India says setting a net zero target is ‘not a solution’ ahead of COP26

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India has rejected setting a net zero target, claiming that richer countries must accept their “historic responsibility” for climate change and set out more help for developing nations.

Pressure has been heaved upon the world’s third-largest emitter ahead of the COP26 climate summit next week to set a date for carbon-neutrality, after pledges were made this week by countries including Saudi Arabia and Australia.

Minister Bhupender Yadav, however, did state India was committed to being “part of the solution” at COP26 but called for more action from developed countries to help get them on their way.

This follows the announcement that $100 billion in climate finance that was meant to be given to poorer countries to tackle climate change last year, has now had its date moved forward to 2023, delaying international progress further.

Mr Yadav did insist that India had reached its climate targets without the financial aid of richer countries but a net zero target is still to be made.

Environment Secretary Rameshwar Prasad Gupta stressed that net zero was not a solution to the climate crisis, stating “it is how much carbon you are going to put in the atmosphere before reaching net zero that is more important.”

India has thus far made commitments to reducing the emissions intensity of its GDP by up to 35% by 2030 from 2005 levels and achieving a 24% reduction by 2016.

The Associated Press reported that although the Asian country is now one of the world’s top emitters, it has historically accounted for 4% of total emissions since the 1850s.

It will cost an estimated $2.5 trillion for India to achieve its climate targets and the country is hoping progress can be made in terms of financing this from other countries at this year’s summit.

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