The 28th Conference of the Parties (COP 28) unfolds in Dubai as a critical juncture for global efforts to combat climate change. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visionary leadership and India’s unwavering commitment to climate action set the stage for substantive discussions. The narrative, beyond rhetoric, encompasses India’s achievements, including audacious targets for carbon neutrality and renewable energy. Initiatives like the Green Credit Program and Lead IT 2.0 underscore India’s pivotal role in driving a sustainable, low-carbon future. Challenges persist, notably in climate financing, but COP 28’s legacy embodies hope, determination, and a global commitment to collaborative climate action. As the conference unfolds, it becomes a catalyst for change and a testament to the power of unified global collaboration in addressing the defining challenge of our times – climate change. The seeds planted in Dubai hold the promise of a greener, more sustainable world for generations to come.
As the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP 28) kicks off in Dubai, the global community converges to confront the existential challenge of our era – climate change. At the forefront of this global endeavour is the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose clarion call for robust support to developing nations and India’s unwavering commitment to climate action set the tone for substantive discussions and tangible outcomes.
India’s Leadership in Climate Action
On November 30, during Prime Minister Modi’s journey en route to Dubai, he reiterated India’s commitment to tangible climate action, emphasizing the nation’s concrete efforts beyond rhetoric. Underlining the significance of climate issues during India’s G20 presidency, he highlighted the New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration, which outlines pragmatic measures for climate action and sustainable development. Anticipating COP 28, Modi expressed eagerness for the summit to build upon the consensus achieved during India’s G20 presidency—a testament to India’s proactive stance on climate action and sustainable development. This lays the groundwork for critical discussions on greenhouse gas emissions reduction and climate change mitigation. Modi’s vision positions the summit as a pivotal juncture for reviewing progress under the Paris Agreement of 2015 and charting a trajectory that guides the global community toward a more sustainable future.
In a passionate call for equitable climate action, Modi invoked the Voice of Global South Summit initiated by India. This platform advocates for principles of equity, climate justice, and acknowledges the concept of common but differentiated responsibilities. The Prime Minister underscored the imperative of substantial support, including climate financing and technology transfer, recognizing these as vital pillars for the endeavours of the developing world.
India’s Achievements and Commitments
The narrative articulated by Prime Minister Modi is not one of mere words but of substantial achievements in the realm of environmental stewardship. India’s strides in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and afforestation were brought to the forefront, exemplifying a nation committed to tangible results. The comprehensive climate action plan which is encapsulated in the Panchamrit objectives that sets audacious targets: achieving carbon neutrality by 2070 and elevating non-fossil fuel energy capacity to 500 GW by 2030, with half from renewables. The nation aspires to curtail carbon emissions by one billion tonnes by 2030, decrease the economy’s carbon intensity to below 45%, and attain carbon neutrality by 2070. Modi additionally urged developed economies to commit $1 trillion for climate financing, emphasizing the need for accountability in fulfilling climate finance commitments. This comprehensive strategy underscores India’s commitment to sustainable energy, emissions reduction, and global collaboration in combating climate change.
Modi’s emphasis on climate financing and technology transfer underscores India’s proactive stance in addressing the specific needs of developing nations. It is a call to recognize that true progress in climate action requires a collaborative effort, where more affluent nations extend a helping hand to those still on the path to development.
Global Collaboration and Partnerships
The stage at COP 28 witnessed the spotlight on the robust partnership between India and the UAE, two nations leading the charge in global renewable energy efforts. Their collaboration extends beyond national borders; it has the potential to establish a common grid, enhance energy security, and support initiatives like the International Solar Alliance’s Global Solar Facility.
COP 28 unfolded with significant milestones, including commitments from oil and gas companies to become net-zero by 2050. Major economies, particularly the United States and China, showcased alignment towards climate action and methane emissions reduction. The Global Stocktake, a comprehensive evaluation assessing nations’ progress under the Paris Agreement, added to the optimism surrounding COP 28.
Challenges and Expectations
However, amid the positive developments, challenges persist on the road to a sustainable future. Climate financing, technology transfer, and the operationalization of the Loss and Damage fund demand sustained attention and collaborative solutions. The global community keenly awaits credible progress on the New Collective Quantified Goal on Climate Finance.
As COP 28 progresses, nations find themselves at a crossroads, navigating complex negotiations to address the widening gap between climate targets and actual actions. The global stocktake emerges as a critical juncture, urging countries to move beyond rhetoric and take practical, honest, and realistic steps in the collective fight against climate change.
Prime Minister Modi’s Initiatives: Green Credit and Beyond
Simultaneously, the Green Credit Initiative, derived from the Green Credit Programme announced in October, unfolds as a market-driven strategy to incentivize voluntary environmental efforts. During his two-day presence at the UN climate conference in the UAE, Prime Minister Modi is poised to unveil this initiative alongside another one targeting industries.
