(This story was originally published on March 18. On Monday, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi surprised COP26 delegates in Glasgow with a pledge to reach net-zero by 2070.)
Top Indian government officials are debating whether to set a target for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Doing so would mean an overhaul of a coal-reliant energy sector, transport, heavy industry and even the nation’s sluggish bureaucracy.
All that must be achieved while the world’s third-biggest emitter also meets the aspirations of 1.4 billion people for faster economic development, which will only happen with an accelerated pace of industrialization and energy demand.