Environment experts have hailed India’s pledge to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2070 on Monday as “real climate action”, and said that by making these big promises at COP26 at Glasgow, India has put the ball in the court of developed nations to fulfil the promise of climate finance.
Lauding the national statement delivered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 26th International Climate Conference in Glasgow, experts said that India is rightly demanding one trillion dollars from the developed nations.
“I want to congratulate PM Modi and India for making a bold statement for low-carbon development. India has clearly put the ball in the court of the developed world. This is real climate action,” said Arunabha Ghosh, CEO and Founder of Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW).
“Now, India demands one trillion dollars of climate finance as soon as possible and will monitor not just climate action, but deliver climate finance. Most importantly, India has called, once again, for a change in lifestyles. If we cannot fix how we live, we cannot fix the planet on which we live,” Ghosh said.
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Aarti Khosla, Director of Climate Trends, said that by announcing a commitment for achieving net zero targets by 2070, India had responded positively to the global call and it was the best climate action in Glasgow on Monday.
“The commitment of 500GW of renewable energy by 2030, which is more than twice the installed capacity of coal currently, should set the stage for a quick transformation of the energy sector, the kind of which has not been witnessed so far,” Khosla said.
“Ensuring that the new energy regime does not bring the pitfalls of the current regime will be fundamental. Solar and wind are poised to emerge as the future in the net zero world,” Khosla added.
PM Modi, in his address at the ongoing COP26 on Monday, announced a bold pledge that India would achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2070, and asserted that it is the only country that is delivering in “letter and spirit” the commitments on tackling climate change under the Paris Agreement.
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PM Modi also raised the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) of achieving 450 giga watt non-fossil energy capacity to 500 giga watt, among other commitments, including reducing carbon emissions.
Director General of International Solar Alliance (ISA) Ajay Mathur said that reducing one billion tonnes of emissions by 2030, and expanding non-fossil’s capacity to 500 GW are enormous and transformative steps.
“Fifty per cent of electricity generation from renewable energy sources speaks of India’s leadership and commitment to climate action. The Prime Minister has made bold announcements and led India from the front at the onset of the Glasgow meeting,” Mathur said.
Chandra Bhushan, CEO of iForest, said that these steps would go a long way in solving the climate crisis.
“India’s announcement of an ambitious 2030 target and a Net zero target is a big step for climate collaboration. I congratulate the PM for announcing this bold step which will go a long way in greening the Indian economy and solving the climate crisis,” Bhushan said.
Sharing a similar view, Vaibhav Chaturvedi, Fellow at CEEW, said that by announcing the net-zero year, the PM has also accorded a red carpet to foreign and domestic investors who want to invest in research and development, manufacturing, and deployment of green technologies in India.
“India’s efforts though will have to be supported by the availability of climate finance from developed countries. Without foreign capital, on concessional terms, this transition will prove to be difficult,” Chaturvedi said.
“According to CEEW’s Implications of a Net-zero Target for India’s Sectoral Energy Transitions and Climate Policy study, India’s total installed solar power capacity would need to increase to over 5,600 gigawatts to achieve net-zero by 2070,” Chaturvedi added.
Elaborating further, Chaturvedi said that the usage of coal, especially for power generation, would need to drop by 99 percent by 2060, for India to achieve net-zero by 2070.
“Also, consumption of crude oil, across sectors, would need to peak by 2050, and fall substantially by 90 per cent between 2050 and 2070. Green hydrogen could contribute 19 percent of the total energy needs of the industrial sector,” Chaturvedi said.
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PM Modi has announced that India has updated the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) at the COP26, for the first time since 2015.
In 2015, India had committed to achieving 40 per cent of all installed electricity generation capacity to be from non-fossil energy sources by 2030.
As per the new NDC, 50 per cent of electricity generation will come from renewable energy sources by 2030, and the target of achieving 450 giga watt non-fossil energy capacity has been increased to 500 giga watt by 2030.
For the first time, India announced the target of achieving net-zero emission by 2070, and that it will reduce carbon emissions by one billion tonnes by 2030. These were not a part of the 2015 NDCs.