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India considers net zero goal around 2050, a decade before China: Report

Top Indian government officials are debating whether to set a goal to zero out its greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century, an ambitious target that would require overhauling its coal-dependent economy.

Officials close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi are working with senior bureaucrats and foreign advisers to consider ways to meet the 2050 deadline, according to people familiar with the matter. A 2047 target is also being considered, they said, to mark the centenary of India’s independence from British rule. The people asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

India, the world’s third-biggest emitter, has come under pressure to make a net-zero pledge ahead of global climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, this year. Signatories of the Paris Agreement are expected to boost their commitments to slow global warming, and China -- the biggest polluter and a rival of India -- won international praise for setting a 2060 net-zero target in September.

The timing and scope of India’s announcement could depend on pledges other nations make on April 22, when U.S. President Joe Biden is set to gather world leaders for an Earth Day summit. The event is the first such meeting Biden will host as president, and he’s asked climate envoy John Kerry to secure fresh commitments from attendees.

The Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change in New Delhi didn’t immediately respond to requests seeking comment.

“Every single country has to step up ambition,” Kerry told the BBC during his visit to the U.K. earlier this month. He explicitly included India while singling out “the 20 countries that are the equivalent of 81% of global emissions.”


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