Reuters/ New Delhi
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the UN climate summit in Glasgow, the environment minister said yesterday, in a boost for efforts to agree steeper emissions cuts to tackle global warming.
India is the world’s third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the US, and Modi’s participation in the COP26 summit, which runs from October 31 to November 12, was seen as critical amid uncertainty over whether Chinese President Xi Jinping would attend.
Both India and China, which have not yet made stronger pledges to cut emissions, known as nationally determined contributions or NDCs, face pressure to do so at the conference.
“The prime minister is going to Glasgow,” Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav said in an interview, adding that India was doing its bit to help tackle climate change.
Summit host Britain welcomed Modi’s decision to attend.
“India plays an important role in this and the prime minister has had a number of conversations with Modi on the importance of climate change, so we look forward to discussing it with them further,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman 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.
US 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 450GW by 2030, he said.
It has installed more than 100GW of renewable energy, which accounts for more than 25% of overall capacity.
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