The National Determined Contributions (NDC) synthesis report, published last week, reports on NDCs from all 191 Parties to the Paris Agreement. NDCs are the efforts by each State to cut national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. 

The Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change, requires each State to prepare, outline and communicate its NDCs. 

While the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change mentions that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will require the 2030 greenhouse gas emissions level to be a 45 percent reduction from the 2010 level, existing NDCs will instead lead the world to a 16.3 percent increase. 

A frightening gap between the current trajectory of global emissions, the emissions reductions planned, and the emissions reductions needed to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, international experts say. 

The emissions cuts need to be bigger, deeper. 

Bhutan’s second NDC outlines our raised climate ambition and reiterates our commitment to remain carbon neutral. It charts a path to enhance its mitigation targets and actions through sectoral Low Emission Development Strategies (LEDS) and National REDD+ Strategy and Action Plan 2020. But we have problems in hand. 

Despite the pandemic, the import of vehicles increased by five percent last year to 112,058 vehicles in December 2020 from 106,681 in December 2019. The concentration of vehicles has crossed beyond the urban areas into the rural pristine villages.  Unless we arrest this dangerous trend soon, the carbon budget we have would run out in the next few decades. 

The electric vehicle movement has remained at the pilot project phase. Besides, the chronic problems at Punatsangchhu hydropower project I (PHPA I) delaying its completion, a clearance issue has stalled a mega solar project in Shingkhar, Bumthang. 

We are experiencing acute shortage of drinking water in many villages across the country. Our perennial springs are drying. Insects, birds and wild animals are finding new homes in colder areas, posing new challenges to conservation and livelihoods of the localities. 

We have larger and frequent landslides, flash floods, and crop damage due to extreme weather events. The countermeasures must be taken swiftly, funds have to come now. 

According to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, climate finance in 2019 increased by 1.3 Billion from  USD 79.6 Billion in 2018. However, the climate finance mobilised by developing countries remains far short of commitments made. 

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering made Bhutan’s stand clear. The international community needs to recognise the importance of supporting countries that are already affected on one hand and the need to assist and sustain the countries that have made successful conservation efforts so far on the other. 

The United Nations Climate Change Conference scheduled to take place in Glasgow, the UK this November is where the developed countries must honour commitments they made a decade ago. 

We can forge ahead only through our collective efforts. Left to a few, no matter how strong their will, the cause will suffer irreparably.