This article is related to the 26th conference of Parties to the Climate Change Convention, which is all set to be held in a couple of weeks at Glasgow in the United Kingdom.
The key focus of the summit is on upgrading the previous targets that were taken up under the Paris Agreement in 2015. A few countries are pushing for a new target known as net-zero emissions by 2050 and countries such as the United States, many European countries like U.K., Germany and the others and even China have already announced their net zero-emission targets.
While developed countries like US and UK have committed to a net-zero emission target by 2050, China has agreed to achieve net-zero emissions by 2060.
Now, what do you mean by net zero emissions?
See, net-zero emissions essentially refers to the removal of greenhouse gas emissions through carbon capture and carbon sequestration technologies, so that in net terms, a country has zero emissions. So whatever emissions a country is releasing into the atmosphere, they plan to remove the equivalent of it so that they achieve net-zero emissions.
While this new target is being pushed by these countries, India is not entirely comfortable with this target and until now, India has refused to take up this target. I personally support the Stand of India on the basis of the CBDR principle.
CBDR stands for Common but differentiated responsibilities, which is a core principle of the Climate Change Convention, which provides for differentiated responsibilities for different countries based on their historical emissions. Countries like India are not largely responsible for historical emissions. It's the developed nations like the US and European countries and top emitters like China, which have to share a greater burden of historical emissions, as nearly 75% of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is attributed to these countries.
Today, even though India is the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, its per capita emissions are still very low and India has hardly contributed to these historical emissions. But despite this, India has taken up very ambitious targets under the Paris Agreement as a part of the nationally determined contributions and through these voluntary targets, India is already well on its way to achieving the 2030 targets that were laid down under the Paris Agreement.
India is making a major switch towards renewables and as per the target, we are planning to have nearly 450 gigawatts of installed capacity just from renewable sources of energy. India is also bringing down its emissions intensity by 33–35% from 2005 levels as India had committed under the voluntary targets of the Paris Agreement.
While India is one of the few countries which is actually achieving the Paris targets, other countries such as the US, UK and China are pushing towards a new target known as net-zero emissions. So the 26th Conference of Parties must focus on reducing emissions by 2030 rather than focusing on the net-zero emission targets of 2050. Despite the pressure from these countries, India will have to resist the pressure and stick to the CBDR principle because if you take historical responsibilities into account, the U.S. is still lagging behind and even countries like Russia and Brazil are creating roadblocks towards achieving genuine emission reductions.
So the participating countries at the 26th Conference of Parties to work out a meaningful response to tackle climate change. Developed countries have to show greater responsibility and countries like the US have to draw lessons from the UK and other European countries, which are being more responsible and they should use the summit to genuinely provide the financial support that they are committed to, to help out the adaptation measures in developing countries.