The ongoing COP 28 serves as the backdrop for these initiatives, with Prime Minister Modi presenting India’s climate actions and participating in high-level events. The Green Credits Initiative focuses on issuing green credits for afforestation on waste and degraded lands, aligning with India’s commitment to environmental stewardship.
In conjunction with the Green Credits Initiative, Prime Minister Modi introduces Lead IT 2.0, a ‘Leadership Group for Industry Transition,’ co-hosted by India and Sweden. Launched in 2019, this joint initiative aims to foster collaboration among decision-makers and unite public and private sector entities to accelerate the transition to net-zero emissions.
The upcoming high-level event, co-hosted by India and Sweden as part of the sideline activities at COP 28, holds profound significance. This event marks the unveiling of Lead IT 2.0, a visionary initiative in the realm of climate action. Originally launched in 2019 at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, Lead IT 2.0 is not merely an acronym but a beacon for a sustainable future.
Lead IT, or Leadership for Industry Transition, epitomizes a collaborative effort between India and Sweden. At its core, this initiative aims to foster cooperation among decision-makers, transcending the traditional boundaries that separate the public and private sectors. The primary goal is nothing short of accelerating the transition of industries to achieve net-zero emissions, with a particular focus on heavy industries.
The joint launch of Lead IT 2.0 underscores the commitment of both nations to chart a course toward a decarbonized future. It signifies a shared dedication to address the pressing challenges posed by industries crucial to global climate action. By convening decision-makers from both the public and private spheres, Lead IT 2.0 becomes a catalyst for meaningful collaboration, transcending the conventional barriers that often impede progress.
The essence of Lead IT 2.0 lies in its emphasis on sectors deemed pivotal in the broader landscape of global climate action. These are not just industries; they are the linchpins requiring targeted and strategic interventions to align with the objectives set forth in the Paris Agreement. By bringing together nations and businesses under the umbrella of Lead IT, the initiative becomes a dynamic force driving collective efforts toward a sustainable and low-carbon future.
In a world where industry transitions are paramount for climate resilience, Lead IT 2.0 emerges as a cornerstone initiative. It signifies a departure from conventional approaches, acknowledging that addressing the climate crisis demands collaborative endeavors that transcend geopolitical and sectoral boundaries. As decision-makers converge under the Lead IT banner, the initiative becomes a testament to the power of unified action in the pursuit of a net-zero emissions trajectory.
The launch of Lead IT 2.0 at COP 28 is not merely an event; it is a commitment unfolding on a global stage. It exemplifies the spirit of cooperation between nations and underscores the shared responsibility to drive tangible changes in industrial practices. As we stand at the precipice of transformative climate action, Lead IT 2.0 emerges as a beacon, guiding industries toward a future where sustainability and economic progress harmoniously coexist.
Additionally, Prime Minister Modi will participate in the high-level event ‘Transforming Climate Finance,’ hosted by the COP 28 Presidency. This comprehensive engagement underscores India’s proactive role in addressing climate change, building on the Prime Minister’s prior involvements in COP 21 in 2015 and COP 26 in 2021.
Shaping the Narrative: Modi’s Engagements and India’s Active Participation
In the coming days, Prime Minister Modi’s engagements with global leaders and India’s active participation in COP 28 events will shape the narrative. This reinforces India’s commitment to fostering international collaboration and driving substantive progress in climate action.
The legacy of COP 28 hinges on the collective will to turn ambitious rhetoric into impactful actions, ensuring a sustainable and equitable future for all. As COP 28 unfolds, India’s leadership and innovative initiatives, exemplified by the Green Credit Initiative, illuminate the path forward in the global pursuit of a sustainable and resilient future.
Conclusion: Forging a Sustainable Tomorrow
In conclusion, as the final moments unfold at COP 28 in Dubai, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visionary leadership and the collective efforts of nations have set the stage for a sustainable tomorrow. Beyond rhetoric, India’s commitment to climate action, equity, and inclusivity, as seen in the Voice of Global South Summit, exemplifies a nation actively pursuing change. The ambitious targets for carbon neutrality and renewables, collaborative partnerships, and transformative initiatives like the Green Credit Initiative and Lead IT 2.0 underscore India’s pivotal role in driving a sustainable, low-carbon future. Challenges persist, demanding sustained attention, but COP 28’s legacy is one of hope, determination, and a global commitment to tackle climate change collaboratively. The journey toward a sustainable tomorrow requires the collective will of nations and individuals, with COP 28 serving as a catalyst for change and a testament to the power of global collaboration in addressing the defining challenge of our times – climate change. The seeds planted in Dubai hold the promise of a greener, more sustainable world for generations to come.
*Sunanda Garain is a Doctoral Fellow at Mahatma Gandhi Central University, Motihari, Bihar. She contributes regular articles on issues of utmost importance.