India rejects net zero carbon emissions target ahead of COP26

·1 min read

India's top environmental official on Wednesday dismissed calls to set forth a net zero carbon emissions target, arguing such goals were not the solution to the climate crisis, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: India is the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases after the U.S. and China.

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  • Gupta told reporters that net zero "in itself isn't a solution" as cumulative emissions were behind the climate crisis, per AP, which notes that the country has "historically contributed only 4% of total emissions since the 1850s."

  • "It is how much carbon you are going to put in the atmosphere before reaching net zero that is more important," he added, according to Reuters.

Of note: Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav said India was on course to meet the Paris Agreement target and said "all options" were on the table for newer goals, AP reports.

  • Yadav said wealthy nations should acknowledge their "historic responsibility" for emissions and help protect developing countries.

The big picture: Scientific reports have shown that such targets are necessary for reaching the 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2 degrees Celsius Paris goals. Agreeing to net-zero emissions by midcentury is a central goal of the U.S. and the United Kingdom, which is hosting the talks, Axios' Andrew Freedman notes.

Go deeper: The fraught sprint to the UN climate summit

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