15, this year's event presented research that focused on new scenarios of the carbon budget approach and the implications that this had on country reduction commitments. TERI presented its research paper on new scenarios of the carbon budget approach and their implications on national capacity to execute effective mitigation strategies. The side event deliberated upon the relevance of, and challenges in operationalizing the carbon budget approach, in relation to the limitations of domestic financial capabilities of India to remain within the available carbon budget for the next four decades. It also focused on the significance of various levels of international support that would be needed, along with the corresponding policy regimes required to facilitate this support.
The event was well attended where approximately 80-100 participants attended the opening address by TERI's Director General, Dr R K Pachauri, on the role that TERI has played in being one of the early developers of the carbon budget approach, and how in going forward in the current negotiations, any future climate change agreement must be enshrined in the principles of equity. Dr Ritu Mathur from TERI presented the paper entitled "National and international policy responses to the carbon budget approach: an Indian perspective," initially highlighting TERI's previous work on carbon budget entitlements under various reduction scenarios, and then focusing on what a 2°C scenario allocation for India from 2010 till 2050 would mean, with respect to specific mitigation strategies. The financial implications of the carbon budget on the energy and transport sector were emphasized, showing that over $14 trillion of additional investment would be required over a 40-year period to meet India's carbon allocation. The presentation then went on to show the Government of India's domestic financing capability to meet such mitigation costs, and showed that even with conservative projections on current domestic expenditure within the energy sector, significant external support would be needed to leverage the required financial requirements. The presentation advocated for a "World Climate Debt Fund", which would be based on Annex 1 compensation of spent carbon budget allocations, based on various base-years and carbon prices as a means of possibly meeting this shortfall.
A learned panel provided valuable comments on the presentation. Max Åhman from the Nordic Ad Hoc Group on Climate Change (NOAK), spoke on the importance of domestic policy frameworks as a means of prioritizing external support, with TERI's study showing one way of articulating such domestic needs. Masanori Kobayashi from Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) echoed the importance of the power sector and presented results of a study, which looked at energy efficiency potential in India, China, and Japan. He went on to raise questions of international acceptance of the carbon budget approach, stressing on the importance of socio-political feasibility. Remi Moncel from the World Resources Institute (WRI), rated the carbon budget approach across several parameters relating to effective climate change policy and highlighted its strengths in relation to equity and ambition. He also stressed that it could struggle to gain political feasibility with parties, thereby limiting its overall effectiveness. At the conclusion of the event, considerable interest was generated in the research paper with copies being in high demand throughout the two weeks.