India’s economy will become carbon neutral by the year 2070, said prime minister, Narendra Modi at the COP26 climate crisis summit in Glasgow.
However, the target date is two decades beyond what scientists say is needed to avert catastrophic climate impacts. Scientists have said the world needs to halve global emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
India is so far the last of the world’s major carbon polluters to announce a net-zero target, with China saying it would reach that goal in 2060, and the United States and the European Union aiming for 2050.
“By 2070, India will achieve the target of net-zero emissions,” Modi said at the summit which was attended by more than 120 leaders. The prime minister has also said that India would increase its 2030 target for an installed capacity of “non-fossil energy” – mostly solar – from 450 to 500 gigawatts.
In addition, 50 percent of the country’s energy requirements will come from renewable sources by that year. Also, the carbon intensity of India’s economy – the number of goods produced per unit of energy – would be reduced by 45 percent by 2030. The previous goal was 35 percent.
Modi made it clear however that emissions-cutting pledges from India and other developing nations would require finance from rich and historic emitters. “Instead of mindless and destructive consumption we need mindful and deliberate utilisation,” he said, citing consumer choices in areas from packaging to diet. He said that it was more important for the world to lay out credible pathways to reduce emissions. India is currently the world’s third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the US. However, given the size of the population it has the lowest per capita emissions of the world’s major economies – emitting 5 per cent of the total.