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PM Modi Surprises Climate Summit With 2070 Net-Zero Vow For India

India stood out among the top emitters at the summit, which included the United States and China.

PM Modi Surprises Climate Summit With 2070 Net-Zero Vow For India

At the COP26 climate meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi surprised participants with a daring promise: India, the world's third-largest emitter, will achieve net-zero emissions by 2070.

The announcement breathed new energy into talks that had been stalled since the Group of 20 gathering in Rome this weekend. Despite the fact that India's objective is two decades behind that of wealthy nations such as the United States and the United Kingdom, it is consistent with what scientists say is required to avoid catastrophic global warming.

"This was a very significant moment for the summit," said Nicholas Stern, chairman of the London School of Economics' Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. It's an opportunity for India to demonstrate that "it can deliver on both economic development and climate change."

India stood out among the top emitters at the summit, which included the United States and China. President Joe Biden, hampered by domestic politics, didn't offer anything fresh to the table. Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping did not attend in person and did not announce any new plans to reduce emissions.

India's difficulty is figuring out how to pay for the shift to net zero, which will require trillions of dollars in investment. PM Modi restated his position that wealthy countries should aid poor countries by generating more funds to hasten the transition to renewable energy, though he did not specify how much money India would require from the international community.

"It is India's expectation that the world's developed nations make $1 trillion available as climate finance as soon as possible," Prime Minister Modi stated, a sum that is ten times greater than the yearly climate funding target established by rich countries. "Justice would demand that those nations that have not kept their climate commitments should be pressured."

PM Modi's administration had been working on estimating what was needed to go to net zero, according to Bloomberg. Officials, on the other hand, were hesitant to set a target without major financial pledges from wealthy nations.

PM Modi followed up his 2070 net-zero objective with more aggressive short-term goals on Monday. He increased India's low-emission energy capacity target for 2030 from 450 GW to 500 GW, and committed to use renewable energy to generate half of the country's electricity. By the end of the decade, India will have reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 1 billion tonnes compared to current levels. To meet the 2070 goal, the country must still develop a precise plan for the next 40 years.

Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, opened the COP26 meeting earlier in the day by encouraging world leaders to "defuse the bomb of climate change." Delegates rushed through the large conference hall along the banks of the River Clyde, with helicopters buzzing overhead, and long queues formed as organisers battled to accommodate the multitudes.

One of COP26 President Alok Sharma's aims for the Glasgow summit is to pull out enough commitments from governments to meet the Paris Agreement's stretch goal of reducing warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

PM Modi's announcement is in line with what science indicates is required to achieve that goal. To keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5°C, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that the world will need to reach net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by mid-century, and then net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2070.

"Country-wise net zero cannot be the same for all nations," said Arunabha Ghosh, CEO of the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water, which has advised the prime minister's office. He described India's goal as "equitable and just."

Even if the problem was mostly created by carbon dioxide deposited in the atmosphere by countries that industrialised early, it is in India's interest to stop global warming. The 1.3 billion-strong country is one of the most vulnerable to climate change. Extreme weather occurrences, such as heat waves, floods, and interruptions to the rainy monsoon season, will have catastrophic consequences.

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