India is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world after China and the United States.
India has rejected calls to declare a net zero carbon emissions target, saying it is more important to create a path for the world to reduce such emissions and avoid dangerous rise in global temperatures.
India, the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the United States, is under pressure to announce plans to become carbon neutral in or near the Middle Ages at next week’s climate conference in Glasgow.
However, Environment Secretary Rameshwar Prasad Gupta told reporters on Wednesday that declaring Net Zero was not the solution to the climate crisis.
“The most important thing is how much carbon you’re going to put in the atmosphere before you reach net-zero.”
The United States, Britain and the European Union have set a target of 2050 to reach net zero, at which point they will emit only a certain amount of greenhouse gases that can be absorbed by forests, crops, soil and stationary-embryo carbon capture technology.
Both China and Saudi Arabia have set 2060 targets to reach net-zero, but now without practical steps these are largely meaningless, critics say.
From now until the middle of the century, the United States will release 92 gigatonnes of carbon into the atmosphere and the EU 62 gigatonnes, Gupta said, citing calculations by the Indian government. China will add a staggering 450 gigatons within its Net Zero target date, he added.
Delegates from about 200 countries will meet in Glasgow, Scotland, from October 31 to November 12 to discuss climate change to strengthen action under the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the conference to show how the country is taking climate change seriously, officials say. Chinese President Xi Jinping is not expected.
While working towards net zero, countries are expected to announce new and stronger intermediate targets to reduce emissions.
Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav said India was on track to achieve the targets set at the 2015 Paris Conference and left the door open to revise them. “All options are on the table,” he said.
India has committed to reduce the intensity of its GDP emissions from the 2005 level by 33 to 35 percent by 2030, with a 24 percent decline by 2016.
Some environmentalists say India could reduce its emissions by as much as 40 per cent depending on whether it is money-dependent and has access to new technologies.
Yadav said he would measure the success of the Glasgow conference on how much it has disbursed in terms of climate finance to help the developing world reduce their emissions while ensuring economic growth.
Although India is now the top emitter of greenhouse gases, it has historically contributed only 4 percent of total emissions since the 1850s, the Associated Press said.
But India’s dependence on coal – the world’s second-largest consumer of fossil fuels and huge reserves – is likely to continue.
The demand for electricity is expected to increase – and the overall share of energy from coal will continue to decline – Gupta said that freeing the country from coal at the moment would affect its energy security.