India is in the midst of an intense debate on a key climate policy question – will and should we join the club of nations that have announced a net zero emission target by the mid-century? Global pressure is high ahead of the key UN climate change conference COP 26 in Glasgow this November. In at least 12 of the G20 economies, the net zero goal has either been adopted or is under discussion, with China being one among the latest entrants.
But what does a zero emission target mean for India and what are the very real challenges we face in getting there? In conversation with Mitali Mukherjee, Navroz K. Dubash, professor at the Centre for Policy Research, said both binaries being considered were wrong for India’s greater climate good – holding back on more action until the rich world does more or signing on for a net-zero emission target by 2050 without a clear picture of whether this was doable.
India would do far better for its people by enhancing its Paris pledge through ambitious actions to drive sectoral change, with an aspirational net-zero target for the future.