India Pledges Net Zero Emissions By 2070 At Climate Summit

Story Highlights
  • Modi announced 2070 as the target for his country to reach net zero carbon emissions.
  • India stood out among top emitters, including the U.S. and China.
  • • Instead of mindless and destructive consumption, we need mindful and deliberate utilization. -Modi

Scotland: Prime Minister Narendra Modi surprised delegates at the COP26 climate summit with a bold pledge: the world’s third-biggest emitter will reach net-zero by 2070. Though India’s goal is 2 decades behind rich nations such as the U.S. and U.K., it’s compatible with what scientists say is needed to avoid catastrophic global warming. India stood out among top emitters, including the U.S. and China that were being closely watched at the conference. President Joe Biden didn’t bring anything substantially new to the table. Meanwhile, China’s Xi Jinping didn’t attend in person and offered no new plans to cut emissions. 

The challenge for India is figuring out how to finance the transition to net zero, which will require trillions of dollars of investment. Modi reiterated his stance that rich countries should help support poor nations by raising more money to accelerate the transition to clean energy. India’s 2030 target for low-emission energy capacity to 500 GW from 450 GW and pledged to produce half the country’s electricity using renewable energy. India will also cut carbon-dioxide emissions by 1 billion tons from business as usual by the end of the decade. To deliver on the 2070 goal, the country still has to lay out a detailed plan for the 40 years in between.

Modi’s announcement is consistent with what research shows is needed to meet that target. It’s in India’s self-interest to stem global warming, even if the problem was caused mainly by carbon dioxide accumulated in the atmosphere by countries that industrialized first. The nation of 1.3 billion people is one of the most vulnerable to climate impacts. Extreme weather events like heatwaves, floods and disruptions to the rainy monsoon season will have devastating impacts.

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