Dr T Jayaraman, Senior Fellow – Climate Change with M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), spoke on COP27: Overview and Assessments atSambasivan Auditorium, MSSRF Chennai, on December 13, 2022. It was a hybrid seminar with over 75 persons in attendance from all over the country. He was one of the official delegates negotiators from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, to COP27.
He unpacked the negotiations at Sharm El-Sheikh COP27 in Egypt, along with some contestations underlying a few key decisions as well as outcomes. Speaking in particular on the issue of equity as it arose at COP27, he outlined some major debates on mitigation and adaptation among global North and South, while also discussing negotiations relating to finance, carbon budgets, agriculture, fossil fuels and emissions.
Dr Jayaraman outlined India’s submission of long-term low-carbon development strategy declaring net-zero by 2070, and the updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted in August 2022. He emphasised the country’s stand on climate equity and that mitigation is not an invitation to developed countries for ‘free-riding’. “Pro-active low-carbon innovation and development is not a choice but a necessity,” he stated, “and carbon transition in a developing country context is not immediate de-carbonisation, rather transition to low-carbon pathways of development.”
At COP27, there was push to move away from a mitigation-centric agenda and towards an equitable world, while moving forward on implementation and climate action. “This is more challenging for developing countries,” Dr Jayaraman acknowledged, “but with demanding that developed countries take responsibility, pressure on the Third World bio-resources will reduce.”
Climate loss and damage came out strongly during COP27 negotiations, and so did climate financing inequalities – all critical to enhance mitigation action for developing countries. “Onus is now on multilateral development banks and international financial institutions to mobilise public funding to tackle global climate emergencies,” he observed, adding “Nature-based solutions are being looked upon as an ecosystem-based approach to mitigation and adaption, but ‘sustainable use’ of natural resources needs more attention, especially for agricultural-dependent countries like India that has millions of small-holder farmers facing climate risks.”
The Climate Change programme functions as a cross-cutting theme across several programme areas of the Foundation. The primary vision of the climate change programme is to widen the scope of research on climate change and sustainability to a more integrated trans-disciplinary view and promote science-driven, inclusive and integrated solutions. With a strong interdisciplinary focus, and guided by commitment to equity and climate justice, the climate change programme generates knowledge and policy outputs aimed at policy influencers and policymakers at the State and Central Government level. The programme also designs interventions to address the needs of the poor and marginalised communities by leveraging the existing capacities at MSSRF.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.