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David Fickling

India’s 2070 Climate Target Is a Far Bigger Deal Than It Sounds

The world’s third-biggest polluter is setting real limits on its carbon footprint, as renewable installations approach the finish line and fossil-fuel power use declines fast.

Here comes the sun.

Here comes the sun.

Photographer: Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

For a world that needs its carbon emissions to diminish to nothing within the next 30 years, the announcement by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi of a 2070 net zero target might sound profoundly disappointing.

The world’s biggest emitter, China, isn’t promising zero before 2060. The second-largest, the U.S., is unlikely to be able to pass legislation through Congress sufficient to fortify President Joe Biden’s 2050 target against unpicking by future administrations or the courts. Now the third-ranked polluter is out with a promise that’s 20 years too late. After a lackluster communique on climate from the Group of 20 meeting in Rome, the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow might appear to have already failed.