Zero Carbon Emissions

New Delhi, February 10, 2022.

As per the extant provisions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), its Kyoto protocol and the Paris Agreement (PA), India is not obliged to reduce carbon emissions or to set any target for the next five years to reduce emissions. Under the Paris Agreement, parties are required to communicate their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to combat climate change. These NDCs involve, inter-alia activities for reduction of greenhouse gases and also for building resilience to impacts of climate change. India has communicated its NDCs in 2015. These include, interalia, quantified targets to reduce the emissions intensity of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 level, to achieve about 40% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030, and to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2eq through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

 In the National Statement delivered at 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) held in Glasgow, United Kingdom, India has declared its goal to achieve net zero by 2070. This goal is to be achieved through periodic enhancement of NDCs and corresponding domestic climate actions towards low carbon transition, supported by climate finance and technology transfer under the UNFCCC and PA.

At COP26, as part of its overall approach, India emphasized the foundational principles of equity, and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. It also highlighted the need for all countries to have equitable access to the global carbon budget, a finite global resource, for keeping temperature increase within the limits set by the Paris Agreement and that all countries must stay within their fair share of this global carbon budget while using it responsibly. India also called for climate justice in global climate action, and for the developed countries to undertake rapid reductions in emissions during the current decade, to reach net-zero much earlier than their announced dates, as they have used more than their fair share of the global carbon budget.

India emphasized that climate finance and the transfer of relevant technologies have become even more important for the implementation of climate action by developing countries. The ambition on climate finance by developed countries cannot remain at the level it was at the time the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015. It was emphasized that just as the UNFCCC tracks the progress made in climate mitigation, it should also track climate finance. Further, it was conveyed to the developed countries that India understands and shares the difficulties of all other developing countries, and hence raises its voice in solidarity with their cause.

India also reaffirmed that developing countries need those fossil fuel resources as are relevant to their national circumstances even while accelerating clean energytransition. At the same time, India reminded developed countries that to stay within the global carbon budget for the Paris Agreement temperature targets, they must work for the phaseout of all fossil fuels and not just single out coal.

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