World Environment Day: What we know about India’s net zero emissions goal | Latest India News


Shortly after the Biden administration took over and pledged to resume its commitment to climate change, which had been pushed into the background for four years during Donald Trump’s tenure, the special envoy of the US Climate Chair John Kerry visited India ahead of the Leaders’ Climate Summit. . The United States has assured the world of its commitment to a net zero emissions goal for 2050.

The move was seen as the country’s bid to reclaim its position as a global climate leader, even as several other countries, including the UK and France, have already enacted legislation aimed at achieving a net zero emissions scenario. by the middle of the century. On the other hand, developed countries like Canada, South Korea, Japan and Germany have also expressed their intention to commit to a net zero future. Even China has promised to go to net zero by 2060.

However, India, the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, after the United States and China, has yet to show any urgency. During his last visit, Kerry aimed to talk about New Delhi softening his stance and exploring the possibility of committing to net zero by 2050.

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Recently, Ravi Shankar Prasad, a former additional secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, and one of the main negotiators for India at global climate meetings, said that “the goal of net zero emissions is unfair to developing countries like India”. .

“While the feasibility and effectiveness of such a strategy for all countries is questionable, it also strikes at the root of the fundamental principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Simultaneously, it undermines the achievement of a climate-just world,” he wrote in an article published in the Indian Express.

What is Net Zero?

Net zero, also known as carbon neutrality, is a state in which a country’s emissions are offset by the absorption and removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Absorption of emissions can be increased by creating more carbon sinks such as forests, while removing gases from the atmosphere requires advanced technologies such as carbon capture and storage. Net-zero does not mean that a country would reduce its emissions to zero. Through carbon absorption, it is possible for nations to have negative emissions, if such absorption and removal of greenhouse gases exceeds actual emissions. Bhutan is a good example of this and is often referred to as a “carbon negative” country because it absorbs more than it emits.

Why the push for net zero?

Countries are under pressure to commit to a goal of net zero emissions by 2050. Some believe that the only way to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of stopping the planet’s temperature from rising beyond 2°C below pre-industrial times is to achieve global carbon neutrality by 2050. Scientists and environmental experts fear that current policies and actions against reducing emissions may not prevent even a 3-4°C increase in surface temperature by the end of the century. The net zero formulation assigns no emission reduction targets to any country. Moreover, the uncontrolled emissions of rich and developed countries over the past decades are largely responsible for global warming and the resulting irreversible climate change.

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A country can become carbon neutral at its current level of emissions, or even by increasing its emissions, if it is able to absorb carbon or remove more greenhouse gases. From the perspective of the developed world, this is a great relief, because now the burden is shared by everyone, and not just on them.

What are India’s objections?

India is opposed to the net zero emissions target as it is likely to be the most affected by it. Over the next two to three decades, India’s emissions are expected to grow at the fastest rate in the world as it aggressively pushes for growth and development on all fronts. No amount of afforestation or reforestation would be able to compensate for the increase in emissions on the scale envisaged. Additionally, most carbon removal technologies today are either unreliable or expensive.

India’s arguments are not without merit. The net zero goal is not in the 2015 Paris Agreement. It only requires signatory nations to take the best possible climate action. Countries need to set five- or ten-year climate goals for themselves and the results. Apart from this, countries are also required to set more ambitious targets than the previous one for each subsequent period.

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The implementation of the Paris Agreement has started recently and the majority of countries have submitted their nationally determined targets with the aim of achieving them by 2025 or 2030. India’s argument is that countries must focus on delivering what they have already promised instead of opening a parallel discussion on net zero goals outside the Paris Agreement framework.

Where are the other countries?

The data shows that India is the only G-20 country whose climate actions are in line with the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global temperatures from rising above 2°C. Even the European Union’s actions, often seen as climate progressive, are deemed “insufficient” while India is praised for doing more, relatively speaking, on climate change than many other countries.

Rich-poor divide in the climate objective

India has often pointed out that developed countries have failed to deliver on their past climate change promises and commitments. No major country has met the emission reduction targets assigned to it under the Kyoto Protocol, the climate policies that were in place before the Paris agreement. While some countries have openly left the Kyoto Protocol without any consequences, none of them have kept the promises they made for 2020.

Developed countries have also failed in their commitment to provide money and technology to developing and poor countries to help them mitigate the impacts of climate change.

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India has urged developed countries to take more ambitious climate action now to make up for broken promises of the past.

However, India says it is too early to rule out the possibility of achieving carbon neutrality by mid-century, although it does not want to make any international commitments at this stage.


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