The COP 26 is expected to enhance its focus on reducing the carbon emissions sharply till 2030, rather than focussing on the net zero targets till 2050, because it is a very distant reality.
About the COP 26:
COP 26 has commenced in Glasgow from 31st October, 2021.
Many preparatory meetings and high level bilateral talks have taken place before the COP 26 meeting to persuade countries for further enhancing their emission reduction targets under the Paris Agreement so that the carbon emissions can sharply be reduced by 2030.
Some countries have responded positively, yet some other very high contributing countries are not so keen to raise their targets and are very short of their current targets as well.
Alternative approach to a Net Zero target:
The recently released IPCC report, titled ‘AR6 Report’ highlights that it is much more important to reduce the global emissions by 45% by 2030 as compared to 2010 levels to keep the rise in temperature below the target of 1.5 degree Celsius, than to focus too much on net zero emission target by 2050.
Issues associated with the net zero target:
Net Zero approach doesn’t pay enough and required attention on the principle of ‘Common but differentiated responsibilities’ put forth by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
According to CBDR, as the developed countries are responsible for over 75% of the global GHG burden, so they must bear the majority of the burden of reducing the emissions, while the developing countries should receive technological and financial aid from the developed countries.
Hence, all the countries, either developed or developing cannot be expected to reach a level of net zero together by 2050, on which the principle of net zero focusses on the most.
That is why, what is more important is to focus on reducing the GHG emissions by 45% till 2030 as compared to the 2010 levels, as backed by the IPCC report to keep a check on the rise of global temperatures.
According to the UN NDC report, even if all the updated NDC targets under the Paris Agreement are taken into account, the decrease in GHG levels till 2030 is expected to be only 16.3 % as compared to the 2010 levels.
While the IPCC report has advocated for at least a 45% reduction in GHG emissions till 2030 as compared to 2010 levels to keep the rise in global temperatures below 1.5 degree Celsius.
That is why, there’s a need to focus extensively on reducing the GHG emissions by 2030 by 45% rather than focussing too much on the net zero target till 2050.
COP 26 must extensively focus on reducing the GHG emissions by 45 % till 2030 as compared to 2010 levels, rather than focusing too much on achieving net zero targets till 2050.
India should subsequently raise its INDC targets under the Paris Agreement to also include the target of ‘reduction in emissions intensity (which is ratio of emission to GDP) by around 35% to 40% till 2030 as compared to 2005 levels.
India can achieve this target quite easily as India has been enhancing its reduction target by around 2 % per annum as per the current INDC targets.
Additionally, India can also commit to achieve the net zero target by 2075.
Subsequently, if India enhances its tree and forest cover substantially over the years, and also progressively expands its renewable energy & electric vehicle ecosystem, thereby reducing its dependence on thermal power plants and fossil fuels, India can also achieve the target of ‘net zero’ GHG emissions by 2050.