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Business News/ News / India/  India likely to push back on climate finance, access to tech at COP26
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India likely to push back on climate finance, access to tech at COP26

Analysts say New Delhi is in a “less defensive position” than earlier when it was dubbed a “deal breaker”, especially in 2009 and 2011.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be present at COP26 which starts with the World Leaders’ Summit from 1 to 2 November. (ANI)Premium
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be present at COP26 which starts with the World Leaders’ Summit from 1 to 2 November. (ANI)

NEW DELHI : Once known as the “deal breaker" in the climate change debate circles, India is going into the UN climate summit that started on Sunday armed a number of measures initiated domestically to mitigate the crisis beyond its present nationally determined contribution (NDC) besides promising a “constructive" approach at the talks.

While India could come under pressure from developed countries to announce a date by when it will be a net zero carbon economy at Glasgow, New Delhi will push back on issues like climate finance, access to technology for adaptation and mitigation and compensation for losses and damages caused by climate calamities due to the action of developed nations.

The 26th Conference of Parties (COP) began on Sunday and will last till 12 November. India’s delegation to Glasgow is headed by Union environment minister Bhupendra Yadav. Over 25,000 delegates are expected to attend the meet that will focus on the need to agree on strict measures limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C. Under current climate commitments, the world is likely to see a temperature increase of 2.7°C by the end of the century, a UN Environment Programme report released this month said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a large number of world leaders will be present at COP26 which starts with the World Leaders’ Summit from 1 to 2 November.

Analysts say New Delhi is in a “less defensive position" than in the past when it was dubbed “deal breaker", especially during climate conferences in 2009 and 2011 when India opposed legally-binding emission cuts and sought equity and common but differentiated responsibility (CBDR) from developed countries.

“If India was seen as a deal breaker in 2009, it is now looked upon as a partner because of the credibility India has gained with concrete steps to control emissions through its renewable energy programme," said former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal. “India is the only large country meeting its commitments under the Paris (climate) agreement. India has some basic positions with regard to setting a date for a carbon neutral economy which will put it at odds with developed countries and subject it to considerable pressure," said Sibal. 

“On issues like climate justice, technology and finance, India’s position will put developed countries on the mat with reference to their responsibility. One can anticipate tough negotiations but India has sufficiently cushioned itself so as not to be seen as a deal breaker," he added.

New Delhi has already announced an “aspirational goal" of generating 450 gigawatts (GW) of energy through renewable sources. It has announced a public-private finance partnership with the UK to the tune of $1.2 billion for green and renewable energy projects. The UK has also expressed its willingness for collaborating with India on green hydrogen. 

This week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson are set to launch the “one sun, one world, one grid" or OSOWOG, a concept New Delhi has been pushing through its International Solar Alliance (ISA). The idea fuelling the concept is to have a trans-national electricity grid supplying solar power across the globe. The ISA was announced by India and France on the margins of COP21 at Paris in 2015.

New Delhi has a “Green Strategic Partnership" with Denmark delivering sustainable solutions to India.

On Saturday, India and Italy agreed to explore development of green hydrogen, setting up renewable energy corridors, and joint projects in the natural gas sector.

“Despite our huge developmental challenges, we are taking ambitious action on expanding clean and renewable energy, energy efficiency, afforestation and biodiversity," Indian foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla told reporters in New Delhi last week. “We are going to Glasgow with a positive mindset. India has always approached the issue of climate change in a manner that is constructive….We have not only set NDCs, we have set targets that far exceed the NDCs by ourselves within our own country," he said.

“So I think our contribution at Glasgow would be important, and we would certainly want to go there to make the difference," Shringla added.

However, New Delhi has not yet agreed to include 450GW under its NDCs nor has it set a date to become a net zero carbon economy while many countries have agreed to 2050 as the date their economies would achieve net zero.

Environment minister Yadav in an interview with Hindustan Times last week said India would demand a “common level playing field for both developed and developing countries," for which “finance mobilization and technology transfer is a must." At COP26, “climate finance, and mitigation will be very important. India will play a constructive role during negotiations on these issues," the minister said.

Negotiating the implementation of carbon credits is also critical for India because trading can lead to both a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and in turn generate climate finance, he said. Carbon credits are generated when a country limits carbon emissions through a project. These credits can be sold to another nation that fails to meet its target.

Chandra Bhushan who heads the think-tank International Forum for Environment, Sustainability and Technology said that India has sent out “mixed signals" ahead of the Glasgow meet saying it would play a “constructive" role while displaying a hardline stance on issues like climate justice.

“We will have to wait for the prime minister's speech (on Monday) to see what India’s position is," he said.

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Updated: 31 Oct 2021, 03:43 PM IST
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