Glasgow climate meet | India doesn’t rule out ‘net zero’ commitment

India hasn’t entirely ruled out on the possibility of agreeing to a ‘net zero’ target though it will not budge on demands from developed nations on making good on previous commitments, such as an annual $100 billion to developing countries for mitigating the impacts of climate change, facilitating technology transfer and putting in place a tangible market-based mechanism to activate the moribund carbon credit markets, according to sources.

Ahead of the 26th meeting of United Nations' Conference of Parties (CoP) that begins November 1 in Glasgow, the focus on making the meet a success is to have all nations commit to a 'net zero', or a year by when a country’s fossil fuel emissions would peak and at some point be neutralised by taking out excess carbon from the atmosphere. All countries doing this by 2050, scientists say, would mean a chance of restricting average temperature rise to 1.5 Celsius provided emissions fall to around 45% of 2010 levels by 2030.


This, however, means deep and significant cuts to fossil fuel use that could affect the development trajectory of India and other developing countries.

A study by the think tank Council for Energy Environment and Water projects that for India to achieve net-zero target even by 2070, usage of coal especially for power generation would need to peak by 2040 and drop by 99% between 2040 and 2060. And, the consumption of crude oil across sectors would also need to peak by 2050 and fall substantially by 90% between 2050 and 2070.

Also read: The carbon markets conundrum at COP26

India’s long term position in climate talks has always been that it will eschew the use of fossil fuel use but only gradually because it cannot compromise on development, that is now primarily reliant on coal. Also because because it goes against the core principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibility’ that requires developed countries, who are responsible for the climate crisis, to take on deeper cuts and pay developing countries for the environmental damage from rising temperature as well as finance their transition to clean energy sources. However, delegations from the United States and the European Union have in recent months had several meetings with Indian officials to chart out a more ambitious pathway to cut emissions.

Glasgow climate meet | India doesn’t rule out ‘net zero’ commitment

“All options are on the platter,” a senior official who will be representing India at Glasgow told The Hindu, “but it will depend on how the negotiations will progress and whether we will be able to move ahead on getting developed countries to agree on a mechanism to honour their previous commitments.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is expected to be present in Glasgow for the Leaders Summit on the first two days that has at least 120 heads of state who've confirmed participation.

There are also expectations that even if India doesn’t announce a net zero target, it may hint at an updated set of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), or a firmer set of commitments that could include higher clean-energy targets or reductions in specific categories of emissions.

India, the world’s third largest emitter, last announced its NDCs in 2015 in which it committed to increasing the share of non-fossil fuel sources to 40% and reduce its emissions intensity per unit of GDP by nearly 33-35% of 2005 levels and create a carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent.

India's average per capita emissions was 1.96 tons/person/annum, the European Union’s was 8.4 and the United States was 18, the official said. Net zero didn't imply that all countries would have to go down to zero but that some could take much deeper cuts than others in a way that the overall emissions stayed on a 1.5C pathway, the person added.

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India and the United Kingdom have agreed to strengthen climate initiatives and further their green partnership, Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav said on Friday.

“Had an engaging bilateral with the UK delegation led by foreign minister Liz Truss. Both sides agreed to strengthen climate initiatives and further our green partnership. Assured India's support for UK COP Presidency, wishing COP26 would be the COP of action and implementation," the Minister tweeted after the meeting.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 8:45:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/india-doesnt-rule-out-net-zero-commitment-at-cop/article37130603.ece

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