NEW DELHI: John Kerry, the US special envoy for climate change, on Tuesday said he did not have any serious “net-zero” conversations with the Indian leadership. Kerry has been here for the past couple of days to drum u p support from the Indian government on declaring more “ambitious” climate change goals in the run-up to COP 26 to be held in Glasgow in November.
Speaking to journalists here on Tuesday, Kerry said, “We did not spend a lot of time on ‘net zero’... We talked about it, and nobody suggested that it wasn’t a fair discussion… But the key is, what you’re really focused on is ‘now’, between 2020-2030.” He announced the appointment of former diplomat Robert Blake as the point person on climate change negotiations with India. Blake was an ex-deputy chief of mission in the US embassy in New Delhi, before going on to become the US ambassador to Indonesia, and worked the south Asia portfolio at US state department.
India has refused to be swayed into a declaratory posture on net zero. Instead, the goal of creating 450 GW of renewable energy is currently the core of India’s climate goals. “The modelling shows that if when that is achieved, that India is on track to hold on 1.5,” Kery said, referring to the goal of limiting global warming within 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels.
However, Kerry kept up the persuasion. “I’m suggesting that everybody’s got to kind of lay out a plan for whatever their energy sector is going to be, to map out how you get to 2050 and have an energy sector that can be net zero. That’s the challenge. And so the discussion I had here was… how do we do this together?”
He said six big banks — Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo and State Street Bank — have announced they would invest in green projects. “That’s a very important commitment because we need to know that people are hanging back, that they’re not going to be reluctant to try to find projects that we need to be relying on.”
While Kerry had only limited success in India — he was enthusiastic about India’s plans on green hydrogen, he has had even less success in China which linked success on climate change to the larger relationship.