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Kerry Will Visit Delhi To Demand That India Declare a Net-Zero Emissions Target Date

April 1 , 2021 (EIRNS)—U.S. Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry will visit India in early April, as a run-up to the April 22-23 virtual “Leaders Summit on Climate” hosted by President Joe Biden. Kerry’s April 1-9 itinerary will also include the United Arab Emirates and Bangladesh.

The Kerry visit is likely to focus on pressuring India to declare a target year, preferably 2050, for achieving net-zero emissions of greenhouse gas. But there is strong opposition within India, including prominent advisers to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, such as Chandrashekhar Dasgupta, a Member of Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change and former ambassador to China and the EU. In a March 30 interview with Hindustan Times, Dasgupta answered a question on what he believes would be the economic impact for India to pursue net-zero emissions target: “First, it would require us to immediately scrap all existing coal-based power plants and factories, or alternatively, retrofit them with carbon-capture and storage technology. This would entail astronomical costs at a time when the economy is already reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.” He said it would also quickly derail Modi’s “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” self-reliance policy: “It would necessitate an immediate switch-over to imported, existing clean energy technologies at a huge cost, denying our own industry the time required for indigenization or development of affordable indigenous technologies. Let us not forget that the U.S. lodged a complaint against us at the WTO when we took some modest measures to promote domestic manufacture of solar cells and modules.

“Third, we need to examine the trade-related implications of surrendering our principled position on ‘common and differentiated responsibilities.’ The European Union is set to impose levies on carbon-intensive imports, even from developing countries. It would be naive to think that the countries calling on India to adopt a 2050 net-zero target are motivated purely by altruistic concerns unrelated to commercial interests.”

The “common and differentiated responsibilities” refers to the argument that any global targets have to be applied in a differentiated way to developing countries, that are also trying to overcome underdevelopment.

The pressure on India is intense. Last February, The Energy and Resources Institute hosted an annual event, the World Sustainable Development Summit, in New Delhi with a focus on the climate crisis, with the presence of high-level representatives from the U.S., the U.K., and other countries, as well as the EU and the United Nations. At this virtual summit, John Kerry did not mince his words: “We all have to adopt the notion of zero emissions.” And his finger pointed towards India when he declared that “90% of the world’s emissions come from somewhere other than our country” and “70% come from somewhere other than China.”

The pressure has been building, especially over the last six months as the Biden administration took over the White House. Some analysts claim that China’s 2060 carbon-neutrality pledge has also contributed to the pressure, as has the U.K.’s diplomatic push to ramp up climate matters ahead of COP26. COP26 is the next UN climate change conference that was rescheduled from last year, now to be held in Glasgow, from Nov. 1-12. COP26 president Alok Sharma visited India in February and issued a statement before his departure stating, “I firmly believe that powerful action from India will be a catalyst for change, encouraging others to be more ambitious in their approaches to protecting both people and planet.”

With globalists warming turning up, discussions have begun in India on what it can do to withstand the pressure.

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