What is holding India back from being a net-zero country?

admin November 5, 2021
Updated 2021/11/05 at 8:05 AM

John Kerry, the United States’ Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Change, said during a recent visit to India ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow that he had not received any assurances that India was working to increase its ambition to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Mr. Kerry is attempting to create momentum within the Paris Agreement framework for nations with significant CO2 emissions to commit to a target date for reaching net-zero, or achieving nil man-made emissions or ensuring their removal to achieve neutrality. India, as the world’s third-largest emitter of CO2, is under pressure to set greater goals for reducing CO2 emissions. According to the United Nations, the net-zero idea has piqued the interest of 130 nations who have committed to carbon neutrality by 2050 or are exploring it.

What steps is India doing to reduce emissions?

India is striving to decrease its emissions in order to achieve a global temperature increase of less than 2°C, as shown by its headline commitment to lower the emissions intensity of GDP by 33 percent to 35 percent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. However, it has been opposed to a legally enforceable commitment to carbon neutrality. It also contradicts the more ambitious aim of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Its significant dependence on coal is one of the difficult problems it confronts. Coal contributes to almost 70% of power production in India, according to the International Energy Agency’s India Energy Outlook 2021. Shifting power production away from coal, increasing renewable energy usage, and changing mobility via electric cars are all ways to reduce greenhouse gases that heat the environment and contribute to climate change. Some have commended India for its renewable energy goal of 450 GW by 2030, which includes solar and wind power. Following his meeting with Mr. Ker-ry, Union Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav recently said that net-zero was not the sole objective of national policy. Furthermore, domestic political opinion supports some CO2 emissions increase before peaking. The United States Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) establishes common, but differentiated, obligations for nations, with India being favoured. Some lawmakers favour a net-zero goal because it may help India move toward a greener future by encouraging investment in cutting-edge technology.

What steps are other large nations doing to achieve net-zero?

China, as the world’s biggest producer of greenhouse gases, announced to the United Nations in 2020 that it will achieve net-zero emissions by 2060. One of the most high-profile pledges is to peak CO2 emissions by 2030 and attain carbon neutrality three decades later. China’s State Council has published a guideline on the transition to a green and low-carbon circular economic development system, concentrating on industrial production, logistics, infrastructure, consumption, innovation, and supporting policies, in order to put this objective into practice. However, shifting winds in global politics have reasserted US leadership in the climate fight, and levies on unsustainable export products may have an impact on Chinese policy. Under President Joe Biden’s leadership, the United States, as the second-largest emitter with significant historical emissions, returned to the Paris Agreement with an ambitious 2050 net-zero plan. Its Department of Energy proposed two initiatives that are anticipated to create jobs: lowering the present cost of solar electricity by 60% and installing 30 GW of offshore wind power by 2030. Member states of the European Union (EU) have agreed to cut emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The EU approved climate legislation in July that commits the union to meet its 2030 emissions goal and being carbon neutral by 2050.

Why do some experts consider net zero to be contentious?

Despite the fact that a worldwide coalition has formed behind the idea, an increasingly vocal group sees it as a pointless diversion. To remove CO2 from the atmosphere, carbon neutrality relies on cutting-edge technology. This is referred to as procrastination by youth groups and some scientists since it allows the fossil fuel sector to continue growing. Many fossil fuel corporations are in favour of net-zero objectives.

What options does India have?

Reforming energy, industry, and buildings to get a better economic reward for the same amount of CO2 produced, as well as attaining improved energy efficiency in all sectors, may help to reduce emissions. State governments must be included in such a climate strategy, and national and state climate governance institutions must be established.

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