India has become the latest country to consider its net zero future, with the country now considering a 2050 deadline. This is quite ambitious for the world’s third largest polluter, and is a decade sooner than neighbouring China.
China won international praise when it set its 2060 target in September 2020, but India is arguably the more important prize. Despite being the third largest polluter in the world, behind both the United States and China, India could potentially see its emissions grow rapidly as its economy continues to develop. By setting a goal for the reduction in carbon emissions, India is committing to clean growth.
That’s not to say that India’s road to net zero won’t be difficult. In fact, the country is extremely dependent on coal, meaning it will need to entirely rethink its electrical grid. Thankfully, it already has a plan for that, with the country committing to expand its renewable generation capacity to 450GW, which is almost five times existing capacity.
The biggest tightrope that India has to cross is the fact that the country is still in a period of rapid industrialisation. Historically, as a country industrialises, their emissions grow with the economy. If India is to commit to a 2050 deadline for net zero emissions, it has to learn to grow its industrial centre without adversely impacting the atmosphere.
Unfortunately, India is yet to actually commit to the 2050 deadline. It wants to wait and see what the United States does first. The United States has yet to set a legally-binding net zero target, although President Biden has committed to achieving net zero stateside by 2050. Of course, that goal could always be undone if Trump was to return in 2024.
We’re likely to see some major promises for the green economy in 2021, especially with COP26 taking place in the UK, which has become a champion for the net zero mission. Hopefully, the promises made this year are more than just hot air. You only have to look at the UK Government’s recent Budget to realise that the green revolution isn’t yet in high gear. Let’s hope someone learns to change gear sooner rather than later.
This editorial originally appeared in the Electrical Review Newsletter dated March 18, 2021. To ensure you receive these editorials direct to your inbox, subscribe to the newsletter now.