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Net zero emission? Govt approach casual, India 'may not reach' target even by 2080

By Shankar Sharma* 

Two recent news items -- Railways plans to achieve net-zero carbon emission by 2030 and UN body reaches long-term aviation climate goal of net zero by 2050 -- should throw many credible questions on India's "too little, too late" target year of 2070 for net zero carbon emissions. “Indian Railways has planned to gradually reduce its carbon footprint and become Net Zero Carbon Emitter by 2030," the ministry is reported to have stated.
Indian Railways deserve our respects for such an ambitious but critically needed resolution. How nice it would be if all the Central government. agencies take such a pro-active initiative, and set a model for all the state government agencies!
The Union government itself should learn a lesson or two from this planning of Railways. The public should have no difficulty to congratulate Indian Railways even if it reaches its target 2-3 years later. What is important is the intention to do well, start early and to make an honest effort.
If Railways, with a limited resource base and limited political and administrative power, can aim for net zero target by 2030, why is it that the Union government cannot aim for at least 2050 as the target year? Even if it is not possible to reach the target by 2050, despite honest efforts, we may reach there by 2055 or 2060.
It is deplorable that the government has taken an irrational or callous approach to such a critical issue of life and death for our people. With such a casual approach our country may not reach the target even by 2080; anyways, that target year may seem irrelevant in the larger context of climate change, assuming that most other countries also might have taken such a casual approach, and because of which the tipping point for the climate change might been crossed by then.
It is very unfortunate that most sections of our society, including most intellectuals, do not seem to be concerned about this irrational target year of 2070 for India.
*Power and climate policy analyst



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