Time for India’s net zero target–economic times

Clipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/blogs/et-editorials/time-for-indias-net-zero-target/ET Edit

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On the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Agreement, it is clear that countries are more serious about tackling climate change. Of the around 70 heads of state and government who spoke at the Climate Ambition Summit co-hosted by the United Nations, Britain, France, Italy and Chile, more than half announced new measures for combating climate change. India should announce a target of achieving net zero by 2060. It is vital to appreciate that committing to climate goals is not quite donning a hair shirt: transitioning to that goal through a low-carbon economy offers immense opportunities for innovation, investment and growth.

There is no denying the reality of climate change. As a country with multiple vulnerabilities to climate change, considerable developmental deficits, India must consider implementing a long-term strategy to transition to a low-carbon economy. A target of achieving climate neutrality or net zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2060 backed up with a roadmap with clearly defined milestones and policy plan is critical if India is to grow its economy and develop in a climate-constrained world. A net zero target will give the right signal to investment, policy and innovation. There is a global shift towards sustainable investment: the millennials are avidly interested in sustainability, ESG investing (investment that takes into account environmental, social and governance factors) is a major theme in deployment of large pools of savings and India stands to gain by drawing up a credible and ambitious green plan.

The rich countries’ foot-dragging over transfer of knowhow to developing countries, the failure to honour the decade-old promise to provide $100 billion a year by 2020 is cause of concern. Preventing dangerous levels of warming requires the world to move to a low-carbon economy; a development pathway that uses resources more efficiently and effectively, relies on clean energy sources, and produces less waste. This transition which is critical for the health of the planet and improving lives.

This piece appeared as an editorial opinion in the print edition of The Economic Times.

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