India rejects calls for net zero carbon emissions target
India, one of the world’s top emitters of greenhouse gases, rejected calls for a net-zero emissions target on Wednesday, arguing that the world should focus on a plan for reducing emissions instead.
India’s environment secretary R.P. Gupta said on Wednesday that announcing goals of net-zero emissions was not how the climate crisis would be resolved, Reuters reported.
“It is how much carbon you are going to put in the atmosphere before reaching net zero that is more important,” he said.
Gupta’s remarks come just days before world leaders are set to convene in Glasgow for the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). Last week, it was finally confirmed that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi would attend the high-stakes climate meeting.
India is the third-highest emitter of greenhouses gases, behind China and the U.S. Chinese President Xi Jinping is not expected to attend the meeting, though a Chinese delegation will likely be present.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, leader of the fourth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, will not be attending in person but will take part virtually.
Reuters noted that India has committed to reducing the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030, based on emission levels seen in 2005. Environmental experts have said that India should consider a reduction of up to 40 percent depending on finances and new technologies.
Indian Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav said he would be measuring the success of COP26 based on how much financing is delivered for developing countries to reduce their emissions while ensuring economic growth.