India is planning to advocate for developed nations to attain a ‘carbon negative’ status rather than just ‘carbon neutral’ by 2050. The aim is to provide emerging market economies more leeway to use fossil fuels for their developmental needs. This proposal is set to be presented at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai later this year.
One government official stated, ‘The rich countries should become net negative emitters before 2050 to enable the world to achieve the target of global net-zero by that year while allowing developing nations to use the available natural resources for growth.’
At present, developed countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Japan, have set targets for net zero emissions by 2050, while China aims for net zero by 2060, and India has set the goal for 2070.
In this context, ‘carbon neutral’ means that any carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is offset by activities that remove an equivalent amount. On the other hand, ‘carbon negative’ requires a country to remove more CO2 from the atmosphere than it emits.
These discussions occur as extreme weather events have led to heatwaves, erratic monsoons, and increased calls for immediate action by scientists.
India is expected to resist the pressure from developed economies to set a deadline for phasing down fossil fuels and instead emphasize the reduction of overall carbon emissions through ‘abatement and mitigation technologies,’ according to two government officials and a third unnamed source.
India has already pledged to operate half of its installed power capacity from non-fossil sources and reduce greenhouse emissions to 45% of its 2005 level in relation to its gross domestic product by 2030.
During a G20 summit in New Delhi last month, countries acknowledged the necessity of phasing down unabated coal power without setting a timeline or specific emission reduction objectives. Although this was seen as a step forward in climate negotiations, India continues to rely on coal as a significant energy source due to its practicality.
Thermal power stations currently supply 73% of India’s electricity, despite the country’s increase in non-fossil capacity to 44% of its total installed power generation capacity.
COP28 is scheduled to take place from November 30 to December 12.