PM Modi proposes hosting 2028 UN climate talks, unveils ‘Green Credit Initiative’ at COP28 – EQ
In Short : The proposal to host the 2028 UN climate talks signifies India’s determination to take a leadership role in addressing climate change and promoting international collaboration on climate action. It underscores India’s willingness to contribute to the global agenda for combating climate change and fostering sustainable development.
In Detail : Dubai : Highlighting that India is among the only few countries in the world on track to fulfil its climate pledges, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday proposed to host the UN climate conference in 2028, and also launched a ‘Green Credit Initiative’ focused on creating carbon sinks through people’s participation.
Participating in multiple high-level events on the second day of the UN climate conference (COP28) here, the Prime Minister said rich nations should completely reduce their carbon footprint “well before” 2050 and give all developing countries their fair share in the global carbon budget.
He also urged countries to deliver a concrete outcome on finance to help developing and poor nations combat climate change at COP28.
Addressing the high-level segment for heads of state and governments, Modi said the Green Credits Initiative is a pro-planet, proactive and positive initiative, that goes beyond the commercial mindset associated with carbon credits.
“It focuses on creating carbon sinks through people’s participation and I invite all of you to join this initiative,” Modi said, stressing that the world does not have much time to correct the mistakes of the last century.
This initiative is similar to the Green Credit Programme, notified domestically in October. It is an innovative market-based mechanism designed to reward voluntary environmental actions in different sectors by individuals, communities and the private sector.
The Green Credit Initiative involves creating an inventory of degraded wastelands, which can be utilised for planting by individuals and organisations. Participants undertaking environmentally positive actions will receive tradable green credits.
The entire process, from registration to plantation, verification, and issuance of green credits, will be digitised.
If India’s proposal to host the UN climate conference in 2028 or COP33 is accepted, it would be the next big global conference in the country after the G20 Summit earlier this year.
India hosted COP8 in New Delhi in 2002 where countries adopted the Delhi Ministerial Declaration which called for efforts by developed countries to transfer technology and minimise the impact of climate change on developing countries.
Modi, along with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, launched LeadIT 2.0, an initiative aimed at co-developing and transferring low-carbon technology, which would also offer financial support for industry transition in developing nations.
Addressing a session on ‘Transforming Climate Finance’, Modi said India expects concrete and real progress on the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG), a fresh post-2025 global climate finance target to better meet the needs of developing countries.
Rich nations pledged in 2009 to raise USD 100 billion annually by 2020 to assist developing countries in combating and adjusting to climate change. Despite extensions to 2025, these nations have not met this commitment.
COP28 aims to establish the groundwork for a fresh post-2025 global climate finance goal, succeeding the USD 100 billion target. Countries aim to finalise this new goal by COP29 in 2024.
Modi also said that there should be no shortfall of money in the Green Climate Fund and the Adaptation Fund and that these be immediately replenished.
The Green Climate Fund, which was proposed at the 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen and began raising money in 2014, hasn’t come close to its goal of USD 100 billion annually.
The Adaptation Fund is a UN-backed fund that provides grants and loans to help developing countries adjust to climate impacts.
On day one of the Conference, countries clinched an early deal on the operationalisation of the Loss And Damage Fund with several nations including the host UAE, Germany, UK and USA pledging contributions, totalling to more than USD 400 million.
Asserting that India has presented a great example to the world of striking balance between development and environment conservation, the Prime Minister said, India is among the only few countries in the world on track to achieve its Nationally Determined Contributions or the national action plans to restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the guardrail to avoid worsening of the impact of the changing climate.
Modi was the only leader to join COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber on the stage along with the UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Steill at the opening plenary.
“Over the past century, a small section of humanity has indiscriminately exploited nature. However, the entire humanity is paying the price for this, especially people living in the Global South,” he said.
“Thinking only about our own interests will only lead the world into darkness,” the prime minister added.
Modi’s statement came in the context that the poor and developing nations bear the brunt of extreme climate events such as floods, droughts, heat/cold waves as a result of changing climate due to historic carbon emissions by the richer countries which have led to increased global warming.
The Prime Minister called for maintaining a balance between mitigation and adaptation and said that energy transition across the world must be “just and inclusive.” He also called rich countries to transfer technologies to help developing nations combat climate change.
Modi has been championing the Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE movement), which he had announced at the Glasgow COP in 2021), urging countries to adopt planet-friendly living practices and move away from deeply consumerist behaviour.
Citing a study by the International Energy Agency, Modi said, “This approach (LiFE) can reduce carbon emissions by 2 billion tonnes.” He called on the countries to work together and be decisive against the climate crisis.
“We shall cooperate with each other and shall support each other. We need to give all developing countries our fair share in the global carbon budget,” Modi said.
Climate science defines carbon budget as the amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted for a given level of global warming (1.5 degrees Celsius in this case).
Developed countries have already consumed more than 80 per cent of the global carbon budget, leaving developing and poor countries with very little carbon space for the future.
Modi highlighted that India is home to 17 per cent of the world’s population, but its share of global carbon emissions is less than 4 per cent.
“India is one of the very few economies in the world that is on track to achieve its NDC targets,” he said.
India achieved its emissions intensity-related targets 11 years ahead of the committed time frame and non-fossil fuel targets nine years ahead of schedule.
“And India did not just stop there, we remain ambitious,” he said.
The country aims to reduce emissions intensity of gross domestic product by 45 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels and achieve 50 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.
It has also committed to become a net zero economy by 2070.
As part of its G20 Presidency this year, India drew consensus from the world’s major economies for a Green Development Pact seeking to balance development and the environment.
The Pact shifted the conversations from the billions to the trillions needed for the energy transition. It noted that developing countries will need USD 5.8-5.9 trillion in the pre-2030 period, particularly to implement their NDCs.