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India Proposes Shift to Carbon-Negative Goals, Puts Pressure on Developed Nations at COP28

 India aims to power half its installed capacity through non-fossil sources and reduce greenhouse emissions to 45 per cent of its 2005 levels by 2030 


In a significant development, India is advocating for a substantial shift in global carbon commitments, urging developed nations to transition from carbon neutrality to carbon negativity by 2050. This bold proposal is seen as a means to provide emerging-market economies with greater flexibility in utilising fossil fuels to support their development objectives. India is expected to formally present this audacious proposition at the upcoming COP28 climate summit in Dubai.

To meet the global net-zero target by 2050, developed countries must lead by aiming for net-negative emissions, a strategy that would enable developing nations to optimise their natural resources. Notably, prominent developed nations such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Japan have set their sights on achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. China, on the other hand, has declared its intention to achieve this milestone by 2060, while India envisions reaching it by 2070.

The key distinction between net-zero and carbon-negative goals lies in their approach. Net-zero entails balancing carbon emissions with equivalent removals, whereas being carbon-negative involves extracting more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than is emitted. These crucial discussions at COP28 come amid a backdrop of escalating climate-related challenges, characterized by extreme weather events such as severe heatwaves and unpredictable monsoons. Scientists worldwide are calling for swift and decisive action to address these pressing issues.

India’s current commitments include generating half of its installed capacity from non-fossil sources and reducing greenhouse emissions to 45 per cent of 2005 levels by 2030. Notably, in September 2023, a notable development occurred in New Delhi when G20 nations acknowledged the urgency of reducing unabated coal power. However, they refrained from setting specific timelines or emission reduction targets. This was a significant shift, as historically coal-reliant economies like China, India, and Indonesia had been hesitant to endorse such measures. Instead, they consistently urged developed nations to reduce their gas consumption.

India has maintained that setting a timeline for coal cessation in the country is impractical. It asserts that coal will continue to play a significant role in its energy mix, regardless of potential breakthroughs in storage and mitigation technologies. Current data underscores coal’s pivotal role in India, as thermal power stations supply 73% of the nation’s electricity. Meanwhile, India has increased its non-fossil capacity to 44 per cent of its overall power generation capacity.

The upcoming COP28 summit, scheduled from 30 November to 12 December, is poised to be a defining moment for global climate commitments. As nations grapple with the challenges of sustainable development and environmental stewardship, India’s bold proposal underscores the urgency for a collective global response. The stakes are high, and the world watches with keen interest. Whether the world adopts India’s vision or not, one thing is clear: the global conversation on carbon targets has shifted irrevocably, potentially setting the stage for a new era of climate diplomacy.

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