Ahead of UN climate summit, India rejects net zero carbon emissions target

Instead, rich countries need to acknowledge their 'historic responsibility' for emissions and protect the interests of developing nations, New Delhi says

India is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the United States

Days before the Cop26 climate summit, India has said setting net zero carbon emissions targets is not the solution to climate change.

Instead, rich countries need to acknowledge their “historic responsibility“ for emissions and protect the interests of developing nations and those vulnerable to climate change, Bhupender Yadav, ministry of environment, forest and climate change, said on Wednesday.

However, the country is committed to “being part of the solution” at the upcoming United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Yadav said.

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The minister India was on track to achieve targets set at the 2015 Paris conference and left the door open to revising them. “All options are on the table.”

India is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the United States.

Environment Secretary R P Gupta told reporters that announcing net zero was not the solution to the climate crisis.

“It is how much carbon you are going to put in the atmosphere before reaching net zero that is more important.”

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The US, Britain and the European Union have set a target date of 2050 to reach net zero, by which point they will only emit an amount of greenhouse gases that can be absorbed by forests, crops, soils and carbon capture technology.

Representatives of nearly 200 countries will meet in Glasgow, Scotland, from October 31-November 12 for climate talks to strengthen action to tackle global warming under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the conference, officials say. Chinese President Xi Jinping is not expected.

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