COP28: India silent on fossil fuels phase-down despite green push

DUBAI: In a departure from its proactive efforts in Sharm El-Sheikh, India has been silent on the question on phasing out or down of fossil fuels at COP28.

Despite its aggressive renewable energy targets and its role in the adoption of the G20 commitment to triple renewable energy capacity, India has so far maintained a studied silence on the issue of fossil fuels at the ongoing UN Climate Conference in Dubai.

At COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh last year, India had proposed inclusion of clear language on phasing down all fossil fuels, not just coal, as agreed at the Glasgow meet.

Though the proposal failed to make the final cut, it gained the support of at least 80 countries and the European Union. This tentative alliance between India, the EU, and small island states was viewed by some observers as a new approach that was ambitious while being rooted in equity.

The proposal had not found support from India’s traditional negotiating partners such as China and Saudi Arabia.

Now, at Friday’s plenary marking the start of the second week of negotiations in Dubai, India did not address the issue in its intervention.Instead, it extended support for the position taken by the 43-member Like-minded Developing Countries (LMDC) group that includes China, Saudi Arabia, Bolivia, and Egypt, among others. In its intervention, LMDC said the focus should be on reducing emissions rather than on “sources”.India’s failure to take up from where it left off in Egypt has been something of a disappointment, particularly given its record on renewable energy, climate activists and observers said.

“India reversing its position on phase-out or phase-down of fossil fuels and joining China and the Arab countries for removing any references in the negotiating text at COP28 is disappointing but not surprising in absence of any references to means of implementation and finance for energy transition,” said Sanjay Vashist, director at Climate Action Network South Asia, a coalition of over 250 civil society organisations in eight South Asian countries working to promote actions to limit human-induced climate change.

Addressing the conference on Saturday, environment minister Bhupendra Yadav highlighted India’s record on clean and renewable energy. “India has also achieved 40% of electric installed capacity through non-fossil fuel sources nine years ahead of the target for 2030.


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