PM Pitches India to Host COP33 in 2028

New Delhi: At the opening session of the World Climate Action Summit (COP28) in Dubai, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced the launch of the “Green Credit Initiative,” which focuses on creating carbon sinks through people's participation. The Prime Minister said that the climate finance commitments of the developed nations should be increased from “billions to trillions”. He also proposed to host the UN climate conference in 2028 or COP33 in India.

In his initial remarks, the Prime Minister said that the decision at the summit to operationalise the “loss and damage fund” has “increased his hope” for “concrete results”, with the fund reportedly expected to grant financial assistance to “vulnerable countries experiencing the severe impact of climate change”.

Pointing out that India contributes less than four per cent of total global emissions despite having 17 per cent of the population share, Mr Modi said India had given the world the example of striking the ultimate balance between ecology and economy as he exhorted developed nations to eliminate their own carbon footprints before 2050.

Warning against a "destructive mindset”, the Prime Minister further said that the world has to be “decisive, unified, balanced, ambitious and innovative” and that time is running out for the world to rectify its mistakes on pollution made during the last century. He pushed for “just and inclusive energy transitition”, technology transfer and the “due share of the global carbon budget to developing nations” of the Global South.

Speaking later at a session on climate finance, Mr Modi called for “available, accessible and affordable” climate finance by entities, including multilateral development banks, for countries of the Global South that are expecting assistance from developed countries in combating climate change.

In his opening remarks at the COP28 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Prime Minister announced the launch of the Green Credits Initiative as a “pro-planet, proactive and positive initiative that “basically envisions the issue of green credits for plantations on waste and degraded lands and the river catchment areas in order to restore their vitality” with the full participation of people.

The Prime Minister also announced the launch of a portal for green plantation-based innovation solutions.

At the summit, Mr Modi was received by the President of the UAE and the host of the summit, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Recognising that the UAE announced a $30 billion fund for global climate solutions at COP28, Mr Modi hailed the UAE’s Climate Finance Framework Initiative.

The Prime Minister said a small percentage of mankind had relentlessly destroyed nature, but that the entire mankind, especially the Global South, has to pay the price for it. He called on nations to avoid selfishness and the me-first attitude, adding that every nation should meet its climate targets as per nationally determined contributions (NDC).

Mr Modi also called for progress on the New Collective Quantified Goals on Climate Finance and an adequate Green Climate Fund and Adaptation Fund.

Pointing out that India is fulfilling its own earlier-announced NDCs, the Prime Minister pointed out that targets on emission intensity have been fulfilled 11 years earlier, while those on non-fossil fuels have been met nine years ahead of time. He reiterated India’s pledge to increase its non-fossil fuel share to 50 per cent and reduce emission intensity by 45 per cent by 2030, further reiterating that the “net zero” target will be met by 2070.

Pointing out the achievements of India in the field of green energy during its just-concluded year-long presidency of the G-20 grouping, Mr Modi pointed to the “One Earth, One Family, One Future” motto, the consensus on the green development pact, establishing principles for Lifestyle for sustainable development, a commitment to increase global renewable energy threefold, and the launch of the Global Biofuels Alliance in the sphere of hydrogen.

"It focuses on creating carbon sinks through people's participation and I invite all of you to join this initiative," he said, stressing that the world does not have much time to correct the mistakes of the last century.

This initiative is similar to the Green Credit Programme, notified domestically in October. It is an innovative market-based mechanism designed to reward voluntary environmental actions in different sectors by individuals, communities and the private sector.

Asserting that India has presented a great example to the world of striking balance between development and environment conservation, the Prime Minister said, India is among the only few countries in the world on track to achieve its Nationally Determined Contributions or the national action plans to restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the guardrail to avoid worsening of the impact of the changing climate.

Modi was the only leader to join COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber on the stage along with the UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Steill at the opening plenary.

"Over the past century, a small section of humanity has indiscriminately exploited nature. However, the entire humanity is paying the price for this, especially people living in the Global South," he said.

"Thinking only about our own interests will only lead the world into darkness," the prime minister added.

Modi's statement came in the context that the poor and developing nations bear the brunt of extreme climate events such as floods, droughts, heat/cold waves as a result of changing climate due to historic carbon emissions by the richer countries that have led to increased global warming.

The Prime Minister called for maintaining a balance between mitigation and adaptation and said that energy transition across the world must be just and inclusive.

He also called rich countries to transfer technologies to help developing nations combat climate change.

Modi has been championing the Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE movement), which he had announced at the Glasgow COP in 2021), urging countries to adopt planet-friendly living practices and move away from deeply consumerist behaviour.

Citing a study by the International Energy Agency, Modi said, This approach (LiFE) can reduce carbon emissions by 2 billion tonnes. He called on the countries to work together and be decisive against the climate crisis.

"We shall cooperate with each other and shall support each other. We need to give all developing countries our fair share in the global carbon budget," Modi said.

If India's proposal to host COP33 is accepted, it would be the next big global conference in the country after the G20 Summit earlier this year.

India hosted COP8 in New Delhi in 2002 where countries adopted the Delhi Ministerial Declaration which called for efforts by developed countries to transfer technology and minimise the impact of climate change on developing countries.

Climate science defines carbon budget as the amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted for a given level of global warming (1.5 degrees Celsius in this case).

Developed countries have already consumed more than 80 per cent of the global carbon budget, leaving developing and poor countries with very little carbon space for the future. Modi highlighted that India is home to 17 per cent of the world's population, but its share of global carbon emissions is less than 4 per cent. "India is one of the very few economies in the world that is on track to achieve its NDC targets," he said.

India achieved its emissions intensity-related targets 11 years ahead of the committed time frame and non-fossil fuel targets nine years ahead of schedule. "And India did not just stop there, we remain ambitious," he said.

The country aims to reduce emissions intensity of gross domestic product by 45 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels and achieve 50 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.

It has also committed to become a net zero economy by 2070.

As part of its G20 Presidency this year, India drew consensus from the world's major economies for a Green Development Pact seeking to balance development and the environment.

The Pact shifted the conversations from the billions to the trillions needed for the energy transition. It noted that developing countries will need USD 5.8-5.9 trillion in the pre-2030 period, particularly to implement their NDCs.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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