India will get its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 gigawatt by 2030
India will meet 50 per cent of its energy requirements till 2030 with renewable energy
India will reduce its projected carbon emission by one billion tonnes by 2030
India will reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by 45 per cent by 2030
India will achieve net zero by 2070
He also said it was common knowledge that the promises made till now on climate finance were useless.
“When we all are increasing our ambitions on climate action, the world’s ambition could not stay the same on climate finance as was agreed at the time of Paris,” he said.
Modi began his address by saying that the 2015 Paris CoP (where the Paris Agreement was signed) was not a summit for him but a sentiment.
“At Paris, India was making promises not to the world but to itself and 1.3 billion Indians,” he said.
“We are 17 per cent of the world’s population but contribute only five per cent of emissions. Yet, we have left no stone unturned in doing our bit to fight climate change,” Modi said.
India was fourth as far as installed renewable energy capacity was concerned.
A major part of the world’s commuters travelled on the Indian Railways. The Railways has pledged to make itself net zero by 2030. “This will result in an annual 60 million tonnes reduction in emissions,” he said.
“We initiated the International Solar Alliance for solar energy. We have also set up the coalition for disaster resilient infrastructure for climate adaptation. This is an important and sensitive step to save thousands of lives,” the prime minister noted.
CoP26: Why is forest-rich India staying away from Glasgow Declaration
India, one of the 10 most forest-rich countries of the world, chose to stay away November 2, 2021, as more than 100 world leaders committed to saving the world’s forests at the 26th Conference of Parties (CoP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Glasgow, Scotland.
India apparently took the step as it was not happy with the effort to link infrastructure development and related activities with the conservation of forests in the prepared text, according to an Indian representative.
The text of the final declaration linked transformative action in the related areas of sustainable production and consumption, infrastructure development, trade as well as finance and investment.
The Glasgow Declaration said:
We recognise that to meet our land use, climate, biodiversity and sustainable development goals, both globally and nationally, will require transformative further action in the interconnected areas of sustainable production and consumption, infrastructure development, trade, finance and investment and support for smallholders, indigenous peoples and local communities, who depend on forests for their livelihoods and have a key role in their stewardship.
An Indian representative told this reporter that the linkage proposed between trade, climate change and forest issues was unacceptable to India as it fell under the World Trade Organization.
India is also mulling changes to the existing Forest Conservation Act, 1980 to allow more windows of deforestation for accommodating key projects. It is an effort that might be pushed back once India becomes part of the forest pact as proposed in Glasgow.
This law has been instrumental in reducing deforestation as it requires approval from the central government when forests have to be diverted for non-forestry purposes.
The regulatory mechanism of forest clearances allows the ministry to deliberate on whether deforestation should be permitted or not and what the conditions should be if such a permit is granted.
On November 2, leaders committed $19 billion of public and private funds to “halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030”. They represented close to nine-tenth of world forests. The Declaration was hailed as the “biggest step” in protecting global forests.
Countries spanning from Canada and Russia, with their northern boreal or taiga forests to the tropical rainforests of Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo endorsed the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use.
Together, they contain 85 per cent of the world’s forests, an area of over 13 million square miles.
Forests, being the lungs of our planet, absorb around a third of the global carbon dioxide released from burning fossil fuels every year. But the gas is stated to be lost at an alarming rate, with an area of forest equivalent to the size of 27 football pitches getting lost every minute.
Of the approximately $19 billion committed, $12 billion will be public finance, that will be committed by 12 countries including the UK within the time frame of 2021-2025.
The money will support activities in developing countries, including restoring degraded land, tackling wildfires and supporting the rights of indigenous communities.
There will also be $7.2 billion of private sector funding from more than 30 financial institutions.
The UK will commit £1.5bn ($2.4 billion) over five years to support the forests pledge, including support for tropical forests in Indonesia and to protect the Congo Basin.
The area is home to the second-largest tropical rainforest in the world which is threatened by industrial logging, mining and agriculture.
Governments representing 75 per cent of global trade in key commodities that can threaten forests — such as palm oil, cocoa and soya — will also sign up to a new Forests, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Statement.
Currently, almost a quarter (23 per cent) of global emissions come from land use activity, such as logging, deforestation and farming.
Protecting forests and ending damaging land use is one of the most important things the world can do to limit catastrophic global warming, while also protecting the lives and futures of the 1.6 billion people worldwide — nearly 25 per cent of the world’s population — who rely on forests for their livelihoods.
Nations must realise they are not in a competitive race but trying to outrun the clock
In a surprise move at COP26 in Glasgow, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India will commit to ambitious, enhanced climate targets and cuts in carbon emissions in its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
There were promises to increase non-fossil fuel energy capacity to 500 GW, meet 50% energy from renewable energy, reduce emissions by one billion tonnes, and bring down the economy’s carbon intensity below 45%, all by 2030.
Finally, the PM made the much-awaited declaration: to reach Net Zero emissions by 2070. The announcement came as a surprise given that India had given no assurances to visiting western climate negotiators before the conference, and had not filed updated NDCs by the deadline last month.
Earlier, the G20 summit in Rome ended without any new commitments on climate change, and India’s G20 Sherpa and Minister Piyush Goyal had said that India could not “identify a year” for ending net carbon emissions (ensuring carbon dioxide emissions are absorbed by the use of technology and lowering output), unless the developed world committed to funding India’s energy transition and enabled clean technology transfers on a much higher scale.
Mr. Goyal even suggested that India could not switch to non-fossil fuel and end coal-based thermal plants unless it was made a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, where it is being blocked by China and a number of other countries.
Mr. Modi’s pledges in 2021 will require an almost immediate shift in the Government’s priorities if it wishes to meet its first few goals in just eight years.
According to one estimate (the Centre for Science and Environment), the promise to reduce emissions by one billion tonnes would need a reduction in India’s carbon output by a massive 22% by 2030.
On Net Zero, the target of 2070 is two decades after the global goal at mid-century, and would require the world’s other growing economies including China to peak emissions, preferably by 2030 itself.
India meets about 12% of its electricity needs through renewable energy, and ramping that up to 50% by 2030 will be a tall ask too. If the Government realises Mr. Modi’s promises in Glasgow, India will be a global beacon in fighting climate change and ensuring sustainable development.
At the least, it is hoped the commitments will inspire other countries to keep their word, particularly the developed world that has lagged behind in fulfilling combined promises of billions of dollars to fund emerging economies, LDCs and the most climate vulnerable countries in the global South.
When it comes to climate change, countries must remember they are not in competition with one another, but trying together to outrun the clock.