Energy Transition #4. On PM Modi’s dramatic promises at COP 26.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow by storm.

Speaking at the summit, not only did he commit India to a net-zero target, he also made a series of aggressive commitments on behalf of the country by 2030.

By the end of this decade, he said, India will meet 50% of its energy requirements from renewable energy; installed capacity of non-fossil-fuel energy in India will stand at 500 GW; emissions intensity of the country’s GDP will drop by 46-48% from 2005 levels; and that its carbon emissions will be lower by one billion tons.

The first set of responses were predictable. In global climate circles, the mood was exuberant. The last remaining piece of the puzzle in tackling climate change might be “coming into focus”, one commentator wrote.

The Indian side itself was triumphant. “We don’t just set distant targets, we deliver them,” an Indian official in Glasgow told Climate Home News.

Neither perspective, however, is wholly accurate. It’s useful instead to take a closer look at these commitments to see why.

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