The Mirror of Manipur || Fast, Factual and Fearless.

Looking back to the Paris Climate Agreement and beyond


In Manipur’s context, there is hardly any discussion on emerging global issues. On the other hand, there is an observed increase in the use of fossil fuel-based motor vehicles such as diesel-operated vehicles that ply on commercial basis and the source of high emission of pollutants.

By Salam Rajesh

Governments across continents plan to produce more than twice the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 degree Celsius, screams the headline of the Production Gap Report 2021 recently released by the UN Environment Programme, Stockholm Environment Institute, International Institute of Sustainable Development, and others.

The fossil fuel production gap, according to the report, is the ‘difference between global fossil fuel production projected by governments’ plans and those consistent with 1.5°C- and 2°C-warming pathways, as expressed in carbon dioxide emissions released when the extracted fuels are burned’.

The report does not mince words in saying that, “As countries set net-zero emission targets, and increase their climate ambitions under the Paris Agreement, they have not explicitly recognized or planned for the rapid reduction in fossil fuel production that these targets will require. Rather, the world’s governments plan to produce more than twice the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C”.

This explicitly explains how governments across nations have second thoughts on committing to the expressed targets set to be achieved by the year 2030 in order to lessen the threat on possible climate catastrophe unless world leaders commit to a general consensus on fossil fuels reduction amongst several commitments as agreed to at Paris in 2015.

There are already commitments from a few countries to reduce fossil fuels consumption and initiatives are being taken up to go for energy-efficient measures such as conversion to hybrid solar and electric, and replacement of coal with smokeless bamboo charcoal. Several European countries are going in for total replacement of fossil fuel-based vehicles with solar and electric hybrid motor cars by the year 2025 to 2030.

In striking contrast to the global effort in reduction of fossil fuels production and consumption to meet climate targets, the Production Gap Report notes that “Most major oil and gas producers are planning on increasing production out to 2030 or beyond, and several major coal producers are planning on continuing or increasing production”.

This reads as highly capitalist countries, and extractive industries, ignoring global concerns to pursue their profit-for-gain business, as usual, sidestepping the intensive deliberations on climate crises that the world is continuously experiencing with each passing year.

The report states that since its first release in 2019, ‘many governments have announced new, more ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets, including net-zero pledges. While this is a positive development, only a few fossil-fuel-producing countries have begun to grapple with how zeroing out global GHG emissions will affect their future coal, oil, and gas production.

Several countries, including India, Brazil and Australia, are seen as going in for the continuation in oil and gas exploration and exploitation in spite of the growing global concerns on fossil fuel-based extractive industries.

The Government of India had a major plan of tapping oil resources in North East India to meet much of the country’s domestic requirement. In Manipur, the plan was to tap a major oil resource in the Jiribam-Tamenglong-Churachandpur complex which is said to be one of the largest untapped oil reserves in the country, next to Digboi in Assam.

With the world set to phase out fossil fuel-driven motor vehicles by the years 2030 and 2050, countries are going in for experimentation with various non-fossil fuel-based productions. China is said to be experimenting with monorails run on magnetic tracks to do away with fossil fuel engines. Electric motor cars are already hitting the roads in many Scandinavian countries, with governments giving huge subsidies to those going for electric cars. India has also two and three-wheelers run on electricity out in the streets, whereas, the debate is on phasing out the bigger fossil fuel-driven lorries used for long-distance transportation of goods.

Yet, in spite of the urge to go in for alternatives to fossil fuels, the report notes that ‘The production gap is widest for coal in 2030: governments’ production plans and projections would lead to around 240% more coal, 57% more oil, and 71% more gas than would be consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C’.

This reads in the resistance of highly commercialized countries to the conversion to non-fossil fuel-based technology, given the reasoning that they tend to lose out on their commercial activities and businesses once the coal, oil, and gas industries come to a grinding halt.

The climate crisis looks at the overall destruction of forests and other natural landscapes by extractive industries, leading to extensive carbon emissions and influencing greenhouse gas emissions and finally contributing to global warming.

The Paris Climate Agreement leans on the support from all stakeholders to contribute positively on a global scale to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with a set target to achieve net-zero emission by 2030. The reduction in fossil fuel use is one of the major goals envisaged in achieving the Paris Agreement targets.

In Manipur’s context, there is hardly any discussion on emerging global issues. On the other hand, there is an observed increase in the use of fossil fuel-based motor vehicles such as diesel-operated Autorickshaws, Tata Wingers, Tata Magics, Safaris, and lorries that ply on a commercial basis and which are the source of high emission of pollutants.

There is absolutely no monitoring and checking mechanism of the State to control offensive vehicles, nor is there a state policy to replace aging motor vehicles with hybrid solar and electric vehicles by providing subsidy and other incentives to encourage owners to go for the new non-fossil fuel based motor vehicles. The State’s initiative can be local effort in addressing global concerns.

Wrapping up on its findings, the report lists out the countries that are ignoring global concerns and going in for further pursuance on fossil fuels production. These countries are India, Canada, Brazil, Australia, China, Germany, United States of America, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom.

(The writer is a media professional working on environmental issues. He can be contacted at [email protected])

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