Indian perspective of COP25

An interview with Falguni Joshi (CMW member from Gujarat, India

Q1: Can you describe what you/your organisation is working on?

I have been working on environmental issues since 1997, especially strengthening people’s participation in environmental decision-making processes, creating awareness, raising material on environmental issues, disseminating knowledge about climate change among youth in India, through capacity-building training programmes and policy related advocacy work.

I am associated with ParyavaranMitra – an NGO based in Gujarat, India – and initiated a platform “Let’s talk climate action” for spreading climate action awareness. I am also a member of Carbon Market Watch.

Q2: In light of the recent elections, has the returning government in India made any bold (domestic) climate pledges for the future?

In its second term, the current government is very busy dealing with other issues, but smart enough to show public concern for climate change. The government mentioned only a few steps in its NDC which are currently not achievable.

Q3: Are you following the UNFCCC discussions?  If so, is there any part of COP25 that most interests you/your organisation’s work and why?

We are participating in COP but not directly in negotiations, rather trying to explain realities on-the-ground through alternative forums at COP. We are observing the UNFCCC discussions from a distance to link these decisions with possible future actions to real world scenarios.

The positive energy that young people from around the world have brought through their participation on climate issue at COP25, especially by putting pressure to act immediately on the climate emergency through marches has been inspiring.  Their concern for the planet and readiness to take action will give us even more energy to continue our struggle in India.

Q3: Given your understanding of offsetting (under the CDM) in India, is there any confidence that it can work again in the future under the Paris Agreement?  

The CDM – Clean Development Mechanism, largely gave benefits to a selected group of industries – the poor and locally affected vulnerable communities never received the same benefits.  It adversely impacted farmers, the maldharis (herdsmen) and also resulted in biodiversity loss.

Even the renewable energy projects established under carbon market mechanisms failed to deliver the benefits that were promised, for example supporting the livelihoods of local vulnerable communities. Any new mechanisms need significantly better rules if they are to stand a chance of success in the future.

Q4: Hopes for Indian climate ambition?  Is there anything to be hopeful for?

As mentioned earlier, the youth movement is the key factor for future climate action.

The Indian government mentioned steps in enhancing its NDC (national climate pledge under the Paris Agreement)  many of which are not achievable. India is putting good effort towards renewable energy but more incentives are needed for strong participatory grassroot actions. In addition, dependency on coal-based power is still a huge problem to solve in the future in India. Expansion of coal plants are in the planning phase, so the idea of coal ‘phase out’ is still a very distant reality.

This interview was part of December 2019 Watch This here.