Witness Protection Scheme, 2018


A new assessment by the United Nations (UN) climate body indicates that the developed nations are doing ‘nowhere near enough’ to help the developing or the poorest countries cope with climate change.


  • In a first-of-its-kind assessment by the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the report shows that the developed nations are falling way short of even their modest emission reduction targets for 2020.
  • Considerable gap: There is a considerable gap between nations’ current preparedness for climate change and the actual measures needed to get communities ready for a future of increasing climate challenges and risks.
  • Inadequate funding: While low- and middle-income countries have shown steady progress, catching up with wealthier nations in their ability to adapt “will take many decades” unless help (funding)increases.
  • The report noted that funding flows for adaptation are “significantly lower” than the needs outlined in national action plans.


    • As part of the Paris Agreement of Climate Change, developed countries promised to raise $100 billion a year by 2020 to help the poorest ones, either by providing money directly or persuading private companies to contribute.
    • When it comes to providing support in form of funds, to the developing nations, rich industrialized countries are nowhere close to the promised minimum of $100 billion a year by 2020. The financial support by developed countries reached $49.4 billion in 2016.
    • The report shows that developed countries had reduced their emissions by 16 percent from their 1990 levels by the year 2016.
    • But a rise in emissions after that has meant that by the year 2020, the emission levels were expected to be only 11.4 percent below the 1990 levels, well short of their collective target of 18 percent.
    • At various times, developed countries have made optimistic claims about the money that has already started to flow in.
    • In 2015, a report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) claimed that nearly $62 billion in climate finance had flown in until the previous year.
    • In response to it, India had put out a discussion paper saying a more credible figure was just $2.2 billion.
    • The report states that financial support increased by 13% between 2013-14 and 2015-16 reporting periods.


  • Developing countries which have limited or fewer resources to cut carbon emissions and adapt to climate change cannot step up their efforts to combat global warming unless they get more support in the form of funding and technology.
  • Though India will deliver on what it has promised to do under the 2015 Paris Agreement by boosting renewable energy production, expanding forest cover, and generating fewer emissions in relation to its gross domestic product (GDP).
  • India is on its track to achieve two of the three targets well ahead of a 2030 deadline, but it faces challenges in doing so.
  • India met a 2020 goal of installing 20 gigawatts (GW) of solar power 4 years early, and it is now aiming for 100 gigawatts by 2022, making the country one of the world’s most ambitious adopters.
  • But as different nations around the world try to move toward a common goal of reducing emissions, “everybody is not similarly placed” in their ability to make those cuts.


  • Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are reaching the highest levels on record.
  • Emissions remained largely flat between 2014 and 2016, leading to hopes that the world was beginning to turn a corner.
  • Those hopes appear to have been dashed as in 2017, global emissions grew 1.6 percent.
  • In 2018, the rise is projected to be 2.7 percent.


  • India with 18 percent of the world’s population has a disproportionately high 26 percent of the global premature deaths and diseases burden due to air pollution.
  • Contributing to deaths: One in eight deaths was attributable to air pollution in the country in 2017, which contributed 12.4 lakh deaths due to air pollution last year that included 6.7 lakh deaths due to outdoor particulate matter (PM) and 4.8 lakh deaths due to household air pollution.
  • Extreme exposure: In 2017, 77 percent population was exposed to ambient PM2.5 above the recommended limit by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
  • Beach pollution, added to the list: In addition to air and water pollution, the country added one more category to its pollution worries that are “beach pollution”. In a study, it is found that plastic litter from tourism alone accounted for 40 to 96 percent of all beach litter.


  • The targets for the developed countries for the pre-2020 period are governed by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and they will expire in 2020, after which the Paris Agreement will take over.
  • In the Kyoto framework, only the developed countries, responsible for the overwhelming majority of emissions over the last 150 years, were assigned specific emission reduction targets.
  • However, in the Paris agreement, no country is assigned any target and every country decide for its own the climate actions it wants to take.


  • The pre-2020 climate regime puts the onus of reducing greenhouse gas emissions on developed industrialized nations, with poor developing countries taking on voluntary efforts.
  • The regime also requires developed or rich countries to provide poor developing countries with financial and technological support to tackle climate change and its impacts.
  • Developing countries have been calling for a greater focus on the pre-2020 period.


  • The 24th Conference of the Parties (COP)to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has already kicked off two weeks (2-14 December 2018) in Poland.
  • It is taking place after the landmark 2015 Paris deal to shift away from fossil fuels.
  • It is attended by delegates from around the world and it is a very, very important conference as it takes place in a scenario, where the world has clear signals about the urgency with which it needs to address the issues of climate change.
  • The UNFCCC is a “Rio Convention”, one of three adopted at the “Rio Earth Summit” in 1992. The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994
  • The countries that have ratified the Convention are called Parties to the Convention. The ultimate aim to UNFCCC is to prevent “dangerous” human interference with the climate system.
  • TheCOPis the supreme body of the UNFCCC Convention, it holds its sessions every year and takes decisions which are necessary to ensure the effective implementation of the provisions of the Convention and regularly reviews the implementation of these provisions.


The release of this report, at this point, assumes significance as it comes at a time when there are growing demands for countries to step up their climate efforts in view of the recent reports that at the current pace of emissions, the world would end up getting more warmers by more than 3 degree Celsius above pre-industrial period. The report has also strengthened the voice of the developing nations, who for long have been pointed out that the developed countries are not doing enough to save the environment. The report is a proof that the world has kind of reached the maximum limit now and it is required for countries to come up with something more creative, more ambitious, stronger and bolder to reduce the carbon emissions and decrease the unbearable rising of pollution levels.

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