Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

  • The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) that were in place from 2000 to 2015 were replaced by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) with the aim of guiding the international community and national governments on a pathway towards sustainable development for the next fifteen years.
  • A new set of 17 SDGs and 169 targets were adopted by the world governments in 2015.
  • The SDGs are effective from January 2016 and will end in 2030.One of the core elements of the outcome document of the SDGs was an effective follow-up and review architecture which is crucial for supporting the implementation of the new agenda.
  • Taking leads from its progress on the MDGs, India will have to prioritize its SDGs, as it will be difficult to target each goal.



Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC)

  • INDCs are plans by governments communicated to the UNFCCC regarding the steps they will take to address climate change domestically.
  • As per the COP 19 decision (Warsaw 2013), all Parties were requested to prepare their INDCs and communicate them well in advance of COP 21.
  • Accordingly, India submitted its INDC to the UNFCCC on 2 October 2015.
  • India’s INDC is comprehensive and covers all elements, i.e. adaptation, mitigation, finance, technology and capacity building. It also covers concerns to protect the vulnerable sectors and segments of its society.
  • The principle of equity and CBDR, historical responsibilities and India’s development imperatives and enhanced adaptation requirements have been recurring themes in the INDC document.


Important points in India’s INDC:

  • To reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 per cent of the 2005 level by 2030.
  • To achieve about 40 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel- based energy resources by 2030 with the help of transfer of technology and low cost international finance including from the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
  • To create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent (CO2eq.) through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

Multilateral Climate Funds

  • International climate funds can either be multilateral or bilateral depending on the participating countries.
  • Funds may further be classified according to their area of focus, namely mitigation , adaptation or REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation).
  • Currently, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is the largest, with pledges amounting to US$10.2 billion.
  • The second largest is the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) with pledges amounting to US$5.3 billion.
  • The GCF was established as an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the UNFCCC in 2011 and is expected to be a major channel for climate finance from developed to developing countries.


International Carbon Markets

  • The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), created multilaterally under the UNFCCC is one of the mitigation instruments under the Kyoto Protocol. Lack of mitigation ambition in the pre-2020 period has slowed its momentum.
  • Moreover, low ambition for emissions reductions expressed by developed countries under the Kyoto Protocol and some major players pulling out of Kyoto Protocol has further suppressed the demand for certified emissions reduction (CER) credits. At present, the CDM is facing its most severe crisis since it was set up a decade ago.
  • In addition to the multilateral market-based mechanisms, many regional and national market mechanisms are under implementation.
  • There are at least 19 major emissions-trading schemes under implementation at national and regional levels across the world. The major regional emissions-trading scheme currently under implementation is the European Union Emission Trading System (EU ETS).


Domestic Actions on Climate Change

  • A major component of India’s domestic actions against climate change is the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC).
  • In addition to the existing eight missions under NAPCC, some new missions would be added.
  • Considering the adverse impacts that climate change could have on health, a new Mission on Climate Change and Health is currently under formulation and a National Expert Group on Climate Change and Health has been constituted.
  • The National Mission on Coastal Areas (NMCA) will prepare an integrated coastal resource management plan and map vulnerabilities along the entire (nearly 7000-km-long) shoreline.

National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change

  • A National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) has been established with a budget provision of Rs.350 crore for the year 2015-2016 and 2016-2017.
  • It is meant to assist in meeting the cost of national- and state-level adaptation measures in areas that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

Progress on the Renewable Energy Front in India

  • India is currently undertaking the largest renewable capacity expansion programme in the world.
  • The total renewable energy capacity target has been increased to 175GW by the year 2022, out of which 100GW is to be from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from biomass and 5 GW from small hydro power projects.
  • The Indian Prime Minister launched the International Solar Alliance (ISA) at COP 21 in Paris on 30 November 2015.
  • The ISA will provide a special platform for mutual cooperation among 121 solar-resource-rich countries lying fully or partially between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.
  • Another ambitious programme of the government is the Development of Solar Cities Programme under which 56 solar cities projects have been approved. The government has also approved a scheme for setting up 25 solar parks, each with the capacity of 500 MW and above, and ultra-mega solar power projects to be developed in the next five years in various states.
  • Another major renewable energy policy initiative is the National Offshore Wind Energy Policy 2015 to help in offshore wind energy development, including setting up of offshore wind power projects and research and development activities in waters, in or adjacent to the country, up to the seaward distance of 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the country from the base line.



The Paris Agreement

  • The Paris Agreement at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by 195 nations in Paris in December 2015 sets a roadmap for all nations in the world to take actions against climate change in the post-2020 period.
  • This universal agreement will succeed the Kyoto Protocol.
  • The agreement reflects the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC), in the light of different national circumstances.
  • The Paris Agreement aims at keeping the rise in global temperatures well below 2°C.
  • The new agreement seeks to follow a country-driven approach (bottom-up approach) with the contribution by each country to the global fight against climate change determined at national level.


