India rejects net zero emissions target, Modi off to climate talks

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters on September 25, 2021 in New York City.

Eduardo Munoz | Getty Images

India has rejected calls to announce a net carbon emissions target this week, ahead of the United Nations’ global climate talks, where world leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet.

Despite mounting international pressure, India’s Environment Minister R.P. Gupta has declared that net zero is not the answer to the climate crisis, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

“The amount of carbon you’re going to put into the atmosphere before it hits net zero is the most important,” Gupta reportedly said.

Net zero emissions refers to achieving an overall balance between the greenhouse gas emissions generated and the greenhouse gas emissions removed from them. atmosphere, by natural means or using a still nascent carbon capture technology.

After China and the United States, India is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases and is still largely dependent on fossil fuels such as coal and oil. India’s energy demand is expected to rise sharply over the next decade as the economy continues on its growth path.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that to avoid the devastating effects of climate change, the world needs to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. For this to happen, global carbon dioxide emissions must reach net zero around 2050.

Earlier this year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its strongest warning about climate change. In a stern warning to prevent global temperatures from rising beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius or even 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the committee said the world needs immediate, rapid and widespread reductions in emissions over the next two decades.

More than 130 countries, including China, have set – or are considering setting – a net-zero emissions target over the coming decades.

Moody in Glasgow

Modi will be in Glasgow, Scotland for COP26 – the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties.

He is scheduled to participate in a two-day high-level meeting with world leaders on Monday.

In a statement ahead of Thursday’s departure, Modi said he would share India’s record on climate action at the meeting.

“I will also highlight the need to comprehensively address climate change issues, including the equitable distribution of the carbon space, support for mitigation and adaptation actions and building resilience, mobilizing finance, technology transfer, and the importance of sustainable lifestyles for green and inclusive growth,” he said. .

India will emphasize climate justice at COP26 and ask rich nations to transfer technology and financing needed to help developing nations deal with the fallout of global warming, Indian Environment Minister Bhubandar Yadav told The Hindu news this week.

India’s emissions targets

Six years ago, world leaders came up with a legally binding international treaty on climate change called the Paris Agreement.

These were India’s obligations at the time:

  • To reduce the GDP emissions intensity by 33% to 35% by 2030 from the 2005 level. This measures the amount of greenhouse gases emitted per Indian rupee of GDP. A reduction in emissions intensity does not necessarily mean a reduction in the total amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
  • By 2030, about 40% of all electric power will come from renewable sources such as wind and solar power. Last month, when Modi addressed the United Nations General Assembly, he said India was on track to meet the target of 450 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030. This would triple the country’s current renewable capacity in less than a decade.
  • India aims to plant enough trees and cover a third of its land area with forests by 2030. The goal is to absorb about 2.5 billion to 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Indian officials say the country is on the right track to meet the commitments of the Paris Agreement.

But the Climate Action Tracker Consortium, which tracks government climate actions, policies and targets, rated India’s commitments as “extremely inadequate”.

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