Net zero emissions by 2070, India’s strong pledge: Climate advocates

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the global climate talks in Glasgow announced net zero by 2070 for India. This makes India as one of the last major economies to join the countries committing to net zero goals, climate experts said on Tuesday.

In addition, Modi called on developed countries to dramatically raise their financial help to developing countries for the transition to clean energy and protection against climate impacts.

Responding to announcements made on Monday at World Leaders Summit of a stronger climate target with 50 per cent of its energy requirements to be met by renewables by 2030 and a commitment to cut one billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) President and CEO Manish Bapna told IANS India is making a vital contribution in the global march against climate change, which disproportionately harms the world’s vulnerable people the most.

“Its bold pledges to cut climate pollution by a billion tonnes, in large part by meeting 50 per cent of its energy requirements with renewable energy by 2030, signals India’s resolute commitment to a healthier and clean future, for the people of India and the world.

“The world’s fifth-largest economy and fourth-largest carbon emitter has set a high bar for stronger climate commitments by key countries at COP26.”

Rhetorics ran high as the UN Climate Change Conference named COP26 in Glasgow on Monday.

There is a deficit of credibility and surplus of confusion over emissions reductions, said the UN Secretary General. Leaders’ speeches spoke about how climate change “is tearing us apart, and we need a new momentum, a quantum leap in the fight against climate change”.

On India’s bold announcemets, International Solar Alliance Director General Ajay Mathur said: “Prime Minister Modi cut through the rhetoric and delivered a big promise of climate action from India.

“Reducing 1 billion tonnes of emissions by 2030 and expanding non-fossils capacity to 500 GW are enormous and transformative steps. Fifty per cent of electricity generation from renewable energy sources speaks to India’s leadership and commitment to climate action.”

Describing it the real climate action, Council for Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) CEO Arunabha Ghosh told IANS: “India has clearly put the ball in the court of the developed world. Now India demands $1 trillion in climate finance as soon as possible, and will monitor not just climate action but also climate finance.

“Most importantly, India has called once again for a change in lifestyle. If we cannot fix how we live, we can’t fix how we live on this planet.”

Chandra Bhushan, CEO, iForest, said: “India’s announcement of an ambitious 2030 target and a net zero target is a big step for climate collaboration.”

It’s a tremendous leadership gesture, says R.R. Rashmi, Distinguished Fellow, TERI.

“One billion tonne of reduction in absolute terms is massive. Compare this with the entire GHG inventory which is less than three billion tonne today, and will be 4.5 billion tonne in 2030. Committing to one billion is 25 per cent of the inventory in 2030.

“This shows a tremendous leadership gesture and commitment to act now and fix the road to 2030. It also sets the stage for carbon markets. In a way this means absolute emission reductions and this also means that India has set itself to commit to a peak in emissions without saying so explicitly.”

Dave Jones, Global Lead, Ember, said: “The world’s top 10 coal power countries have now all committed to net zero, as India announces a net zero pledge at COP26. But coal will need to end one, two or even three decades before the net zero dates that have been laid out. These net zero ambitions now need to transform into near-term action on coal. Failing to act on coal will undermine the credibility of net zero pledges.”

For Vibhuti Garg, Energy Economist and India lead with IEEFA, India’s pledge to increase the share of electricity generation from renewable energy sources to 50 per cent by 2030 would also reduce the emissions intensity of the economy by at least 45 per cent from its 2005 levels.

New Delhi-based Climate Trends Director Aarti Khosla said by announcing a commitment for achieving net zero targets by 2070, India has responded positively to the global call and it was the best climate action in Glasgow.

The commitment of 500GW of renewable energy by 2030, which is more than twice the installed capacity of coal currently, should set the stage for a quick transformation of the energy sector, the kind of which hasn’t been witnessed so far, she added.

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Arushi Sana is the Founder of Santerra Living and Co-Founder of NYK Daily. She was awarded the Times Power Women of the Year 2022 and Times Digital Entrepreneur of the Year 2023. Arushi is also a Sustainability Consultant for organisations looking to reduce their carbon footprint and also works with brands on social media to help them carve a presence in that niche. She holds a Degree in Computer Science Engineering from VIT University and a Diploma in Marketing Analytics from IIM Nagpur. Her interest in Sustainable Living and Interior Design led her to start a Sustainable e-Marketplace where customers can buy eco-furniture and eco-friendly products for everyday use. Arushi is a writer, political researcher, a social worker, a farmer and a singer with an interest in languages. Travel and nature are the biggest spiritual getaways for her, and she aims to develop a global community of knowledge and journalism par excellence through this News Platform.

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