New Delhi: India will attain its “Net Zero” emission target by 2070, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared at the COP26 Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, late on Monday evening, as he pressed the developed nations to raise climate finance to the tune of $1 trillion. He said India was the only big economy that has delivered on its commitments made at the Paris Climate Summit six years ago in “letter and spirit”, adding that the Paris Summit was for him a “sentiment and commitment” made not just to the world but to India’s 1.25 billion population.
Mr Modi was speaking at the World Leaders’ Summit of the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) being held from October 31 to November 12 under the presidency of the UK partnering with Italy. The summit is being attended by the heads of state/government of more than 120 countries.
“Net zero” refers to the “balance between the amount of greenhouse gas produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere”, and a country “reaches its net zero target when the amount of greenhouse gases it adds is no more than the amount taken away” from the atmosphere.
Delivering India’s National Statement at the Summit, Mr Modi also announced five major targets that he called the “five elements of nectar”, including the Net Zero target. The other four were that by 2030, India would increase its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 gigawatts, India would fulfil 50 per cent of its energy requirement through renewable energy, India would reduce one billion tonnes of carbon emissions, and that India would reduce 45 per cent of its carbon intensity.
Mr Modi lambasted the developed nations for their “false promises” relating to climate finance and hoped that $1 trillion in climate finance will be raised by the developed nations. He said that just as polluting emissions are tracked, climate finance should also be tracked, adding that pressure should be built on those not fulfilling their promises in this regard. He said it was India’s duty to vociferously raise the views of the developing nations.
In a separate brief address at another event at the summit on “Action and Solidarity -- The critical decade”, Mr Modi said that “adaptation” (to new ways of living in harmony with the environment) has not been given the same importance as “mitigation” (of pollution) -- which he said was an injustice to developing countries who are more affected by climate change that is a challenge to farmers. “There is a change in cropping patterns. Floods and storms are occurring, crops are getting destroyed,” he said.
“Adaptation should be made an important part of policies. In India, schemes such as tap water for all, the Clean India Mission and Clean Cooking Fuel for All have given adaptation benefits to our needy citizens, and have also improved their quality of life,” the Prime Minister said.
“Many traditional communities have deep knowledge about harmonious coexistence with nature. These traditional practices should be given adequate importance in our policies. This should be incorporated into school textbooks so that the new generation is aware of this. Developing nations should get global support for adaptation. For local adaptation and going with the thought of global support, India had advocated the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI). I would invite all nations to join this initiative,” the Prime Minister further added.