Mid-century target for net zero emission inadequate, says India

New Delhi wants G20 nations to pledge for reductions by 2030

Published - July 24, 2021 10:47 pm IST - NEW DELHI

TUTICORIN, TAMIL NADU, 25/09/2015: A view of the Tuticorin Thermal Power plant Second Unit on September 25, 2015. Photo: N. Rajesh

TUTICORIN, TAMIL NADU, 25/09/2015: A view of the Tuticorin Thermal Power plant Second Unit on September 25, 2015. Photo: N. Rajesh

At the conclusion of the G20 climate meet, India on Saturday, said that pledges by some countries to achieve Net Zero GHG emissions or ‘carbon neutrality’ by mid-century were inadequate, when considering the rights of developing countries to economic growth.

“We have noted the pledges made by some countries to achieve Net Zero GHG emissions or carbon Neutrality by or around mid century. However, this may not be adequate in view of fast depleting available carbon space. Therefore and keeping in view, the legitimate need of developing countries to growth, we urge G20 countries to commit to bringing down per capita emissions to Global average by 2030,” said the Indian statement .

The G20 climate summit, that concluded on Friday, comes roughly about 100 days before the Conference of Parties (COP 26) is set to begin in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Net Zero emissions refer to a situation where a country is able to remove at least as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it is emitting. This can be done by increasing forest cover or through technologies such as carbon capture. India's position as the third largest greenhouse gas emitter but also with among the lowest per capita emissions means that it has always resisted a hard deadline — some countries have set their target years as 2050 or 2060 — to commit to a net-zero future. It is expected that the forthcoming COP 26 talks in Glasgow will see a commitment by the United States.

Countries periodically submit the National Determined Contributions (NDC) that outline their plans towards capping emission. As per the NDCs submitted to UNFCCC under Paris Agreement, the pledge of the United States falls short of their fair share by 12 tons of CO2/capita, of UK by 14.1 tones CO2/capita, of China by 0.2 tons CO2/capita, and of India by 0.4 tons CO2/capita, according to Council on Energy Environment and Water, a New Delhi based think-tank. The fair share represents the reductions countries must achieve to ensure that the greenhouse gas levels are below that to prevent a 1.5 average temperature rise over the globe by the turn of the century.

India's NDC requires it to achieve three main goals including increasing cumulative electricity generation installed capacity from non-fossil sources of energy to 40% by 2030, which currently stands at around 38%; lower emissions intensity of its GDP by 33-35% compared to 2005 levels by 2030 and create additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tons through additional forest and tree cover. Within this is included a commitment to install 175GW of renewable energy by 2022 comprising 100GW of solar, 60GW of wind, and 10GW of bioenergy, and 5GW of small hydropower projects.

PM Modi has claimed to increase the targeted 175GW by 2022 to 220GW and also claimed to install 450GW of renewable energy by 2030. If India were to achieve this, the share of installed capacity of non-fossils in India’s electricity mix would reach 65%. In comparison, India’s Paris agreement target is to reach 40% non-fossils by 2030.

India would focus on implementing its “ambitious plans” through concrete actions domestically as well as globally via collaborations such as the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition of Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav said at the conclusion of the summit.

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