What are the aspirations of the planet’s most populous nation regarding the climate at COP28?

India, being the most populous nation globally and heavily reliant on coal, asserts itself as a representative for the Global South at COP28, aiming for international support in the face of challenges to curb emissions. Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasized the exploitation of nature by a few and its impact on the global South in his opening address, highlighting the importance of collective responsibility.

Despite being a significant carbon emitter, India’s per capita emissions are considerably lower than many other nations. It stresses that coal is pivotal for economic development and poverty reduction. However, its reliance on coal clashes with global calls for decarbonization, as India is hesitant to commit to immediate emissions cuts without substantial support from developed nations.

India’s strategy involves advocating for fairness in global climate policies, particularly concerning emission deadlines, representing low and middle-income countries that feel sidelined. Simultaneously, India is investing in renewable energy, aiming to significantly enhance its solar and wind power capacities by 2032, while also focusing on increasing non-fossil fuel power generation.

Although India’s efforts align with self-imposed net-zero emission targets by 2070, it primarily measures climate action using emissions intensity, emphasizing economic growth. India is cautious about adopting absolute emission reduction metrics until its economic status evolves. Furthermore, India, along with other vulnerable nations, pushes for swift action on a loss and damage fund, emphasizing the need for timely disbursement to address climate change impacts.

Overall, India’s stance at COP28 emphasizes a balancing act between economic growth, climate action, and seeking equitable international support to address climate challenges.

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