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energy | IST

India's 2070 net-zero goal a game changer, says UK High Commissioner

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CNBC-TV18’s Parikshit Luthra spoke to UK High Commissioner to India Alex Ellis who said India's need for competitiveness, sustainability and economic security may have played a role in its stance on coal at the COP26 summit.

After hectic last-minute parleys, all nations agreed to ‘phase down’ the use of coal and not ‘phase out’ as the draft agreement had earlier envisaged. This change is largely being attributed to India and China. However, sources in the Ministry of External Affairs said the phrase ‘phase down’ did not come from India.
The term was from a joint statement issued by USA and China and India just backed it. Ministry sources also said the COP26 drafts were "very ambitious" on phasing out coal and fossil fuels and quite a few nations objected to it.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that while the Glasgow Climate Deal is a game-changing agreement, his delight at the progress was "tinged with disappointment" because of the failure to secure the agreement to 'phase out' hydrocarbons.
CNBC-TV18’s Parikshit Luthra spoke to UK High Commissioner to India Alex Ellis who said India's need for competitiveness, sustainability and economic security may have played a role in its stance on coal.
Ellis said, “India’s pledge or Mr Modi's pledge at Glasgow, and he came to Glasgow to make it, to get to net-zero by 2070 is a game-changer because it puts the third biggest economy in the world and one of the most powerful countries in the world right on the path towards net zero and that is what Glasgow was really about. It is no longer about should we, can we, do we go for net-zero? We are on the path. The question now is how do we do it and by when do we do it?”
On how the UK will assist India, Ellis said, India’s net-zero target is ambitious and so are the targets to increase renewables 2030, the reduction in carbon intensity, and the reduction in emissions.
“We need to do research together. We are already doing that, for example, on electric vehicles, we could do that on hydrogen, we need to invest together. You have Tata, investing heavily in the United Kingdom, a big manufacturer of electric vehicles. You have got electric buses being made in India with a combination of British technology, and you are going to have policy development together,” he said.
Commenting on financial commitments, he said, the aim was to get to $100 billion per year, as per the 2009 commitment. “We use this year as the COP presidency to really put pressure on the developed world and we are almost there, we will get to that 100 billion by 2023, a couple of years’ time and we will go beyond it up to 2025,” he said.
According to Ellis, the real money is going to come from the private sector. “Mark Carney's initiative to try and to show the enormous amount of capital which can come into India into bankable projects and UK helps with that. How does it help? It helps through our private investment. CDC is going to invest over a billion dollars’ worth into India in the next few years into green projects,” he said.
For the full interview, watch the accompanying video...