India won’t commit to ‘net zero’ goal at COP26 – ET Auto


NEW DELHI: India will not commit to the 2050 ‘net zero’ goal and the country will, along with China — despite intense friction over border issues — and other developing countries, tell the affluent nations to go for carbon neutrality much before mid-century keeping in view their own cumulative historical emissions.Though India is not against ‘net zero’ goal per se, the country will not commit to the 2050 timeline. It will strongly underline its demand for the developed world sticking to the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and the need to deliver on climate change mitigation finance.

It is, however, learnt that India may make some additional commitments or announcements, factoring in its overachievement of 2030 pledges and ambitious renewable energy goals of 450 GW, and align it with the 2047 timeline, coinciding it with 100 years of independence.

The Union cabinet will next week approve India’s formal stand at the upcoming 26th session of the UN climate conference (COP26) which is to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the US President Joe Biden, Australian PM Scott Morrison and other world leaders in person in the first week of November.”You cannot expect every country to go for ‘net zero’ goal by 2050 for the world to hit carbon neutrality by mid-century,” said an official, privy to inter-ministerial consultations on India’s position ahead of COP26.

He argued that few countries who emitted substantially in the past 150 years must go for a ‘net negative emission’ goal before 2050 to limit the global average temperature rise within 1.5 degree celsius – a red line whose breach would be extremely disastrous for the world.

This position had got traction when ministers of both India and China along with 23 other nations as part of ‘like-minded developing countries’ (LMDC) group unanimously agreed to take a common stand at COP26. The LMDC is a climate negotiation group of 25 developing countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

During an informal briefing on COP26 which is to be held in Glasgow, UK from October 31 to November 12, officials in the environment ministry on Friday said a 15-member negotiation team from India, led by environment minister Bhupender Yadav, would participate in the UN climate meet which would try to finalise rules for Article 6 (carbon markets) of the Paris Agreement and discuss different aspects of ‘loss and damage’ (concept of compensating poor and vulnerable countries hit by natural disasters).

Though the rule-book for the Paris Agreement was finalised in 2018, the countries could not reach a consensus on Article 6 mechanism – the only left over part of the climate deal. “Our consistent stand on finance and transfer of technology at affordable cost will remain on the table,” said an official. Meanwhile, the International Solar Alliance (ISA) on Thursday gave its approval to the political declaration – called ‘One Sun’ – for the launch of the ambitious Green Grid Initiative-One Sun One World One Grid (GGI-OSOWOG) at COP26. The OSOWOG is a trans-national grid that will be laid all over the globe to transport solar power to different countries.

TOI had last week reported that Modi and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will, in the presence of global leaders, formally launch the initiative. Modi will travel to the UK on October 31.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend leaders’ summit in person during November 1-2 at COP26.

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