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India rejects internet zero emissions goal, Modi goes to local weather talks

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City on September 25, 2021.

Eduardo Munoz | Getty Images

India turned down calls to announce a net-zero carbon target this week ahead of the United Nations global climate talks, which will bring together world leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Despite increasing international pressure, India’s Environment Minister RP Gupta announced that net zero was not the solution to the climate crisis, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

“It is more important how much carbon you put into the atmosphere before you hit net zero,” Gupta reportedly said.

Net zero emissions refer to achieving an overall balance between generated greenhouse gas emissions and removed greenhouse gas emissions the atmosphere, through natural means or through the use of the still emerging CO2 capture technology.

India is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the USA and is still largely dependent on fossil fuels such as coal and oil. India’s energy needs are expected to increase sharply over the next decade as the economy continues on its growth path.

To avoid the devastating effects of climate change, the world must limit global warming to 1.5 ° C, according to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And for that, global carbon dioxide emissions would have to reach zero net by 2050.

Earlier this year, the IPCC issued its strongest warning about climate change. To keep global temperatures from rising above 1.5 ° C or even 2 ° C above pre-industrial levels, the world needs immediate, rapid and comprehensive reductions in emissions over the next two decades, the panel said in a serious warning .

More than 130 countries, including China, have set themselves the goal – or are considering setting one – to reduce emissions to net zero in the coming decades.

Modes in Glasgow

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

He will attend a two-day high-level meeting with world leaders on Monday.

In a statement before leaving Thursday, Modi said he would share India’s track record on climate protection at the meeting.

“I will also highlight the need to address climate change issues fully, including equitable distribution of carbon space, support for action to contain and adapt and build resilience, mobilizing finance, technology transfer and the importance of sustainable lifestyles for green and inclusive growth, ”he said.

At COP26, India will emphasize climate justice and ask wealthier nations to transfer technology and finance needed to help developing countries deal with the effects of global warming, India’s Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav told Hindu news agency this week.

India’s emissions targets

Six years ago, the world’s leaders signed a legally binding international treaty on climate change called the Paris Agreement.

These were India’s obligations at the time:

  • Reduce emissions intensity of GDP by 33% to 35% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. This measures the amount of greenhouse gases emitted per Indian rupee of GDP. A reduction in emission intensity does not necessarily mean a reduction in the total amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
  • By 2030, around 40% of all electricity would come from renewable sources such as wind and sun. Speaking to the UN General Assembly last month, Modi said India is well on track to meet 450 gigawatts of renewable energy target by 2030. That would essentially triple the country’s current renewable capacity in less than a decade.
  • India wants to plant enough trees by 2030 and forest a third of its land area. The aim is to absorb around 2.5 to 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Indian officials say the country is on track to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement.

But the Climate Action Tracker consortium, which tracks the government’s climate action, policies and goals, rated India’s pledges as “very inadequate”.

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