As we approach COP28, the world finds itself in the midst of a polycrises. We are facing an unparalleled global energy crisis, complex geopolitical challenges stemming from the aftermath of the pandemic while loss and damage due to extreme weather events caused by climate change continue to mount. This convergence has disrupted supply chains, resulted in energy shortages and led to soaring prices that impact the entire world.
Consequently, the commitments made by countries under the Paris Agreement, aiming to limit global warming to well below 2°C, preferably 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels, are on the verge of compromise. The global south has been severely impacted, where for the first time in a decade, as per the International Energy Agency (IEA), the number of people without access to modern energy has increased.
COP28 is significant as it features the first ever ‘Global Stocktake’ of progress under the Paris Agreement. The synthesis report of the Global Stocktake released by the UNFCCC in September paints a very stark picture of the amount of work we have yet to do to be able to maintain global temperature rise to 1.5C. As countries prepare to deliberate on the insights of this report, it provides an opportunity to assess global and national climate action efforts and revise ambitions appropriately.
India under its G20 Presidency has taken up a prominent rale in representing the Global South’s voice to the world on climate-related issues. India led discussions on climate change and global economic stability, working to find effective solutions to these challenges. These efforts encourage collaboration and address blue economy, land degradation, green hydrogen, resource efficiency and circular economy principles.
From an Indian industry perspective, the potential outcomes of COP28 hold several opportunities for accelerating decarbonisation in India and to that would enable stronger business-led climate action.
Discussions on the outcomes of the GST, will serves as a guide for businesses. It will enable them to refine decision-making on climate action and direct investments towards opportunities in energy transition, technological advancements, finance, and climate resilience, Additionally, outcomes of the stock take could also promote policies that offer societal benefits, like improved air quality and job creation in sustainable sectors, ensuring a comprehensive approach to sustainable development.
On the climate finance front, we all are aware about the significant monetary gap, and at COP28, countries should commit to low-cost concessional finance, in alignment with COP28 Presidency’s Goal and the G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration to support developing countries in attaining their climate targets. There needs to be commitment from organizations such as the World Bank Group, and governments to increase co-financing with the private sector through various measures to improve the risk-return nexus for private investors. Carrying forward the momentum of recent positive conversations around multilateral development bank (MDB) reform will be crucial and setting a clean energy mandate for MDBs would go a long way towards accelerating energy transitions in developing countries and emerging economies.
From an adaptation and resilience perspective, increasingly businesses are realizing that they face significant climate risk from extreme weather events such as floods, heatwaves, etc. Given that developing countries and emerging economies disproportionately face the impacts of climate-induced disasters, it is therefore crucial that COP28 delivers on replenishment to the adaptation fund
which is the only multilateral fund supporting adaptation. It is also essential to secure commitment to operationalizing the Loss & Damage fund.
CII has been working with Indian Industry to address several of these challenges through various initiatives. For example, the CII-Godrej Green Business Centre aims at offering advisory services to businesses on conservation of natural resources. CII-GBC has been driving the green buildings movement in India. As a part of its IGBC initiative 11,300 Green Buildings projects with a footprint of over 10.27 billion sq.ft. are registered, out of which 3,260 Green Building projects are certified and fully functional in India.
The CII Climate Action Charter is another initiative which was been designed to stimulate collective action by Indian businesses to address climate change risks. The Charter boasts 170+ members and has worked with MSMES across 7 industrial clusters in India over past year. Through this they have helped MSMEs identify and become aware of the various climate risks posed to their business.
CII has also been involved intensively on policy advocacy and research related to climate change. In its role as B20 Secretariat under India’s G20 presidency, CII under the B20 Task Force on Energy, Climate Change & Resource Efficiency formulated a set of policy recommendations emphasizing the urgency of addressing climate change and the pivotal role of low carbon energy transition and finance in transitioning from fossil fuels to sustainable growth. The report also stresses the need to decarbonise hard-to-abate sectors and stresses the importance of providing clean energy technology and climate finance to the global south.
We have been working with the Ministry of Power and Bureau of Energy Efficiency on the Carbon Credit Trading Scheme for India which helps define a compliance-based carbon market for the country. We have also been working on developing sectoral roadmaps towards net-zero emissions for Indian Industry. These roadmaps provide a series of recommendations for policymakers and suggest industry-led actions toward an efficient, accelerated, and inclusive transition to net zero.
Looking forward, Indian industry aims to be at the forefront of this transformative journey. As India prepares to participate in COP28, this paper highlights the outcome and perspective regarding the transformative potential of voluntary business-driven climate initiatives in attaining both national and global climate objectives.
Our participation at COP28-is not just about fulfilling commitments; it’s about taking a leadership role in driving sustainable and resilient growth in harmony with global climate goals. As we move forward, CII and Indian industry are determined to pave the way for a future that balances economic growth with climate action, ensuring a better planet for generations to come.
This article was contributed by Jamshyd Godrej, Past President CII, Chairman, CII Climate Change Council and Chairman & Managing Director, Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd. and was first published in the CII publication on “Priorities for COP 28: Indian Industry Perspective”