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Despite growing international pressure, India is unlikely to commit to carbon neutrality by 2050, government officials have told Reuters.
Expecting strong energy demand growth in the coming decades and even to outpace China as the world’s largest energy growth driver at some point this decade, India is not willing to bind itself to a hard deadline for reaching net-zero emissions as it fears it may have to compromise economic growth and consumption, Reuters’ sources said.
“We may not be able to commit ourselves to net zero emissions, it is a delicate problem,” one of the sources told Reuters.
India is the third-largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, behind China and the United States.
China pledged last year to strive for carbon neutrality by 2060, a decade later than the net-zero emission targets of most Western countries, 2050.
The United States, for its part, is pushing for targets for significant reduction of emissions as part of President Joe Biden’s climate agenda. President Biden will host a virtual Leaders Summit on Climate next month, at which he has invited 40 world leaders, including India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China’s President Xi Jinping.
India will rather stick to its targets under the Paris Agreement to reduce its carbon emissions and to significantly boost renewable energy generation in its electricity mix than commit to a net-zero target, according to the government sources who spoke to Reuters.
India would endorse a global net-zero emissions target by 2050, but it cannot bind itself to that target individually, climate negotiator Chandrashekhar Dasgupta told Hindustan Times’ Jayashree Nandi in an interview published on Tuesday.
A 2050 net-zero target would mean India’s economy would need “to immediately scrap all existing coal-based power plants and factories, or alternatively, retrofit them with carbon capture and storage technology. This would entail astronomical costs at a time when the economy is already reeling from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Dasgupta told Hindustan Times.
Earlier this month, state miner Coal India approved as many as 32 new coal mining projects worth a total investment of US$6.4 billion.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com