In final rounds ahead of COP26, government discusses net zero, upping 450GW target

Asia's Tech News Daily

cop26, climate talks, climate change, global warming, g20

In the final rounds of discussions ahead of the COP26 climate talks, India is learnt to be weighing net zero options beyond 2060 as well as the possibility of upping the 450GW target to 520 GW plus and including it as a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

However, the availability of climate finance, the imperative of climate justice and the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibility besides strategic interests, will be key determinants of the final Indian position at Glasgow, sources indicated.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held detailed discussions on the upcoming COP26 talks with the Indian negotiating team as well as top officials from stakeholder ministries on Wednesday, just as he prepares to leave for the G20 summit at Rome followed by COP 26 talks.

A discussion was also held between India’s G20 Sherpa team and the COP 26 negotiating team soon after, to consolidate India’s position ahead of the G20 Climate Sherpa meetings on October 28-29, 2021.

This will lay the ground for Modi as he recahes Rome for the G20 Heads of State and Government Summit on October 30-31, where he is expected to set the tone for India.

He is, however, likely to make the big climate-related announcements at Glasgow in the presence of over 190 global leaders/heads of state.

ET gathers that some key ministries have favoured the announcement of a net zero target by India at COP26. An array of options starting from a 2060 target running into 2100 are said to have been drawn up for consideration.

India, however, maintains that the ‘net zero’ debate indicates ‘goal shifting’ by rich nations and relies on distant targets instead of immediate action.

Similarly, while India maintains that it is not mandated to update its NDCs under the Paris agreement, the option of including the 450 GW target for renewable energy as a NDC is learnt to be on the table.

There is also a view that India can scale its ambition above the already well known 450 GW renewable energy target and push it to 520-550 GW of ‘non fossil fuel energy’ instead.

Such a target would also include power generated from nuclear sources and hydro power plants, sources said.

Sources told ET that these scenarios are under consideration, but a final view will be taken by the government keeping in mind all factors – environmental, economic and strategic.

India is also expected to pitch strongly for climate finance, carbon trading mechanisms and argue for more immediate climate action from rich countries.

At the same time, India is unlikely to commit to the ‘extraneous’ climate agenda- outside of Paris agreement- being attempted at the G20 talks, ahead of the COP 26.

The developed nations at G20 are pitching strongly for net zero commitments, cutting coal use in the power sector, signing up on the methane pledge, reducing fuel subsidy, and upping the NDCs.

Nations – particularly high emitters like China, India, Russia and Brazil- are being urged to sign up to the Methane Pledge – a commitment to cut methane gas emission by 30% by 2030.

Another key area of debate is the call for decarbonization of the power sector by 2030.

Nations like India – where 60%-70% electricity currently comes from coal-fired power plants – besides Australia and others which also depend heavily on coal-based power are said to be pitching for a ‘low carbon’ growth trajectory instead.

While open to the idea of Methane emission reduction, India is opposed to a target date for the same, given national circumstances.

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