At the Leaders’ Summit on Climate, he committed his country to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent by 2030, and doubling the target it set under the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Leaders of countries such as Brazil, Canada, India, Japan and the United Kingdom made new pledges or reaffirmed earlier promises to help save the planet from environmental disaster.
Ahead of the conference, the UK had already announced its own plans to cut carbon emissions 78 per cent from 1990 levels by 2035. This brings the previous goal 15 years ahead.
The prime ministers of Japan and Canada have also committed to substantially increasing their previous commitments to curb carbon emissions and will target net zero emissions by 2050. Japan is the world’s fifth largest emitter of carbon dioxide, and Canada is 11th.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, in a change from his previous position, promised to end illegal deforestation in the country by 2030 and to be carbon neutral by 2050. In addition, he has submitted a request to the United States to help fund conservation efforts for the Amazon rainforest to reach Worth to one billion US dollars.
Although India was not mandating a new target, Prime Minister Narendra Modi confirmed the country’s pledge to install 450 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030, which is five times the current capacity and two and a half times the time it pledged in Paris.
Although Singapore, a small island nation, is a tiny polluter on a global scale, it was one of forty countries invited to the US summit. It is the leading Asian country in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) latest Energy Transition Index (ETI) that measures progress towards a more inclusive, sustainable, affordable and safe energy system. It is ranked 21 in the world.
Singapore plans to quadruple its solar energy production by 2025, as well as to open one of the world’s largest floating solar systems that will replace 33,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually.
In February this year, five Singapore ministries jointly released a blueprint titled “Singapore Green Plan 2030” that charts the island nation’s path towards a more sustainable future over the next decade.
The five ministries said in a joint statement that “the comprehensive plan will enhance the Singaporean economy, resilience to climate and resources, improve the living environment for Singaporeans, and provide new jobs and job opportunities.”
Under the Green Plan, the sustainability standards for buildings will be raised while supporting the development of environmentally friendly buildings that incorporate cost-effective green technologies that enhance energy efficiency.
To promote green mobility, the city’s rail network will be expanded by more than 50 percent to 360 km. This is to reduce your dependence on personal cars in favor of public transportation. The length of the cycling paths will triple.
Singapore, which is already widely considered a green city, will have more plants planted along the streets and natural parks will be increased by more than 50 percent by 2030. The plan to expand green spaces will reduce ambient temperatures in the city.
The fossil fuel industry is an important part of Singapore’s economy as it is a major hub for petroleum refining and an important center for global LNG (liquefied natural gas). However, it aims to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.
Research is underway to help Singapore harness low-carbon alternatives such as using hydrogen as fuel. Programs will be launched to help Singaporean companies develop their clean energy capabilities. The island will also be transformed into a sustainable tourism destination.
As of 2030, only gasoline and electric hybrid and electric cars can be sold in Singapore and by 2040, nearly all vehicles on the road will be “green”.
Already, plans are in place to install more than 60,000 electric vehicle charging points across the island by 2030, compared to fewer than 500 charging points today. Import duties and road taxes for electric cars have also been reduced to encourage their use.
In the aforementioned WEF Energy Transition Index (ETI) covering 115 countries, India ranked 87. The ETI assesses the performance of each country’s energy systems across three dimensions – economic development and growth, environmental sustainability, energy security and access indicators – and their willingness to transition to energy systems. Safe, sustainable, affordable and comprehensive.
The report commended India for targeting “improvements through subsidy reforms and a rapid expansion of energy access, with a strong political commitment and regulatory environment for energy transition.”
Instead of targeting only environmental and climate sustainability, India has implemented a broad plan covering 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets in 2015 which went into effect in January 2016.
This is part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the 193 member states at the UN General Assembly summit that aims to build a more prosperous, equal and secure world by 2030.
The SDGs encompass areas as diverse as poverty, hunger, health and well-being, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, clean and affordable energy measures, sustainable cities and societies, and sustainable consumption and production, to name a few.
India has not committed to its net-zero emissions target. Instead, it has committed to its pledge in the Paris Agreement to reduce its carbon emissions by 33 to 35 percent of its 2005 levels by 2030, and aims to outperform those targets.
With nearly 65 percent of India still living in rural areas, India is still in the throes of industrialization and its energy needs are very different from those of the United States, China, Russia or Japan, which are the countries with the closest carbon emissions.
To put things in perspective, even though India generates about 70 percent of its energy needs using coal, the per capita emissions in India are an eighth of that of the United States and less than a third of the emissions in China.
“The scale of the transition will be enormous for India, and there is a risk that in trying to reach net zero by 2050, we will end up restricting the energy needs of the poor,” said Navruz K. Reuters quoted Policy Research as saying. (Ani)