Rich nations must commit more than $136b in climate fight, says India

People hold banners and signs as they take part in a "Fridays for Future" march calling for urgent measures to combat climate change, in New Delhi, India, on Sept 24, 2021.
PHOTO: Reuters

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NEW DELHI - Rich nations need to commit much more than $100 billion (S$136 billion) to help poor countries fight climate change due to their high historical share of emissions, India's chief economic adviser said on Thursday, ahead of a UN Climate Change Conference (COP26).

Wealthy nations are under ever-greater pressure to deliver on an unmet pledge, made in 2009, to send $100 billion a year to help finance an adequate response by developing countries to rising global temperatures as the world prepares for COP26.

"This $100 billion that the advanced economies are talking about actually for innovation in climate finance, you know, it's a drop in the ocean," K.V. Subramanian told Reuters.

"I think their commitment needs to be much greater."

Even though India has not yet committed to a net-zero emission target year, Asia's third largest economy will keep adding renewables to its energy mix and push industries to see the benefit of using cleaner fuels, he said.

Subramanian said the government was creating incentives for firms to pursue cleaner energy, without which net zero is just "talk without actually the actions happening."

Coal fired plants

India has installed over 100 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy, which accounts for over 25 per cent of its overall capacity. The energy hungry nation plans to increase its green energy capacity to 450 GW by 2030.

India will do everything that is necessary to attain average annual economic growth of over 7 per cent and coal fired plants will be part of the mix, he said.

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India is the world’s third-biggest greenhouse gas emitter after China and the United States and thus is vital in the fight against climate change, currently focused on reaching global net zero emissions by mid century or thereabouts.

The COP26 summit is seen as a crucial chance to wring out ambitious enough commitments from governments to stop global warming spiralling beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius - the limit that scientists say would avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

China has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2060 while US President Joe Biden has promised to cut US emissions 50 per cent to 52 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Earlier this year Reuters, citing sources, reported that India was unlikely to bind itself to a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions goal by 2050.