Fiinovation Reviews the Paris Pact: Breakthrough or Compromise for India; Buck Stops Where?

Opportunity for Corporations to set their CSR roadmap

After years of sleepless nights sacrificed by the policy makers who have scripted the Climate deal, it was finally inked and accepted by all. Representatives of 195 nations reached an historic accord that will, for the first time, commit nearly every country to lowering planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions to help stave off the most drastic effects of climate change.

On December 12th, 2015, the world received a historic gift. At the Conference of the Parties – 21(COP 21) in Paris, a major international agreement supported by nearly 195 countries was offered. The long term objective is to make the sure global warming stays ”well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

To achieve that ambitious goal, governments pledged to stop the rise in heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions ”as soon as possible”. By some point after 2050, the agreement says, man made emissions should be reduced to a level that forest and oceans can absorb.

But, is it a compromise or a break through for India that’s the big question that needs to be answered which now most of the green activists and think-tanks are putting forward. Despite the fact that, India ensured that the right words like equity & common but differentiated responsibilities are there in many places in the pact, there is no compensation from the historical pollutant. India also got terms like climate justice, sustainable lifestyle and consumption mentioned. However, these are not in operational parts of text so there are no commitment for these things.

Environment Minister Mr Prakash Javadekar, who was India’s head of delegation had endorsed after the adoption of the agreement that the Paris agreement acknowledges and recognises the development imperative of India and other developing nations. He further said that ‘‘give and take was normal in negotiations, we are of the opinion that agreement could have been more ambitious”. He added that ”India in a spirit of compromise agreed on a number of phrases in the pact”.

The sense that can be established from the pact is that, the developing countries like India will remain in constant pressure and have to share more burden to mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions compared to the developed countries. However, what is good about the deal is that the ambitious targets included in the deal for limiting the rise in global temperatures may force companies getting aggressively involved in developing renewable energy technologies and it will boost their spend on more greener & use of sustainable technologies in their activities.

This pact offers an opportunity to the Corporations to invest in the CSR initiatives by investing in the green and environmentally sustainable technologies and help the society reap the benefits from the investment thanks to the CSR mandate recently incorporated in the companies act 2013.

This will not only help them in their brand positioning & building, but they can also expect credible support from the government agencies and stakeholders during the implementation of the project. It will be a win-win situation for them. But, this is to be seen that how companies are looking forward to this deal and the level of commitment that government will exhibit while implementing future policies on the ground.

It is also true that the agreement may make life difficult for some of the incumbent companies like electric utilities and coal producers, whose product emits high levels of carbon dioxide. But, it will be a step forward and closer to achieve the targets set in the Climate deal.

By – Rohit Kaul

Media & Communications Team



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