Shortly after the Biden administration took over and pledged to resume its commitment to climate change, which took a backseat for four years during the tenure of Donald Trump, the President’s special envoy. for the climate, John Kerry, visited India ahead of the climate leaders’ summit. . The United States has assured the world of its commitment to a net zero emissions target for 2050.
The move was seen as an attempt by the country to reclaim its position as a global climate leader, even as several other countries, including the UK and France, have already enacted legislation aimed at achieving a net emission scenario. zero by mid-century. On the other hand, developed countries such as Canada, South Korea, Japan and Germany have also expressed their intention to commit to a net zero future. Even China has pledged to reach net zero by 2060.
However, India, the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, after the United States and China, has yet to be sharp. On her last visit, Kerry aimed to speak to New Delhi by easing her stance and exploring the possibility of committing to a net zero goal by 2050.
Click here for the latest environmental updates
Recently, Ravi Shankar Prasad, former additional secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, and one of the main negotiators for India at global climate meetings, said that “the goal of zero net emissions is unfair to developing countries like India. ” .
“While the feasibility and effectiveness of such a strategy for all countries is questionable, it also strikes at the root of the basic principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). At the same time, it undermines the achievement of a climate just world, ”he wrote in an article published in the Indian Express.
What is the net zero goal?
Net zero, also known as carbon neutrality, is a state in which a country’s emissions are offset by the absorption and removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Emissions absorption can be increased by creating more carbon sinks such as forests, while removing gases from the atmosphere requires advanced technologies such as carbon capture and storage. Net-zero does not mean that a country would reduce its emissions to zero. Through carbon absorption, it is possible for nations to have negative emissions if this absorption and elimination of greenhouse gases exceeds actual emissions. Bhutan is one example and is often referred to as a “carbon negative” nation because it absorbs more than it emits.
Why the push for the net-zero goal?
Countries are under pressure to commit to a net zero emissions goal by 2050. Some believe that the only way to meet the Paris Agreement goal of keeping the planet’s temperature from d ‘rising above 2 ° C from pre-industrial times is to achieve global carbon neutrality by 2050. Scientists and environmental experts fear that current policies and actions against emissions reductions may prevent even a 3 to 4 ° C increase in surface temperature by the end of the century. The zero net formulation does not assign any emission reduction targets to any country. In addition, the uncontrolled emissions of rich and developed countries over the past decades are largely responsible for global warming and the resulting irreversible climate change.
READ MORE: Launch of UNEP report today. All you need to know
A country can become carbon neutral at its current level of emissions, or even increase its emissions, if it is able to absorb more carbon or eliminate more greenhouse gases. From the point of view of the developed world, this is a great relief, because now the burden is shared by everyone, and not just on them.
What are India’s objections?
India is opposed to the net zero emissions target because it is likely to be the most affected by it. Over the next two to three decades, India’s emissions are expected to grow at the fastest rate in the world as it aggressively pushes for growth and development on all fronts. No amount of afforestation or reforestation would be able to offset the increase in emissions on the scale envisaged. In addition, most carbon removal technologies are currently unreliable or expensive.
India’s arguments are not without merit. The net zero target is not in the 2015 Paris Agreement. Signatory countries just need to take the best possible climate action. Countries need to set five- or ten-year climate goals for themselves and the results. Apart from this, countries are also required to set more ambitious targets than the previous one for each subsequent timeline.
READ MORE: Global average temperature could exceed 1.5 ° Celsius in next 5 years
The implementation of the Paris Agreement has started recently and the majority of countries have submitted their nationally determined targets with the goal of achieving them by 2025 or 2030. India’s argument is that countries must focus on achieving what they have already promised instead of opening a parallel discussion on net zero goals outside the framework of the Paris Agreement.
Where are the other countries?
Data shows India is the only G-20 country whose climate actions are in line with the Paris Agreement target of preventing global temperatures from exceeding 2 ° C. Even the actions of the European Union, often seen as climate progressive, are seen as “insufficient” while India is praised for doing more, relatively speaking, on climate change than many other countries.
Target for the climate between rich and poor
India has often pointed out that developed countries have failed to deliver on past promises and commitments on climate change. No large country has met the emission reduction targets assigned to it under the Kyoto Protocol, the climate policies that were in place before the Paris Agreement. While some countries have openly withdrawn from the Kyoto Protocol without any consequences, none of them have kept the promises they made for 2020.
Developed countries have also failed in their commitment to provide money and technology to developing countries and poor countries to help them mitigate the impacts of climate change.
ALSO READ: On World Environment Day, India’s Top Ten Concerns
India has insisted that developed countries now take more ambitious climate action to make up for broken promises of the past.
However, India says it is too early to rule out the possibility of achieving carbon neutrality by mid-century, even though it is unwilling to make any international commitment at this point.