“India will achieve net zero emissions by 2070.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement at the COP26 Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, on Monday made headlines around the world and in India.
Submission of the national declaration to @ COP26 Glasgow Summit. https://t.co/SdKi5LBQNM
– Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 1, 2021
The net zero commitment was part of the prime minister’s new climate change goals and quickly became one of the most applauded and most cherished sentiments of the meeting, where several other world leaders and activists pledged to improve the situation.
As experts praise Modi for his bold and historic speech, we want to understand what net zero emissions are and why they are vital in the fight against climate change.
Net zero emissions
Net zero emissions have long been part of the lexicon on climate change. However, many are still confused about zero emissions and net zero emissions.
To clarify: Achieving zero emissions means not releasing any greenhouse gases into the atmosphere – i.e. no carbon dioxide (CO2), no methane, no laughing gas or other greenhouse gases offset by removing an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and permanently in the soil, plants or Materials is saved.
India and net zero emissions
According to the EC, Emissions Database for Global Atomspheric Research, India is currently the fourth largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, after China and the United States and the European Union.
China has announced plans to be carbon neutral by 2060, while the US and EU are targeting net zero by 2050.
In his National Declaration, Narendra Modi listed five promises (he called them Panchamrite). They are:
• Increase the country’s energy capacity based on non-fossil fuels to 500 GW by 2030
• By 2030, 50 percent of the country’s energy needs are to be met from renewable energy sources
• The country will reduce total projected CO2 emissions by 2030 by one billion tons
• The CO2 intensity of the economy would drop to below 45 percent by 2030
• The country would become climate neutral and achieve net zero emissions by 2070
Reactions to reaching net zero by 2070
A PTI The report quoted Aarti Khosla, director of Climate Trends, as saying, “By announcing a commitment to net zero targets by 2070, India responded positively to the global call and it was the best climate action in Glasgow today . “
“It will be of fundamental importance to ensure that the new energy regime does not entail the pitfalls of the current regime. Solar and wind will emerge as the future in the net zero world, ”she said.
“PM Modi broke the rhetoric and made a big promise for climate action from India. Reducing one billion tonnes of emissions by 2030 and expanding non-fossil fuel capacities to 500 GW are huge and transformative steps, ”said Ajay Mathur, General Director, International Solar Alliance (ISA).
Chandra Bhushan, CEO of iForest, said these steps will go a long way in solving the climate crisis. “India’s announcement of an ambitious target for 2030 and a net zero target is a big step for climate cooperation. I congratulate the Prime Minister on announcing this bold move, which will go a long way towards greening the Indian economy and solving the climate crisis, ”he said.
Why is Net Zero Critical?
The Climate Council explains: “Climate change is not a tap that we can turn off if we do without fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide, the main driver of climate change, will remain in the atmosphere and warm the planet for years. So reducing greenhouse gas emissions is extremely important, but we cannot stop there. The ultimate goal is to rebalance the scales and bring the global climate back to pre-climate levels. To get there we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero AND then work to repair past damage by reducing past emissions. “
How can India achieve this?
A study co-authored by former vice-chairman of the former planning commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, entitled “Getting Net Zero Approach for India at CoP26, says that the best short-term goal for the country is a planned exit from the coal-based energy industry.
Another option would be to increase the green spaces in the country. In fact, over 100 world leaders have pledged to end and reverse deforestation by 2030.
The more complex way to remove carbon dioxide from the air would be through carbon capture and storage, which would use new technologies to prevent the CO2 from entering the atmosphere.
It remains to be seen whether India can achieve these goals, but it is historic for the nation as it has committed itself to this goal for the first time ever.
With inputs from agencies
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