India’s PM Narendra Modi Wants $1 Trillion to Reduce Pollution

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at the World Leaders' Summit "Accelerating Clean Technology Innovation and Deployment" session at the COP26 Climate Conference at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, Scotland on November 2, 2021. - More than 80 countries have signed up to a US and EU pledge to …
JEFF J MITCHELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, on Monday that his country will target “net-zero” carbon emissions by the year 2070.

However, Modi said this goal was only attainable if wealthy countries contributed at least a trillion dollars toward international climate change programs.

Modi’s announcement was taken as a “surprise” by Australia’s ABC News because last week the Indian government rejected calls for setting a net-zero target date. Instead, Indian environment secretary R.P. Gupta suggested it was important to work on pollution in the near term.

ABC noted that India is considered the world’s third-largest producer of carbon emissions, but its net-zero target date is ten years later than China’s (the top emitter, by far) and 20 years later than the pledges made by the United States and Australia. The BBC charitably noted that India would weigh in as the fourth-largest emitter if the European Union is taken as a single entity.

“The prime minister appears to have found the middle ground for his base – he is seen as being serious about climate change but without compromising India’s economic potential,” the BBC judged, noting the proliferation of approving headlines from international media about Modi’s “big” and “bold” announcement.

Modi claimed India has honored past climate pledges “in spirit and letter,” and argued his country is “responsible for only 5 percent of global emissions” even though it includes 17 percent of the world’s population.

“More people travel on the Indian railways every year than the entire population of the world. This huge railway system has committed to attain net zero by 2030. This initiative alone will reduce carbon emissions by 60 million tonnes annually,” Modi said.

Modi demanded copious international assistance to finance the dramatic changes in Indian industry he promised.

“It is India’s expectation that the world’s developed nations make $1 trillion available as climate finance as soon as possible. Justice would demand that those nations that have not kept their climate commitments should be pressured,” he said.

Modi was referring to the $100 billion promised by developed nations at the Paris climate conference in 2015 to finance green energy projects and other pollution controls in the developing world.

The leaders of developing nations complain the United States and Europe have provided only a portion of the funding they promised in 2015, and as Modi said in his COP26 address, they claim even the full $100 billion would be only a fraction of the money needed. Demanding ten times as much will not be easy in a world where even the mightiest economies were ravaged by the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.

One of the more expensive projects that might be funded by that gigantic tax on the developed world is “One Sun, One World, and One Grid,” a project Modi touted for building a vast network of solar panels around the Earth.

“Solar energy is totally clean and sustainable. [The] challenge is that this energy is only available during daytime and dependent on the weather. ‘One Sun, One World & One Grid’ is [the] solution to this problem. Through a worldwide grid, clean energy can be transmitted to anywhere and anytime,” Modi said.

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.