India's new climate goals will be difficult to achieve without significantly compromising the country's stated economic targets and its ambition to become a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25, according to global forecasting firm Oxford Economics. It further said India's pledge to achieve ''net zero'' emissions by 2070 is admirable, but the path announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at COP26 toward achieving that goal is ambitious.
"We think the new climate goals will be difficult to achieve without significantly compromising India's stated economic targets and its ambition to become a $5 trillion economy by 2024/25. Indeed, it may not even be possible," Oxford Economics said.
In 2019, Modi envisioned to make India a $5 trillion economy and global powerhouse by 2024-25. Last month, the Prime Minister announced a bold pledge that India will achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2070 and asserted that it is the only country that is delivering in "letter and spirit" the commitments on tackling climate change under the Paris Agreement.
According to Oxford Economics, financing the transition will also be a big challenge. "Studies peg the investment bill at around $200 billion per year in 2020s and 2030s for India to become net zero by 2070. The spending requirements increase progressively as the low cost technologies are exhausted," it said.
Net-zero emissions mean that the world is not adding new emissions to the atmosphere. With funding from developed economies likely to disappoint, Oxford Economics noted that India will be relying on private investment to fill the gap between its domestic resources and the requirements
"The bleak track record of foreign investment in infrastructure projects doesn't augur well in this regard," it said. The global forecasting firm suggested that given these issues, "we think India's net-zero timeline will need to be revisited. We maintain our baseline view of India's carbon emissions beginning to peak in the late 2040s." Oxford Economics also noted that India's de-carbonisation plan suffers from low emphasis on carbon removal strategies.