India Wants to be A Good Climate Learner But Warns the West
India is stepping up pressure ahead of the Glasgow climate conference in early November. Although, on the one hand, the country reiterates that it will do better than the proposed goals of Paris and move towards (much) more renewable energy, on the other hand, it also sounds that “further efforts will depend on the financial support given by the rich countries.”
India is the world’s fourth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, after China, the United States and the European Union. Therefore, the country’s plans are not unimportant in the light of stopping or slowing down global warming, especially since India is an emerging economy.
The good news is that India confirms that it will accelerate achieving the targets agreed in the Paris climate agreement. India must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 compared to 2005. “We are going to reach that target before 2030,” Rameshar Prasad Gupta of the Environment Ministry told Reuters news agency. Earlier, Energy Minister Raj Kumar Singh had already said that India is well on track.
With its more than 1.3 billion inhabitants, the country would already achieve a 40 percent renewable share of the total energy mix by 2025. And maybe it will be more: “We’re already at 39 percent, and if you count what’s to come, we’re potentially at 48 percent,” Singh patted himself earlier.
According to critics, India can present good reduction figures towards 2030 because the margin is simply wide. As a result, the country would allow emissions to rise in the coming years but still meet the targets. India would also not be moving away from coal as an energy source fast enough, it is said.
There is one more caveat. The 200 or so countries that meet in Glasgow should put sharper goals on the table anyway – the promises made earlier are no longer sufficient to limit warming to ‘well below 2 degrees and preferably to one and a half degrees’, as was announced in 2015 agreed in the Paris climate agreement. In the ideal world, the promises should be made twice as sharp.
India now says additional efforts will depend on financial support from Western countries. They have pledged $100 billion a year to help other countries arm themselves against climate change, but that now needs to be worked out in more detail.
“That funding is an integral part of the whole picture for us,” Gupta says. A clear shot across the bow of the western economies, a few months before the COP26 in Glasgow.
India refers to the historically accumulated emissions by the traditional industrial countries. “They have already emitted a disproportionate amount of CO₂,” says Gupta, and that is why they must now become carbon neutral. In India, the feeling is a little different. The country points out that its historical emissions are much lower and has not yet promised climate neutrality. Behind the scenes, negotiations have been going on for months in anticipation of the COP26.