On a mission: US special envoy for climate John Kerry is visiting India to push for higher climate ambitions ahead of the US-led Leaders’ Summit on Climate to be held later this month | Photo: The Indian Express

Kerry in India: US climate envoy talks climate finance with Javadekar

US special envoy for climate John Kerry met environment minister Prakash Javadekar during the former’s four-day visit to India this week. Javadekar tweeted the two discussed ‘a range of issues including climate finance’ during the meeting. This is Kerry’s first visit to India as his country’s special envoy for climate change. 

His visit aims to push India to increase its climate ambitions ahead of US President Biden’s Leaders’ Summit on Climate to be held on April 22-23. Biden invited 40 world leaders to attend the virtual summit on the climate crisis. The Narendra Modi government is facing increasing pressure from the US and the UK to commit to a net zero by 2050 target, despite the country’s per capita emissions being considerably lower than its western counterparts and China. India is concerned that committing to such a target would restrict the energy needs of its citizens, especially those who belong to the poorer strata of society. 

Centre restricts state govts from issuing additional directions in forest matters

In yet another move to centralise power over issues related to forest and wildlife conservation, the Modi government limited the role of state governments in matters regarding clearance of infrastructure projects in these regions. In a letter dated March 22, the Union environment ministry restricted all state governments from imposing additional environmental or conservation directions other than those specified by the Centre while granting environmental clearances for such projects. 

The central government, however, allowed state governments to impose additional directions for ‘exceptional situations’, but with prior approval from the former. The clarification was issued after the Odisha government asked for a site-specific wildlife management plan with regards to a mining project.   

Biden’s $2 trillion infra plan aims to tackle growing climate crisis

The US’ new $2 trillion infrastructure plan aims to address the climate crisis, president Joe Biden said. The plan, also known as the American Jobs plan, is designed to boost investments in clean energy, electric vehicles and building climate resilient homes. The president said the plan provides tax incentives that will make electric vehicles affordable for citizens. It will also help workers find jobs in the clean energy sector, he added. 

World Bank to revise climate policy, but no mention of halting funding for fossil fuels

The World Bank (WB) revised its climate policy to align with efforts to limit global warming. The revision does not include halting the funding of fossil fuel projects, a draft bank presentation as seen by Reuters revealed. The draft mentions the WB’s sister organisations – the International Finance Corporation and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency – will align 85% of their direct financing with the Paris Agreement by July 2023, and 100% by July 2025. 

The draft did not, however, include any commitments to stop investments in oil and coal projects or the gradual phasing out of natural gas projects. The draft has not been finalised yet and is still to be approved by the WB’s board.

UK commits to pushing rich nations to scale up adaptation finance 

The UK pledged to push for additional finance support for nations vulnerable to climate change at the upcoming G7 meeting. The announcement – made at a virtual summit that included ministers from developing and donor countries – comes after the country was criticised for making cuts to foreign aid. The UK, which will host the meeting in June, said fulfilling the promise to secure $100 billion a year to help developing nations tackle climate change was “vital”.

Stalemate over 2030 target delays passing of EU’s climate law 

The EU once again failed to reach an agreement over the terms of its European Climate Law. In a fifth round of negotiations, the EU Council and members of parliament made little progress, the main point of contention being the 2030 climate target. Experts said half the EU countries do not support the net target approach as it is not precise enough. 

The member states expressed their frustration at the lack of progress considering the growing pressure to pass the law by mid-April. If members don’t reach an agreement, the EU is likely to attend the US leaders’ climate summit without a confirmed 2030 target.

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