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How Substantive Are the Climate Pledges Made by India at COP26?

Are these pledges another set of low hanging fruit or will they have a real impact on the climate?

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The buzziest word over the past 24 hours has been “net-zero” and it is because India – in a significant first – has pledged that it will cut its emissions to net-zero by 2070, a target which may be far from ideal but still transformative.

The announcement, accompanied by four other climate-related targets, was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 26th UN Conference of the Parties or better known as COP26 on 1 November.

And the announcement came as a surprise to many, given that India, up until just a few days ago, rejected all global pressures to announce such a commitment.

Along with the net-zero pledge, India has promised to increase its installed renewable capacity and the share of non-fossil fuel energy sources from 40 percent to 50 percent by 2030. All of these commitments do sound great as pledges but how substantive are they in nature?

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And with a significantly later net-zero deadline than many other countries, have we set ourselves an ambitious enough target or have we left enough just enough wiggle room to get by? Are these pledges another set of low hanging fruit or will they have a real impact on the climate?

To analyse India’s new climate commitments, for this episode, we speak with Anjal Prakash, who is the Research Director and Associate Professor at Bharti Institute of Public Policy at Indian School of Business and an IPCC author. Tune in!

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