IN A new announcement, India on Friday said that by next year it would draw up a plan to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in the “long-term”. This mention has been made in the joint statement issued by India and France following the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Emmanuel Macron in Paris. France has made a similar commitment in the joint statement.
Currently, as part of the global effort to fight climate change, India has set a few targets for itself for the year 2030. Most other countries also have targets for the year 2025 or 2030. Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries need to make their next set of commitments, for the period beyond 2030, only by 2025.
However, there is a growing pressure on countries, at least the major emitters, from civil society organisations and scientific community to formulate and commit to a longer-range climate action plan. This, it is hoped, would bring in greater predictability in assessing whether the world was on course to avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change or not.
In the last few months, many countries, including the United Kingdom, have spoken about their intention to become “net-zero” by the year 2050. There has been a move to encourage countries like India, which is the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, to commit to a similar target.
It is learnt that France wanted India to put this commitment in the joint statement, but New Delhi resisted. As a compromise, the two countries only agreed to “develop by 2020 their long-term strategies for low-GHG emission development. reflecting the highest possible level of national ambition”. The long-term strategies are unlikely to have any specific targets like the ones in India’s current plan for 2030.
As part of its contribution in the global fight against climate change, India has made three main promises — that it will reduce its emission intensity, or emission per unit of GDP, by 33 to 35 per cent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels, that it will ensure that at least 40 per cent of its electricity in 2030 will come from non-fossil fuel sources, and that it will create 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of additional carbon sink through forests.
India has said it hoped not just to fulfil the targets in the time-frame but even over-achieve them. However, it is wary of taking on higher targets or commit to longer-term promises in the absence of similar commitments from other major countries.