India’s prime minister Narendra Modi made an announcement that India will reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2070 at the UN COP26 climate summit on November 1, as reported by Reuters on the same day. The prime minister also announced short-term targets for decarbonizing the country. He committed to a 45% reduction in carbon intensity per GDP by 2030, as well as increasing the share of renewables in the domestic energy mix to 50% by 2030, compared to last year’s 38%. In addition, India will increase its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 gigawatts by 2030, reducing projected emissions by 1bn tons. In his speech, Modi also criticized previous commitments of climate finance under the Paris Agreement as hollow and called on developed countries to deliver the pledged USD1tr in climate finance to developing countries as soon as possible.
India, a developing country with a population of over 1.3bn, is currently the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. It contains 17% of the world’s population but is responsible for only 5% of global emissions, with emissions per capita of about one-third of the global average. While India’s 2070 net-zero target is two decades behind the 2050 targets pledged by most countries in Europe and North America and one decade behind the 2060 pledge by China and Saudi Arabia, climate experts from thinktank the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) have suggested that a net-zero target from 2070 to 2080 is India’s most realistic roadmap for carbon neutrality.