Rich nations must commit more than $100 billion in climate fight, says India

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives to address the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, New York, USA, 25 September 2021. [Pool/EPA/EFE]

Rich nations need to commit much more than $100 billion to help poor countries fight climate change due to their high historical share of emissions, India’s chief economic adviser said on Thursday (30 September), ahead of a UN Climate Change Conference (COP26).

Wealthy nations are under ever-greater pressure to deliver on an unmet pledge, made in 2009, to send $100 billion a year to help finance an adequate response by developing countries to rising global temperatures as the world prepares for COP26.

“This $100 billion that the advanced economies are talking about actually for innovation in climate finance, you know, it’s a drop in the ocean,” K.V. Subramanian told Reuters.

“I think their commitment needs to be much greater.”

Even though India has not yet committed to a net-zero emission target year, Asia’s third largest economy will keep adding renewables to its energy mix and push industries to see the benefit of using cleaner fuels, he said.

Subramanian said the government was creating incentives for firms to pursue cleaner energy, without which net zero is just “talk without actually the actions happening.”

Coal fired plants

India has installed over 100 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy, which accounts for over 25% of its overall capacity. The energy hungry nation plans to increase its green energy capacity to 450 GW by 2030.

India will do everything that is necessary to attain average annual economic growth of over 7% and coal fired plants will be part of the mix, he said.

India is the world’s third-biggest greenhouse gas emitter after China and the United States and thus is vital in the fight against climate change, currently focused on reaching global net zero emissions by mid century or thereabouts.

The COP26 summit is seen as a crucial chance to wring out ambitious enough commitments from governments to stop global warming spiralling beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius – the limit that scientists say would avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

China has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2060 while US President Joe Biden has promised to cut US emissions 50% to 52% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Earlier this year Reuters, citing sources, reported that India was unlikely to bind itself to a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions goal by 2050.

UN speech

In his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi called his country “the mother of democracy”, shattering the established view that the cradle of democracy was in ancient Greece.

“India is proud to be known to be the mother of democracy”, he said, adding that: “Diversity is the identity of our strong democracy.”

Modi focused on the issues of sustainable development, saying that his country’s priority was that development should be all-inclusive, all-pervasive, universal and one that nurtures all.

The Prime Minster also called for a more effective United Nations.

He stressed that if the United Nations is to remain relevant, it will need to improve its effectiveness and enhance its reliability, vital for the Organization to meet current challenges.

However, “with regard to the origin of COVID-19 and the ease of doing business rankings, institutions of global governance have damaged the credibility they had built after decades of hard work,” Modi noted.

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Embassy of India, Brussels

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