New Delhi, 2nd November: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement to increase renewable energy targets, reducing carbon intensity and net-zero emission by 2070 are in general the right direction of travel. However there are other important considerations, we need rigour, good practice and equity in achieving 50% of the total energy requirement of the country from renewable sources by 2030.

With substantial technological development in renewable energy, investment in coal is neither good for the planet or the economy. India has an opportunity to play a leadership role in the sector while generating employment. 

India should actively strive for an earlier date of zero emissions after reassessing the situation in the coming years. The plan needs to also ensure that the net-zero target is not abused and used for greenwashing tactics and there should be clarity on the date for fossil fuel peak.

A major concern is the nature of business on ground. Clearance to new fossil fuel projects and diluting the environmental laws will not help India’s climate objective. Agriculture is an important sector of the country and the unpredictable weather has increased hardship on the small farmers manifold. At the same time unsustainable farming practices can contribute further to climate change and this needs to stop soon for the planet and the health of the people.

The developed countries need to fulfill their climate commitment and increase the promised 100 billion dollar climate finance to low-income countries that have been bearing the brunt of the climate crisis. The vulnerable communities are already losing homes and livelihoods to increasing extreme weather events. The pandemic, while being a crisis, provided an opportunity for global leaders to come together to show the world the nature of handling ‘crises’, but that was not to be. Despite the emergency, we did not have equitable access to vaccines across the world. We cannot afford to commit the same mistake with climate change, the world leaders need to look into the eyes of the youth while making their decisions. 

The next 10 years are going to be crucial in achieving the climate target. The action plan must start reducing emissions at the sources as fast and as much as possible. To achieve the 1.5C, we must stop new fossil fuel projects now and phase out from the industry in a time-bound manner.

We need systemic as well as behavioural changes to tackle the climate crisis, that prioritizes real need-based consumption, and is not driven by the big industries.