Glasgow Climate Meet: India doesn’t rule out ‘net zero’ Commitment

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    In News

    • CoP 26 is soon to begin in Glasgow with focus on commitment to Net Zero.
      • India doesn’t rule out ‘net zero’ commitment but insists on earlier pledges for tech transfer funds from developed countries.

    Focus of the Meeting

    • To have all nations commit to a ‘net zero’, or a year by when a country’s fossil fuel emissions would peak and at some point be neutralised.
      • All countries doing this by 2050, would mean a chance of restricting average temperature rise to 1.5 Celsius.
        • Provided emissions fall to around 45% of 2010 levels by 2030.
    • Deep and significant cuts to fossil fuel use.
      • This could affect the development trajectory of India and other developing countries.

    India’s Stand 

    • India hasn’t entirely ruled out the possibility of agreeing to a ‘net zero’ target.
      • A study by the think tank Council for Energy Environment and Water projects that for India to achieve a net-zero target by 2070, 
        • Usage of coal especially for power generation would need to peak by 2040 and drop by 99% between 2040 and 2060. 
        • The consumption of crude oil across sectors would also need to peak by 2050 and fall substantially by 90% between 2050 and 2070. 
    • India will not budge on demands from developed nations on making good on previous commitments such as
      • An annual $100 billion to developing countries for mitigating the impacts of climate change
      • Facilitating technology transfer 
      • Putting in place a tangible market-based mechanism to activate the moribund carbon credit markets.
    • Even if India doesn’t announce a net zero target, it may update its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)
      • That could include higher clean-energy targets or reductions in specific categories of emissions.
    • India and the United Kingdom have agreed to strengthen climate initiatives and further their green partnership.
      • India would support the UK’s COP Presidency, wishing COP26 to be the COP of action and implementation.

    Objections and Apprehensions of India in achieving Net Zero

    • High Hunger and Poverty:
      • India is always determined to eschew the use of fossil fuel but only gradually.
      • It cannot compromise on development, that is now primarily reliant on coal.
      • Even the recent Global Hunger Index has put India much behind as compared to its neighbours.
    • Against Common but Differentiated Responsibility:
      • Also as it goes against the core principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibility’ 
        • Which requires developed countries, who are responsible for the climate crisis, to take on deeper cuts 
        • Also, to pay developing countries for the environmental damage from rising temperature and finance their transition to clean energy sources. 

    What is Net-zero?

    • Net-zero is also referred to as carbon-neutrality.
    • It is a state in which a country’s emissions are compensated by absorption and removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
    • It does not mean that a country would bring down its emissions to zero. 
    • Absorption of the emissions can be increased by 
      • Creating more carbon sinks such as forests, 
      • Removal of gases from the atmosphere by technologies carbon capture and storage.

    Why a call for net-zero?

    • For the last two years, a very active campaign has been going on to get every country to sign on to a net-zero goal for 2050. 
    • It is being considered as the only way to achieve the Paris Agreement target 
      • To keep the planet’s temperature from rising beyond 2°C compared to pre-industrial times.
    • The net-zero formulation does not assign any emission reduction targets on any country.

    India: Transforming to a Net-Zero Emissions Energy System

    • A report released jointly by TERI(The Energy and Resources Institute) and Shell.
    • It draws a pathway for the domestic energy system towards net-zero emissions by 2050, while achieving India’s sustainable economic development ambitions.

    India’s NDC 

    • India, the world’s third largest emitter.
      • India’s average per capita emissions was 1.96 tons/person/annum, the European Union’s was 8.4 and the United States was 18.
    • In 2015 NDCs India committed to 
      • Increase the share of non-fossil fuel sources to 40% 
      • Reduce its emissions intensity per unit of GDP by nearly 33-35% of 2005 levels 
      • Create a carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent.
    • Contribution of Corporates
      • Indian corporates are also stepping up, 
        • The Tata Group winning awards on sustainability, 
        • Mahindra committed to net-zero by 2040, and Reliance by 2035.

    Source: TH

    Why should India commit to the net zero target ?

    • National interest:
      • It is among the most vulnerable countries to climate change and, thus, should be the most active ones against the threats.
    • International Influence: 
      • India is a rising power,and thus needs to  seek stronger global influence.
      • India’s reluctance to commit to the target would be a significant drag on India’s diplomacy.
    • Economic Implications:
      • A trade-off between reducing emissions and economic growth is very difficult.
      • The negative impacts of climate change in India’s economic development is now central to success, not an added luxury to consider.
      • For Instance, the U.K. has reduced emissions by over 40% and grown its economy by over 70% since 1990.
      • Solar energy costs have fallen 90% in recent years, providing the cheapest electricity India has ever seen.

    Way Ahead

    • International cooperation:
      • Stronger political engagement with stronger policy support in areas like 
        • Energy policy, 
        • Carbon markets, 
        • Technology Transfer,
        • Economic recovery.
    • Decarbonizing investment:
      • Focus should be on zero-emissions transport
      • New technologies to decarbonise sectors like steel, cement, and chemicals, and agriculture offer significant scope to raise ambition.

    Source: TH