Explained | How do India’s net zero goal stack up?

India was the only one among the major greenhouse gas emitters that hadn’t specified a so-called net zero year.

How does India’s net zero goal compare to other countries?

India was the only one among the major greenhouse gas emitters that hadn’t specified a so-called net zero year. However Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in setting an outer-limit of 2070 by which India’s emissions would be effectively be zero means that it is asking Western developed countries to do more, or undertake sharper cuts. China, Russia and Saudi Arabia have committed to be net zero by 2060. The United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union have committed to a 2050 target. But only 12 countries have enshrined this commitment in law. These are Germany, Sweden, Japan, United Kingdom, France, Canada, South Korea, Spain, Denmark, New Zealand, Hungary, Luxembourg. The European Union has a collective target of 2050 and Germany and Sweden have a 2045 target.

Why is net zero necessary?

‘Net zero’ is a globally agreed upon goal for mitigating global warming in the second half of the century, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that conducts periodic scientific assessment of the science linking warming and its effects, concluded that for temperature rise to be restricted to 1.5C it was necessary for global carbon dioxide emissions to halt by 2050. It would also be necessary to use other methods to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

What is the international progress on peaking emissions so far?

An analysis by the World Resources Institute notes “steady progress” in the number of countries reaching peak emissions over time. By 1990, 19 countries had peaked (representing 21 percent of global emissions) and by 2030 this number is likely to grow to 57 countries (representing 60 percent of global emissions). By 2020, 53 countries representing 40 percent of global emissions (based on 2010 emissions data rather than 2020 projections) peaked or have a commitment to peak by 2020. By 2020, almost all developed countries are expected to have peaked.

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