Key Provisions of the Paris Agreement


  • The principle of CBDR-RC has been applied across all the important pillars of the agreement (mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, capacity building and transparency of action and support). This was one of the contentious issues between developed and developing countries during the negotiations.
  • The developed countries argue for deeper cuts by India and China despite the fact that they have historically contributed less to the global emission of greenhouse gases.



  • The Paris Agreement invites Parties to submit their first nationally determined contributions prior to the submission of their instruments of ratification, accession, or approval of the Agreement.
  • However, this requirement stands satisfied if a Party has already communicated its INDC prior to joining the Agreement.



  • To achieve the long-term temperature goal of holding temperature increase to below 2°C, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, Parties in the Agreement aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible.



  • Given the trends in global warming, even if the temperature rise is restricted to below 2°C, adaptation support would be required for developing countries like India.
  • The agreement establishes the global goal on adaptation – of enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change.



  • The agreement sets a binding obligation on developed countries to provide financial resources to developing countries for both mitigation and adaptation while encouraging other countries to provide support on a voluntary basis.
  • The decision also sets a new collective quantified goal from a floor of US$ 100 billion per year prior to 2025, taking into account the needs and priorities of developing countries.


Technology Development and Transfer

  • The Paris Agreement contains strengthened provision on technology development and transfer with a new technology framework being established.
  • The emphasis on R&D and innovation in the Paris Agreement is a critical step in furthering the implementation of the provisions of the Convention.



  • The transparency mechanism of action and support under the UNFCCC was differentiated for developed and developing countries.
  • The information provided by the developed countries in their National Communications, Biennial Reports (BR), etc. is subject to international assessment and review (IAR) while that provided by developing countries in their National Communications and Biennial Update Reports (BUR) is subject to international consultation and analysis (ICA).


Global stocktake

  • The agreement also establishes a framework for global stocktake to assess the collective action towards achieving the long-term goals mentioned in the Agreement. The first stocktake is slated for 2023.
  • The Paris Agreement will come into force only when at least 55 Parties to the Convention, accounting for at least an estimated 55 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions, have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.


Green Finance

  • While there is no universal definition of green finance, it mostly refers to financial investments flowing towards sustainable development projects and initiatives that encourage the development of a more sustainable economy.
  • Green finance includes different elements like greening the banking system, the bond market and institutional investment.
  • Green development is also important for India though green finance is yet to pick up.
  • So far, four banks have issued green bonds in India. Proceeds from these bonds are mostly used for funding renewable energy projects such as solar, wind and biomass projects and other infrastructure sectors, with infrastructure and energy efficiency being considered as green in their entirety.
  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has also recently approved the guidelines for green bonds.



 Climate Change and Sustainable Development

The major climate and environment related achievements in year 2015 include

  • Paris Agreement which aims at keeping the rise in global temperatures well below 2°C,
  • adoption of Sustainable Development Goals,
  • Launching of International Solar Alliance
  • and submission of the ambitious Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).


Emissions from major countries

  • According to an International Energy Agency (IEA) report 2015, the concentration of CO2 in 2014 was 40% higher than in the mid-1800s.
  • Currently, energy sector is the largest contributor to GHG emissions globally.
  • If historical CO2 emissions from 1970 to 2014 are considered, India with 39.0 Gt is way behind the top three emitters – the USA, the EU and China. For example, the USA’s emissions were around six times India’s.
  • Even if historical levels are discounted and only present levels considered, both in terms of absolute and per capita emissions, India is way behind the three major CO2 emitters.
  • In 2014, in terms of absolute emissions, China was at the top, while in terms of per capita emissions, the USA was at the top.
  • India’s per capita emissions are among the lowest in the world.


Sector-wise emissions

  • In terms of sectoral CO2 emissions from fuel combustion, electricity and heat production was the largest contributor for China, India, the EU and the USA, more so for China and India, followed by the manufacturing industry for India and China and the transport sector for the US and the EU.
  • These compositional patterns reflect the different priorities of these countries.


Economic Survey MCQ Series- Question 23


Next question

Whenever there is a recession in the economy, the gap between GDP at factor cost and GDP at market price tends to decrease. Which of the following is the most suitable explanation for the above?

  1. In times of recession, the growth of direct taxes tends to fall and the expenditure on subsidies also reduces
  2. In times of recession, the growth of indirect taxes tends to fall while the expenditure on subsidies increases
  3. In time of recession, the factor cost goes up on account of increase in interest payments
  4. In times of recession, the tax income remains almost the same while the expenditure on subsidies increases


The correct answer for previous question is D i.e. all of the above

The explanation is as follows:

Various types of PTAs:
Partial Scope Agreement (PSA) A PSA is only partial in scope, meaning it allows for trade between countries on a small number of goods. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) A free trade agreement is a preferential arrangement in which members reduce tariffs on trade among themselves, while maintaining their own tariff rates for trade with non-members. Customs Union (CU) A customs union (CU) is a free-trade agreement in which members apply a common external tariff (CET) schedule to imports from non-members. Common Market (CM) A common market is a customs union where movement of factors of production is relatively free amongst member countries. Economic Union (EU) An economic union is a common market where member countries coordinate macro-economic and exchange rate policies.