Ahead of COP26, India wants rich nations to acknowledge ‘historical responsibility’
- India is among few nations who have managed to reach their emission targets
- COP26, the 26th UN climate change summit, will convene in Glasgow next week
- Indian PM Narendra Modi will attend the summit after partaking at the G20 Summit
With COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, scheduled next week, leaders across the world are discussing ways to cut down on emissions in order to thwart the worst outcomes of climate change and move towards a sustainable future. One of the aspects of emission reduction popular among nations of late is a promise of ‘net zero’. Different governments have decided on different deadlines to achieve net zero emissions.
India, the world’s second-most populous country and the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, however, seems to have taken a different position. For the Indian government, rich countries need to acknowledge their “historic responsibility” for emissions and protect the developing nations and those vulnerable to climate change, says Bhupender Yadav, Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
India is among the very few nations who are on track to achieving their targets for curbing planet-warming gases. However, a UN-supported environmental assessment report indicates that India’s efforts leave much to be desired and the country has “significant room” for more ambitious goals, which it has yet to provide to the UN climate agency, according to an Associated Press report.
According to India’s environment minister, the country has managed to reach its own climate targets without the promised financing from developed countries. A finance ministry document released in 2019 shows that the cost of meeting the requirements is estimated to be $2.5 trillion. Even though India is currently among the top emitters of greenhouse gases, it has historically contributed only 4% of the total emissions since 1850.
Rameshwar Prasad Gupta, India’s top environment official, says “net zero in itself isn’t a solution”, since cumulative emissions were the cause of the climate problem and countries need to focus on how much carbon they put into the atmosphere while reaching that goal.
Developing nations need space to grow and assistance — and without it, they are faced with a choice of compromising on development or relying on dirty fuels, he said.
Talking about newer targets, Rameshwar Prasad Gupta, India’s top environmental official, says that “all options are still on the table”.
This weekend, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be in Rome, Italy to partake in the G20 (Group of 20) Summit. Subsequently, he will be attending the COP26 in Glasgow.
(With inputs from Associated Press)