US President’s special envoy on climate change, John Kerry is in India to exchange notes ahead of virtual Climate Leader’s Summit.
The visit is significant because of the focus on climate pledge taken by India, which has since not been properly addressed.
The US is expected to declare itself as net zero carbon emitter by 2050 during the summit, as it plans to take leadership position in tackling climate change.
Several other countries such as France, UK and China have already declared that they will achieve a net-zero emission in future.
India is the third largest emitter of carbon but it has not committed itself to net zero emissions anytime in future. The visit will be directed towards nudging India to shed its hard stand.
Net zero is also known as carbon neutrality. It does not mean that India will completely bring down its emissions.
It will be rather a balancing act where emissions will be compensated through absorption and removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
Absorption can be increased by planting more trees, which will act as carbon sink and remove greenhouse gases from air.
A country can also become a net-negative emitter if amount of gases absorbed is more than the amount emitted.
Importance of net zero
There are many efforts to engage every country to commit to net zero targets by 2050. It will be the only way to ensure the Paris Agreement target of reducing the planet’s temperature from rising beyond 2°C compared to pre-industrial times.
The emission-reduction targets were earlier aimed at only rich and developed countries which were the main reasons for increase in global temperatures.
India will be the most impacted country by net zero commitments. India’s emissions are likely to grow as a result of rapid development that is aimed at removing poverty.
These emissions cannot be negated by reforestation or any other natural carbon absorbing technique. Other artificial methods are unaffordable.
The net zero goals are not part of Paris Climate Change Agreement 2015. India has recommended following commitments under the pact rather than bringing a new one.
India is currently on its way in achieving its three targets under the Paris Agreement, including chances of over-achieving them.
India is the only G 20 country who is in line to achieve its targets to keep temperatures below 2 degree pre-industrial level.
India also says that developed countries have not delivered on their promises of achieving their climate goals. They have also not provided the funding and technology support for developing and poor countries.
There is a possibility that India will achieve net zero by 2050-2060 but it does not want to make an international commitment so much in advance.