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EUROPEAN UNION’S CLIMATE CHANGE PLAN WORK

Context:

After the European Union became a “strategic partner” of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc in December 2020, both blocs pledged to make climate change policy a key area of cooperation.

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Climate Change, Conservation of the Environment, Pollution control and Management, Important Agreements and Treaties for Environmental Conservation)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About EUs Assistance to Southeast Asia regarding Climate Change
  2. Southeast Asia’s coal-powered economies
  3. India’s Coal Imports
  4. European Green Deal
  5. Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+)

About EUs Assistance to Southeast Asia regarding Climate Change

  • The EU has earmarked millions of euros for supporting climate friendly development in Southeast Asia but, the EU’s climate diplomacy in the region is up against economic growth fueled by dirty energy.
  • After the European Union became a “strategic partner” of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc in December 2020, both blocs pledged to make climate change policy a key area of cooperation.
  • The EU, already the largest provider of development assistance to the ASEAN region, has committed millions of euros to various environmental programs.
  • This includes €5 million ($5.86 million) to the ASEAN Smart Green Cities initiative and another €5 million towards a new means of preventing deforestation, called the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade in ASEAN.
  • Along with multilateral assistance, the EU also works with individual ASEAN member states on eco-friendly policies like Thailand’s Bio-Circular-Green Economic Model and Singapore’s Green Plan 2030.
  • Problems Faced by the EU in Southeast Asia are that the Region’s environmental policy as Southeast Asia is going in the wrong direction in many areas on climate change. Also, 5 ASEAN states were among the fifteen countries most affected by climate change between 1999–2018, according to the Climate Risk Index 2020.

Southeast Asia’s coal-powered economies

  • Southeast Asia’s energy demand is projected to grow 60% by 2040 and this will contribute to a two-thirds rise in CO2 emissions to almost 2.4 gigatons, according to the Southeast Asia Energy Outlook 2019.
  • Southeast Asia is one of the few areas of the world where coal usage has increased in the past decade. In 2019, the region consumed nearly double the consumption from a decade earlier, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
  • Indonesia accounted for 42% and Vietnam nearly a third of the Southeast Asian coal consumption and in 2019, the region’s imports of thermal coal rose by 19% compared with the previous year, according to an IEA report.
  • Energy generated from coal doubled in the Philippines between 2011 and 2018, when it accounted for 53% of energy consumption.
  • Coal is expected to account for more than 50% of Vietnam’s energy supply by 2030.
  • If the EU takes a strong forceful stance on coal consumption in the region, it could spark anger from the main exporters of the commodity, China, India and Australia.

Big money in dirty energy

  • If the EU takes a strong forceful stance on coal consumption in the region, it could spark anger from the main exporters of the commodity, China, India and Australia.
  • In 2020, Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil producer, initiated proceedings at the World Trade Organization against the EU’s phased ban on palm-oil imports. Malaysia, the world’s second-largest palm oil producer, has vowed to stand with Indonesia in its battle against the EU.
  • The EU also risks accusations of hypocrisy if it takes too forceful a stance on coal-fired energy production in Southeast Asia. Though production and consumption of coal have dropped massively in the EU in recent decades, Poland and the Czech Republic remain dependent on coal-fired energy production.

India’s Coal Imports

  • Coal is among the top five commodities imported by India, the world’s largest consumer, importer and producer of the fuel.
  • India imported more than 50 million tonnes of coking coal in 2019 (slightly lesser compared to 2018).
  • Imports of thermal coal — mainly used for power generation — jumped more than 12 % in 2019.
  • However, imports of coking coal — used mainly in the manufacturing of steel — fell marginally, following two straight years of increase, government data showed.
  • While higher coal imports may be bad news for the Indian government, they benefit international miners.
Dry Bulk Market: India's Coal Imports in 2019 | Hellenic Shipping News  Worldwide

European Green Deal

  • The European Green Deal is a set of policy initiatives by the European Commission with the overarching aim of making Europe climate neutral in 2050.
  • An impact assessed plan will also be presented to increase the EU’s greenhouse gas emission reductions target for 2030 to at least 50% and towards 55% compared with 1990 levels.
  • The plan is to review each existing law on its climate merits, and also introduce new legislation on the circular economy, building renovation, biodiversity, farming and innovation.
  • The EU became the first major emitter to agree to the 2050 climate neutrality target laid down in the Paris Agreement.

Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+)

  • The Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+) is a European Union initiative designed to help the world’s most vulnerable countries address climate change.
  • The GCCA/GCCA+ acts as a platform for dialogue and exchange of experience between the EU and developing countries on climate policy and on practical approaches to integrate climate change into development policies and budgets with discussions taking place at global, regional and national levels.
  • The GCCA/GCCA+ also provides technical and financial support to partner countries to integrate climate change into their development policies and budgets, and to implement projects that address climate change on the ground, promoting climate-resilient, low-emission development.
  • Between its founding in 2008 and 2019, it had funded over 70 projects of national, regional and worldwide scope in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific. The initiative helps mainly SIDS and LDCs.
  • The GCCA+ also supports these group of countries in implementing their commitments resulting from the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change (COP21), in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the new European Consensus on Development.

-Source: Indian Express

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