India will reach net-zero emissions by 2070, Modi says
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the world's third-biggest emitter will zero out pollution by 2070, the boldest statement of intent at the opening of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland.
The country will increase its non-fossil fuel power capacity to 500 gigawatts by the end of the decade, he said, raising the country's goal from 450GW. He said half of India's electricity will come from renewable sources by 2030.
Modi also committed to increasing India's 2030 carbon intensity goal—measured as carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product —from 35% to 45%. It will also strive to produce half of its electricity using renewable energy and cut carbon-dioxide emissions 1 billion tons from business as usual by 2030.
However, the Indian leader reiterated that rich countries have to ramp up their contributions to help less developed nations decarbonize. "It is India's expectation that the world's developed nations make $1 trillion available as climate finance as soon as possible," Modi said. "Justice would demand that those nations that have not kept their climate commitments should be pressured."
India's new targets don't mean its absolute emissions will decline by the end of this decade. The goals, if met, would nonetheless help the world stem global warming compared to the current trajectory.
One of COP26 President Alok Sharma's hopes for the Glasgow summit was to eke out enough commitments from countries to keep the Paris Agreement's stretch goal of global limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius relative to pre-industrial levels within reach.
Modi's announcement is a win because it's consistent with what scientists agree is needed to meet that target. To keep temperatures from rising more than 1.5 Celsius, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects that the world has to reach net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by about mid-century and then hit net zero across all greenhouse gases by 2070.
"India's pledges are significantly more ambitious than its current NDC," said Ulka Kelkar of the World Resources Institute India, referring to commitments under the Paris accord known as Nationally Determined Contributions. "These will take the country on a low-carbon development pathway and give strong signals to every sector of industry and society."
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