Beyond net zero by 2070: India’s new climate pledges explained

(China Dialogue, 4 Nov 2021) While the net-zero pledge has dominated headlines, experts say India’s near-term targets for decarbonisation are worthy of attention and cautious optimism.

India has set 2070 as its deadline for net zero, joining China, Japan, the UK, the EU and an expanding group of other major economies in a bid to reach carbon neutrality. Together, countries committed to a net-zero target now cover 90% of global GDP and more than 85% of the world’s emissions.

Given an economy heavily dependent on coal, which still makes up nearly 70% of its energy mix, and its need to lift its booming population out of poverty, the world’s third biggest emitter has set an extremely ambitious goal – one that is only as realistic as the plans to implement it.

How to get to net zero

Navroz Dubash, professor at the Centre for Policy Research, a think tank, agrees that while India’s net-zero pledge will make the headlines, “it is only a significant statement if you also discuss how you’re going to get there”. Otherwise, he says, “it’s not going to shape your decisions in the next 10 years, which is actually what matters”. Experts have pointed out that the new set of climate pledges outline by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in front of the world this week is not an endpoint to India’s energy transition. Rather, it’s the start of a much more challenging journey to get the country ready for a decarbonisation of unprecedented scale, while catering to its growing middle class.

External link

China Dialogue, 4 Nov 2021: Beyond net zero by 2070: India’s new climate pledges explained