| 2 December 2021, Thursday |

India PM Modi to attend Glasgow climate meet, environment minister says

The environment minister announced on Thursday that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the United Nations climate meeting in Glasgow, giving a boost to efforts to agree on tougher emissions cuts to combat global warming.

After China and the United States, India is the world’s third-largest producer of greenhouse gases, and Modi’s attendance at the COP26 meeting, which runs from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12, was considered as crucial despite doubt over whether Chinese President Xi Jinping would go.

Both India and China are under pressure at the summit to make bigger pledges to reduce emissions, known as nationally determined contributions or NDCs.

“The prime minister is going to Glasgow,” said Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav in an interview, adding that India was contributing to the fight against climate change.

Britain, the summit’s host, praised Modi’s decision to participate.

“India plays an essential role in this, and the prime minister has had a number of conversations with Modi about the importance of climate change,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesperson told reporters.

Growing public pressure for action on climate change has spurred promises by countries and companies worldwide to contribute to the effort, which will be reviewed and amended at Glasgow.

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry has visited India twice in the past few months to urge the Modi government to raise its climate ambition and consider a net zero commitment as scores of other countries have done.

Net zero means balancing out greenhouse gas emissions with actions such as planting trees, restoring soil and using technology to prevent emissions reaching the atmosphere.

But energy-hungry India, which still relies heavily on fossil fuels, says it should not be expected to make deep carbon cuts like rich countries because it is a developing economy.


India’s Cabinet, chaired by Modi, will decide the position to be taken at COP26, most probably within a week, an environment ministry spokesperson said.

Yadav said India was doing its part to cut emissions.

“India’s NDCs are quite ambitious,” he said. “We are doing more than our fair share. Our NDCs are more progressive than major polluters.”

The country is on track to increase green energy capacity to 450 GW by 2030, he said. It has installed more than 100 GW of renewable energy, which accounts for more than 25% of overall capacity.

India has not yet committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, considered a vital goal in limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

According to Reuters, India is unlikely to commit to that objective since tighter deadlines would stifle demand growth, which is expected to outpace that of any other country over the next two decades.

Due to their huge historical proportion of emissions, India’s senior economic adviser K.V. Subramanian stated last month that affluent countries should spend far more than $100 billion to help poor countries combat climate change.

“India’s per capita greenhouse emissions are still one-third of the global average,” Yadav remarked.

Around 120 nations have changed their NDCs, but there is a lack of consistency and no agreed-upon deadline for meeting obligations.