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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Our Glasgow green targets are contingent on financing from developed countries: India

“We are dead serious. Unlike some other countries, we believe in fulfilling every commitment we make. But that does not mean other countries should get a free pass," the top official in Environment Ministry told The Indian Express.

Written by Amitabh Sinha | Glasgow |
Updated: November 6, 2021 6:52:38 am
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during the "Accelerating Clean Technology Innovation and Deployment" event during UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain November 2, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS)

All the 2030 climate targets announced by India earlier this week in Glasgow, in the address by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, are contingent on receiving adequate and enabling finance from developed countries, the top official in Environment Ministry told The Indian Express.

“The Prime Minister had mentioned the failure of the developed countries to fulfil their financial commitments under the Paris Agreement and had demanded that they make available US$ 1 trillion at the earliest. Our targets for 2030, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced during his speech in Glasgow, are all contingent on the availability of this money. This will be reflected in the updated NDC (Nationally Determined Contributions) that will be submitted soon,” Environment Secretary R P Gupta said in an interview.

In his speech that made global headlines, Modi had Tuesday enhanced two of India’s three key climate targets for 2030.

An emission intensity (or emission per unit of GDP) reduction target – 33 to 35 per cent by 2030 over 2005 levels — was raised to 45 per cent, while another target for increasing the share of renewable energy in India’s installed electricity capacity by the year 2030 was enhanced to 50 per cent from the existing 40 per cent.

He also announced three new targets, including the promise to make India net-zero on emissions by the year 2070. The two other targets related to increasing India’s non-fossil fuel installed capacity to 500 GW by 2030, and avoidance of at least 1 billion tonnes of emissions between now and 2030.

Gupta said making these targets contingent on availability of international finance did not mean that India was not serious about fulfilling these.

“We are dead serious. Unlike some other countries, we believe in fulfilling every commitment we make. But that does not mean other countries should get a free pass. Developed countries are under an obligation to make finance and technology available to the developing countries. And as the Prime Minister pointed out, all their promises on finance till now have remained hollow,” he said.

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Gupta said Prime Minister Modi’s demand for $1 trillion in climate finance had two parts: one for itself, and another for developing countries in general.

“We are asking for $1 trillion in climate finance between now and 2030 to enable us to make the transitions that would lead to fulfilment of our commitments. But we are also asking that the $100 billion amount the developed world had promised to mobilise every year from 2020 be now raised to at least $1 trillion every year. Prime Minister Modi had clearly said that as the ambition of all other climate actions were being raised, the ambition on climate finance cannot remain what it was in 2015. That must be raised too. There are several assessments that estimate that the requirement of climate finance now is in trillions of dollars,” he said.

All the new targets, except the 2070 net-zero commitment, would be put in India’s updated NDC that is expected to be submitted to the UN Climate secretariat next week.

Net-zero discussion does not form part of the Paris Agreement and as such that commitment would be conveyed separately as part of India’s long-term strategy.

Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, every country is mandated to submit its climate action plan, called nationally determined contributions or NDCs, giving details of the actions it is taking to tackle climate change. Countries are expected to update their NDCs at least every five years with stronger and more ambitious actions.

Gupta said India was working earnestly to fulfil its existing commitments, and at least two of these – relating to emission intensity reduction, and increase in share of renewables in electricity capacity – would be met well before the deadline of 2030.

“Several sectors in India have been making very impressive progress on decarbonising their activities. For example, Railways alone would be avoiding about 60 million tonnes of emissions every year from 2030 once it becomes fully electric. Significant gains would be made through the 45 per cent reduction in emissions intensity by 2030. We are on track,” he said.

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