Indian cities like Bhiwadi, Gurugram, Delhi, and more rank among the top most polluted cities worldwide with the worst air quality. Besides this, international pressure, citizens’ reviews, and the pollution-induced health crisis shifted the focus of making India green and promoting a sustainable lifestyle. The COP26 summit held at Glasgow had dignitaries from all over the world, and the presence of world leaders pledged to achieve net zero goals. During this summit, Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Ramdas Modi, laid down India’s roadmap for net zero and laid down realistic targets. However, India is still far behind other countries goals of making the list of top countries with net-zero emissions.
What do you mean by Net Zero?
So what is net zero, and how does it contribute to climate change? Net zero refers to the absorption of carbon dioxide emitted. This will cut down on carbon dioxide suspension in the atmosphere. This is vital for climate change as it will reduce the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that is responsible for trapping heat in the atmosphere. This increases the overall global temperature and triggers a negative feedback loop where the sea level rises due to the melting ice in the poles, retracting glaciers and triggering water scarcity, storms, and destruction of ecology, among other events. Hence, a net zero target is vital to reduce greenhouse gasses.
India’s current contribution to global climate change
India is responsible for 7.09% of the Global Fossil CO2 emissions. As compared to a global scale, this number is quite significant. Besides this, the net increase of CO2 emissions each year is 4.71%. With the target for net zero, there should be reductions in CO2 emissions; instead of an increment, there should be a decrease in carbon dioxide emitted. Among the top carbon polluters in the atmosphere, India ranks third. China and the United States are at the top of this list. This gives an overview that not all countries should be responsible for their share of carbon emissions. The Glasgow summit enabled top carbon polluters an opportunity to lay down their plan to a net zero target.
How are other nations performing in Carbon emissions?
The Nordic countries are impressively performing well in reducing their carbon emissions. If you observe the graph of carbon emissions of nordic countries like Sweden, and Finland and European countries like Switzerland, you will observe that the curve is on a downward path which is a positive sign for net-zero targets. Sweden is performing the best in reducing carbon emissions. Because of the cut-down in transportation and manufacturing industries, especially in steel and iron production, carbon emissions in Sweden are dropping.
Introducing India’s plan to reduce carbon emissions
India has expressed its views about the reliance on fossil fuels and cut-down emissions instead of phasing it out. The argument was based on the fact that India is still a developing country and needs to meet its development goals and eradicate poverty. Besides, India’s net-zero goals include reliance on non-fossil fuels and increasing its energy potential to 500GW by 2030. Besides this, India has also planned on using 50% of energy requirements from renewable energy sources.
By 2030, India has a target of reducing carbon emissions by 1 million tons and reducing carbon intensity by 45%. A fair share of renewable energy in India will come from solar energy, followed by wind, biomass, and hydropower. India has also started testing out battery-powered rickshaws and vehicles in a few states with charging ports. Besides this, railway stations in India and airports are switching to renewable energy to power the infrastructure. Hence, this target is achievable, and Indians will be on a progressive path to reaching net-zero goals by 2070.
What is Panchamrit or the “Five Elixirs”?
The Panchamrit, or the five elixirs of India, are the five phases of achieving the net-zero target by 2070. Here are the five elixirs.
India aims to increase the potential of non-renewable energy sources by 500 GW by 2030.
India plans to rely on non-renewable sources by 50% by 2030.
India has set targets to reduce carbon emissions by one billion tons by 2030.
Some proposals and projects will help reduce the carbon intensity of India by 45%.
The fifth elixir is the final phase, where India will have achieved its net zero emissions target by 2070.
These are realistic goals set by India, and besides its development targets, the country is on the right path to contribute its fair share of climate protection globally.
Are India’s climate goals realistic?
Well, India is one of the top contributors to carbon emissions globally. However, despite India hosting 17% of the world’s population, its carbon emissions are lower per capita compared to the United States and the European Union. This did not stop India from further reducing its carbon emissions and laying down plans despite its goals of becoming a developed country. The target set by India is achievable. However, our current climate scenario is in an emergency, and the earth demands justice. We need to also work on reducing our carbon footprint and energy consumption. We must honor the Paris Summit and be compliant with reducing carbon footprints.
How can we, as individuals, contribute to this target?
You can reduce energy consumption and rely on public transport instead of your car. Besides this, you should plant more trees and protect green spaces. You should be against green spaces getting concretized or obscured by development projects. Apart from this, it would help if you also cut back on flying or opt for air tickets, which are a greener choice of travel. When buying products, ensure that it is eco-friendly and sustainable. When you set these goals, you will likely reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to the environment. Don’t forget to educate and keep yourself updated with the latest climate change news, topics, and current research.
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