Research InterestsPublic Policy, Development and Sustainability
As a senior research associate in the Climate and Sustainability program, Aljawhara focuses on research and advisory projects that are centered around public policy, development, and sustainability. Aljawhara holds a master’s degree in policy management from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Alfaisal University. She also holds a public leadership credential from the Harvard Kennedy School. During the Saudi G20 Presidency, Aljawhara coordinated one of the 11 Think 20 (T20) task forces that produced policy solutions to a wide range of challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to joining KAPSARC, she interned at KPMG’s Deal Advisory unit, where she worked on developing public-private partnership models for public sector clients.
India’s greenhouse gas emissions have grown along with its rapid economic growth, making it the world’s third-largest emitter after China and the United States. Under the Paris Agreement, India has committed to reduce its emissions intensity relative to its GDP by 33-35% by 2030, compared with its 2005 level. In this study, we assess the evolving political will to enhance India’s stated commitment to combat climate change.
Article 4.19 of the 2015 Paris Agreement calls on signatories to formulate and communicate “long-term low greenhouse gas development strategies,” widely known as the mid-century strategy (MCS). Any enhancement of the European Union’s (EU’s) targets in its MCS depends on a new long-term EU climate policy subject to ongoing negotiations between member states. The EU submits one nationally determined contribution (NDC) for all 28 member states, likely soon to be 27 following the proposed departure of the United Kingdom (U.K.) from the EU (Brexit). In 2011 the European Commission outlined an indicative 80% emissions reduction target in its 2050 low carbon economy roadmap compared to 1990 levels. In a move away from a target-centered approach, the European Commission’s most recent communication entitled “A Clean Planet for all – A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy” calls for carbon neutrality by 2050 but avoids any mention of targets. It instead outlines scenarios that offer policy pathways for EU member states. This paper shows that in mid-2018, EU members were unwilling to commit to higher targets, which could provide an insight into what was an unexpected shift in European Commission policy.
As an emerging economy, a major part of India’s nationally determined contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement is an emissions intensity target. With its current policies, India is on track to achieve its climate targets under the Agreement. However, the Indian government is balancing a complicated set of domestic priorities and constraints against its wish to be seen as a global leader on climate change. This paper, based on field research in India, outlines the key findings from a set of interviews regarding the implementation and enhancement of India’s NDC:
Coal is still the cheapest source of baseload electricity in India and will continue to be its main fuel source for electricity.
India is constrained in its ability to prioritize climate change objectives by the need to expand energy access and for low-cost energy.
India would like to be seen as a leader on climate change, particularly when compared to other emerging economies such as China, whose targets are treated as a benchmark. This wish is balanced against its need to continue its economic expansion.
India tends to take a conservative approach to international commitments.
The Prime Minister of India has the final say on climate policy matters, but consults with and is advised by a small number of actors in his Council on Climate Change. Think tanks play a major supporting role in climate policymaking.
The European Union (EU) is facing a critical period as the European Commission draws up a 2050 climate strategy roadmap that is likely to form the basis for the EU’s next nationally determined contribution to the COP21 Paris Agreement. Until recently, the UK was the undisputed leader of the coalition of EU member states (the Green Growth Group) seeking more ambitious climate targets. Brexit, however, is likely to put an end to the UK-driven focus on market instruments to achieve climate targets. Instead, the Commission is now likely to turn to policies prioritizing emissions and energy targets.
The United Kingdom (UK) exit (Brexit) from the European Union (EU) is likely to strengthen the resolve of the EU to maintain global leadership at the Conference of Parties (COP).
Brexit is likely to contribute a changed approach toward climate policy from a focus on market instruments to policy targets.
A struggle has emerged for leadership within the Green Growth Group, with many coalition members seeking more ambitious climate targets.
Despite some changes in governments, the national climate position of EU member states remains stable.
Poland, perhaps supported by other coal-dependent countries, is likely to remain an obstacle to more ambitious EU climate targets.
After decades of relatively smooth trade liberalization, a wave of protectionist measures and a global trade war is now threatening world trade. On September 1, 2019, the United States (U.S.) imposed a new series of tariffs on Chinese imports worth more than $100 billion.
The Paris Agreement entered into force in November 2016 and, to date, 187 parties have ratified it (UFCCC). The Agreement’s goal is to limit the increase in global temperature to 2 degrees Celsius (°C) above] pre-industrial levels. The Agreement established what has been dubbed an ‘ambition mechanism,’ where every five years nationally determined contributions (NDCs) are reassessed and enhanced — with the first round of refinements expected in 2020. A number of studies, most notably the United Nations Environment Programme report, conclude that current NDCs will not achieve the objectives of the Agreement (UNEP 2018). While technical obstacles to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement remain, political barriers further convolute the discussion. Clearly more needs to be done, and further political accommodations will be required globally to significantly enhance and subsequently implement more ambitious contributions that might achieve the promise of the Paris Agreement. However, before progress can be made on an international level, the main polluting countries must focus on internal, domestic consensus to develop robust efforts to reduce emissions. Uncertainty remains about whether there is, or will ever be, sufficient political will to meet the 2°C target.