Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday pledged that by 2047, centennial India will exceed the world’s expectations in implementing actions to counter climate change.
In his speech at the UN Climate Ambition Summit, he said that on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement – the most ambitious step in fight against climate change – the world shouldn’t lose sight of historical emissions. He called for a review of actions taken by all countries based on the commitments they had made under the agreement.
“Today, as we are looking to set our sights even higher, we must also not lose sight of the past. We must not only revise our ambitions but also review our achievements against targets already set. Only then can our voices be credible for future generations. India is not only on track to achieve Paris targets but to exceed them beyond your expectations,” he said.
Watch | ‘India on track to exceed Paris Agreement targets beyond expectations’: PM Modi
The prime minister added that “India has reduced its emission intensity by 21 per cent over 2005 levels. Our solar capacity has grown from 2.63 GigaWatts in 2014 to 36 GigaWatts in 2020. Our renewable energy capacity is the fourth largest in the world. It will reach 175 GigaWatts before 2022. And, we have an even more ambitious target now – 450 GigaWatts of renewable energy capacity by 2030.”
In his pledge, PM Modi said, “In 2047, India will celebrate 100 years as a modern, independent nation. To all my fellow residents of this planet, I make a solemn pledge today. Centennial India will not only meet its own targets but will also exceed your expectations.”
The Climate Ambition Summit is hosted by the United Nations and the United Kingdom to mark the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Agreement.
The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change which was adopted by 196 parties at 21st Conference of Parties in Paris, on December 12 2015, and entered into force on November 4, 2016. The important virtual summit being co-hosted by France in partnership with Chile and Italy will allow governments to present their commitment and compliance with the Paris Agreement.
Ahead of the conference, India had underlined that it has been responsible to the commitments under the Paris Agreement but most of the developed world which is responsible for historical emissions hasn’t shown much progress. Financial commitment by developed countries to the tune of 11 trillion dollars to help the world mitigate and adapt to climate change hasn’t come through yet, Prakash Javadekar, Union environment minister had said on Friday.
“Five years after Paris we are still not going in the right direction. Paris promised to limit global temperature which rose to as close to 1.5 degrees as possible. The commitments made under Paris were far from enough to get there and even now those commitments are not being met. Today, we are 1.2 degrees hotter than we were before the industrial revolution. If we don’t change course, we may be headed for a catastrophic temperature rise of more than 3 degrees C this century. Can we still deny we are facing a climate emergency?” UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres asked at the Summit.
“We are not doomed to fail. Covid-19 recovery presents an opportunity to set our economies and societies on a green path… the members of G20 are spending 50 per cent or more of their stimulus on sectors linked to fossil fuel consumption than on low carbon energy. This is unacceptable. This is a moral test. We cannot use trillions of dollars needed for covid recovery to lock in policies that burden future generations with a mounting debt on a broken planet. So the central objective by 2021 is to build a truly global coalition for carbon neutrality by the middle of the century. To make it a reality we need meaningful cuts now,” Guterres added.
The occasion was marked by some important announcements like UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said UK will provide 11.6 billion pounds of our overseas aid to support green technology.
“When I was a child of six, UK depended on coal for 70 per cent of our needs now that is down to 3 per cent. Since 1990 UK has cut CO2 to emissions by 43 per cent more than any other G20 economy and yet our economy has grown by 75 per cent and today we are putting our foot to the accelerator. We want to turn the UK to Saudi Arabia of wind power by 2030… we are liberating the potential for hydrogen; on vehicles, we are going to ban new internal combustion engines by 2030, we will continue to develop new nuclear power,” he said.
Italy announced 30 million Euros for climate adaptation. China called for raising of ambition and fostering a new architecture of climate governance where every party does their part. “I had announced in September that we will enhance our NDCs. We will peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. Today we are making further announcements…” said Chinese President Xi Jinping.
China would cut CO2 per unit of GDP by 65 per cent by 2030, from 2005 levels and boost the share of non-fossil fuel energy to 25 per cent of primary energy demand by 2030. “China always honours commitments,” he said.
Reacting to India’s steps to achieve Paris Agreement goals, Ulka Kelkar, director, climate program, World Resources Institute India said, “While many countries have announced net-zero pledges, developed countries need to urgently provide the promised $100 billions of climate finance, especially for building resilience and adapting to climate impacts. Every dollar invested in adaptation can yield up to $10 in economic benefits. In the ongoing pandemic, economic stimulus packages are providing only $2 to clean energy for every $3 to fossil fuels – this needs to be urgently reconsidered and greater support provided to building low carbon infrastructure,” she said.
“India needs to continue prioritizing measures like early warning systems, disaster-resilient infrastructure, improved dryland agriculture, mangrove protection, and water conservation,” she added.
In a statement delivered on Saturday, incoming US president Joe Biden said the US will increase its domestic emissions reduction target and commit to a 2050 net-zero goal, building on new climate plans by the EU and UK this week. Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan announced his country will not construct any new coal power plants.