Notes for Modern History (Post-Independence)
- The Congress party won 364 of the 489 seats in the first Lok Sabha and finished way ahead of any other challenger.
- The Congress scored big victory in state elections as well.
- It won a majority of seats in all the states except Travancore-Cochin (part of today’s Kerala), Madras and Orissa. Finally even in these states the Congress formed the government.
- So the party ruled all over the country at the national and the state level.
- The Congress dominated during the period 1952-1962.
- None of the opposition parties could win even one-tenth of the number of seats won by the Congress.
- Reasons for Congress dominance:
- The Congress party had inherited the legacy of the national movement.
- It was the only party then to have an organisation spread all over the country.
- And finally, in Jawaharlal Nehru, the party had the most popular and charismatic leader in Indian politics.
- In the state assembly elections, the Congress did not get majority in a few cases.
- The most significant of these cases was in Kerala in 1957 when a coalition led by the CPI formed the government.
- Apart from exceptions like this, the Congress controlled the national and all the state governments.
- The extent of the victory of the Congress was artificially boosted by our electoral system.
- The Congress won three out of every four seats but it did not get even half of the votes. In 1952, for example, the Congress obtained 45 per cent of the total votes. But it managed to win 74 per cent of the seats.
- The Socialist Party, the second largest party in terms of votes, secured more than 10 percent of the votes all over the country. But it could not even win three per cent of the seats.
- How did this happen?
- In this system of election, that has been adopted in our country, the party that gets more votes than others tends to get much more than its proportional share. That is exactly what worked in favour of the Congress.
- If we add up the votes of all the non-Congress candidates it was more than the votes of the Congress. But the non-Congress votes were divided between different rival parties and candidates. So the Congress was still way ahead of the opposition and managed to win.
Relevance : GS Paper III (Ecology & Environment)
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- Average global temperatures have crossed a degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
- Purpose of the COP 24 is to agree on a rulebook to implement pledges made by the Paris Agreement.
- In the NDCs each country described the actions it would for mitigation and adaptation and the financial and technological support it needed.
- Article 9 of the Paris Agreement calls for financial support from developed countries and article 9.5 requires them to communicate their levels of support.
- The Hurdles
- Estimate of adaptation is complicated and has not yet developed.
- Little progress on finance, technology transfer and capacity development.
- Multilateral funds pledged until 2017 are less than $30 billion,.
- Double counting and counting of development aid.
- Inability to have any agreement between developing and rich countries.
- occupation of atmospheric carbon space by rich countries, leaving little room for poor nations.
- the Kyoto Protocol has not been ratified yet
- developed countries are not doing their duties much better
- Developed nations are still reliant on oil and coal.
- Way forward
- Reliable climate flows required from developed countries.
- Rich countries must alter their lifestyles considerably
- support to poor countries experiencing losses from climate change events.
- Earth is heading to be 3-4º C warmer by the end of the century. Drastic steps are needed to prevent the destruction of ecosystems and the mass extinction of species.
Relevance: GS Paper III (Ecology and Environment)
Theme of the article
The Katowice climate meet must ensure that today’s children don’t inherit a planet heading to a catastrophe.
Why has this issue cropped up?
The 24th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-24) to the UNFCC in Katowice, Poland is meant to take forward steps to address the threat of climate change.
The threat to climate change
The world is in deep trouble. Average global temperatures have crossed a degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels and such concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (410 ppm) has never been seen by humans before.
Purpose of COP 24
- The purpose of the meeting is to set guidelines, or agree on a rulebook, to implement pledges that were made by various countries at the Paris Climate Conference in 2015.
- At Paris, the global community agreed to try to limit warming to 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels.
- The current conference at Katowice comes soon after a special publication by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the 1.5 Degree Report, according to which what we need are far-reaching, speedy transformative changes in our societies in order to stay below 1.5°
- In the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), planned ahead of the Paris COP-21, each country described the actions it would take and the levels to which greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions would be reduced (mitigation).
- Many of them also described what they would do to improve their capacity to live in a warmer world (adaptation), and the extent to which these goals required support in the form of finance or technology transfer.
Provision of finance under the Paris Agreement
- Article 9 of the Paris Agreement calls for financial support from developed countries. This was expected to result in at least $100 billion per year to address needs and priorities of developing countries for mitigation and adaptation.
- Article 9.5 requires developed countries to communicate their levels of support, including pledges of additional finance. Even a rough estimate of financial needs for implementing all the NDCs puts it at $4.4 trillion.
- There has to be a general agreement on how to estimate adaptation. This is more complicated and varied and is still being developed.
- There has been little progress on finance, technology transfer and capacity development.
- The Climate Funds Update of 2018 notes that multilateral funds pledged until 2017 are less than $30 billion, of which around $20 billion has been deposited and about $4 billion disbursed.
- There have also been charges of double counting and counting of development aid levelled against developed countries.
- The inability to have any agreement between developing and rich countries ensures that the fights on finance and technology will intensify.
- The ethical foundations of the climate change fights on the global stage are based largely on the occupation of atmospheric carbon space by rich countries, leaving little room for growth by the latecomers, which are poor nations.
- The implementation of the activities for the PA formally begins in 2020 and concludes in 2030. We are currently in the Doha Amendment period, or the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol, which has not been ratified.
- While the U.S. and its current policies are much to blame for the situation, other developed countries are not doing that much better.
- Australia and France have had political turmoil due to their climate policies even while experiencing severe weather events. Protests on fuel charge hikes have rocked France. Europe is still heavily reliant on coal.
- What is required is credible, accurate and verifiable numbers on the climate flows expected from developed countries. Such reliable flow will encourage and persuade all countries that commitments made will be fulfilled.
- Countries with average income exceeding $15,000 typically have the capacity and finance and technology to reduce their emissions dramatically. They must also alter their lifestyles considerably, which is required for the transformational change that the 1.5 Degree Report calls for.
- As extreme events are on the rise, the separate stream referred to as “loss and damage” needs attention. This is a provision for support to poor countries experiencing economic and non-economic losses and destruction from climate change events.
Today’s children are inheriting from their parents and grandparents an earth that is out of control and heading to be 3-4º C warmer by the end of the century. Perpetual growth is not viable for any species. Business-as-usual policies with high consumption by the rich are driving the destruction of ecosystems and the mass extinction of species.