Developed nations have been shifting their goal posts in the exercise to address the problems of climate change and the idea of "net zero emissions" by 2050 is being advocated as a panacea for the evil of climate change but it undermines the achievement of a "climate-just world", senior government officials told News18.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be attending the 26th Conference of Parties (COP-26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on November 1-2 in Glasgow.
Senior government officials told News18 that though there is no decision yet by India on the issue of "net zero emissions", the said concept delays climate action by developed countries and is being used to evade historical responsibility and transfer burdens to developing countries like India.
"The developed world has been at an advantageous position at the behest of being the most original polluter in the first place," an official said. India believes that countries like US and the 28 countries in European Union, which are responsible for 25% and 22% of historical emissions respectively, should be taking on the greatest responsibility now.
An official said India feels that the target of reducing emissions to net zero by mid-century, as proposed by some countries, will not be adequate in view of the fast-depleting global carbon space.
"Keeping in view the legitimate need of developing countries to grow, India has urged G-20 countries to commit to bringing down per capita emissions to the global average by 2030. India has urged G-20 nations to not shift goalposts and set new benchmarks for global climate ambition," the official said. He said India will accelerate action on climate change only when there is enough support from developed countries via finance and technology.
India has already achieved emission reduction of 28% over 2005 levels, against the target of 35% by 2030 committed in its NDC (Nationally determined contributions), India will say at the COP26.
Indian officials point out that "keeping 1.5 degree C alive" became the slogan of the developed countries at Pre-COP26 in Glasgow this year, ignoring the 2 degree C temperature target adopted in the Copenhagen COP15 in 2009.
In the 2015 COP21 in Paris, an attempt was made to push the temperature target of 1.5 degree C as preferred over 2 degree C. "On the issue of mitigation, the developed countries are now pushing to tighten their original weak NDCs and pushing for net-zero commitment by all, which is not needed as per science and Paris Agreement at COP21 in 2015," government officials said. The Paris Agreement only had voluntary fixing of NDCs with a commitment to a process to promote 'ambition', that Indian officials now say was "an excuse for increased pressure" on the developing countries.
Officials also point out how no finance commitments and technology transfer mechanism has happened since the finance commitment was pinned in 2009 to 100 billion dollars annually by 2020. "6 years down the line from then, the target date for mobilizing 100 billion annually was postponed to 2025. Now, developed countries are trying to retire the negotiation on long-term finance beyond 2025," the official said. India believes this is to shift the burden on the developing economies like India.
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