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Six Charts Show How Hard It Is for India to Hit Net Zero

The world’s third largest emitter will need to completely overhaul its economy

Views Of The NTPC Ltd. Badarpur Coal Plant As Power Generator Announces Earnings

Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg

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(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.