COP26: India will reach net zero emissions by 2070, says PM Modi

Topics Narendra Modi | Climate Change | COP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (centre), with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left), and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the COP26 UN Climate Summit Photo: PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday gave a five-pronged target for India and finally committed to a Net Zero emission target by 2070, joining the likes of the US, the UK and China.

“I am giving a panchamrit — five targets that India is committing to join the global fight for climate change — by 2030. Our non-fossil capacity will touch 500 Gw and 50 per cent of our energy needs will come from renewable energy sources. From now to 2030, the projected carbon emissions will reduce by 1 billion tonnes and our overall carbon intensity of the economy will see a 45 per cent reduction.”

In line with expectations from the UK and the US, he said India would be a Net Zero economy by 2070. 

Net Zero is achieved when the amount of greenhouse gas produced is offset by the amount removed from the atmosphere. This entails no future investment in coal or fossil fuels and greening several industries and economies.

Modi also upped the renewable energy target of the country to 500 Gw by 2030. It was 450 Gw earlier. India’s current RE capacity stands at 175 Gw.

“Today India’s installed renewable capacity is fourth in the world. In the last seven years, our non-fossil fuel energy has seen 25 per cent growth and the share of green energy in the mix reached 40 per cent,” Modi said, adding that India’s national transporter, Indian Railways, had declared a Net Zero target year of 2030.

“This entails 60 million tonnes of emission reduction every year. Another 40 million tonne emissions reduction will come from our LED programme,” Modi said.

He spoke of several other initiatives of India, including the International Solar Alliance (ISA), and said India had joined the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.

He asked the developed world to increase financing to meet the enhanced targets that India had declared. 

“India has raised its ambition in setting its targets. They also need to raise ambitions in climate finance and tech transfer. The world cannot achieve newer targets with old goals of climate finance,” Modi said. 

India is the only country to fulfil commitments made in Paris. India is putting climate change at the centre of its policies, Modi said.

"Whole world thinks is only one economy which has worked Paris agreement on letter and spirit and it is India," said the PM.  

The US has declared Net zero by 2050, same as the UK. China has net zero target year 2060. 

India has been long pressed by global leaders to declare a net zero target. From the US, John Kerry, special Presidential envoy for climate change, has long pressed India to declare a headline ‘Net Zero’ target. On his last visit to India, Kerry termed India a “red-hot investment destination” for the solar sector, saying the country has set an example for developing nations by reaching 100 Gw of renewable energy capacity.

Speaking at the same event, Joe Biden, the US President said his government has proposed to quadruple the climate financing by the US by 2024 for adaptation efforts. He said the country will try to meet the $100 billion annual financing target of developed world to developing countries. 

A day before, Bhupendra Yadav, union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, said developed countries have not only failed to meet the $100 billion goal per year of support to developing countries. 

Delivering the statement on behalf of the BASIC group of countries, comprising Brazil, South Africa, India and China at the UN Climate Change Conference underway at Glasgow, Yadav said, "In a context where developing countries, including BASIC countries, have massively stepped up their climate actions since 2009, it is unacceptable that there is still no matching ambition from developed countries on the enabling means of implementation on climate finance support."

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