The world is on the cusp of a significant climate shift because of ignorance and inaction towards our environment. While climate treaties such as the UN Climate Convention have been in place for decades, there is a need to take more concrete action to contain the impact of climate change.
The solution for countries and governments worldwide is to work towards a net zero carbon goal.
What is a Net Zero Carbon Goal?
Everyone knows what are net carbon emissions and their impact on the planet’s environmental landscape.
Net zero refers to emissions balanced by equivalent net carbon emissions from the atmosphere. The world must achieve the net zero carbon goal by 2050 to reach the 1.5°Centrigrade global warming target set in the Paris Agreement.
It has always been the developed nations of the world that have taken the lead in committing to the net zero carbon goal. However, the United Kingdom, France, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark have been the first few countries that have already enshrined their net zero carbon goal in their national law.
However, India’s announcement to commit to a net zero carbon goal at the COP26 climate change conference by Prime Minister Narendra Modi did take the world by surprise.
What are the 5 Challenges to Making India’s Net Zero Carbon Goal a Reality?
Despite India’s COP26 promises at the conference, achieving the net zero carbon goal by 2070 can be challenging.
Let’s examine the five key challenges deter India from achieving its COP26 promises.
1. Create a Decarbonization Plan that is Actionable and Affordable
India’s journey to achieving the net zero carbon goal in less than 50 years needs the support of a well-thought-out and detailed decarbonization roadmap. The plan will map the overall journey and incorporate macro and micro milestones with clear strategies to achieve them through a blueprint of concrete action points.
The document must also capture the sequence of rolling out the decarbonization levers and business models. How organizations and enterprises across the country will integrate their strategies to minimize carbon footprint will play a supporting role in India’s carbon-free journey.
Additionally, the decarbonization roadmap should include ways to accelerate or even change course given the rapidly transforming regulatory and technological landscape, along with a detailed cost structure aligned with the plan.
2. Driving Businesses to Adopt and Integrate Carbon Targets into Corporate Governance
Though Prime Minister Modi may have pledged to reach the net zero carbon goal on India’s behalf, it is the corporate that must come forward to drive this mission forward. To initiate the process, the carbon KPIs that will support decarbonization at scale should be integrated into the business enterprises’ corporate governance structure and decision-making mechanisms.
The financial and strategic merits of decarbonization should be charted out clearly to overcome the adoption challenge. Moreover, the incentives, objectives, and goals must align with the plan’s carbon impact and performance.
3. Share Relevant Carbon Data with All Involved Stakeholders
Almost 50% of business leaders in India confirmed not using emissions data to make business decisions due to a lack of easy accessibility to the information or confidence in the source of the data.
The net zero carbon goal may become possible when all stakeholders involved in the mission have access to accurate data insights on net carbon emissions in a transparent and streamlined manner. In addition, emission data will help drive informed decision-making at the corporate level.
4. Drive Affordability by Leveraging Green Finance Solutions
Many companies have reported a lack of sustainable financing frameworks, for example, green loans and green bonds, which can be a way forward in terms of allocating the necessary capital for decarbonization projects at the corporate level.
The government of India, in collaboration with banks and NBFCs, can help to establish several green financing and regulatory support mechanisms that, in turn, will be a critical driver that will play an essential role in helping India’s COP26 promises. Moreover, it will initiate the change process and minimize costs for companies that commit to decarbonization action.
5. Lack of Co-ordination on Decarbonization and Mobilizing the Organization for Delivery
For India’s net zero carbon goal to become a reality, corporates must collaborate with local bodies, governments, and relevant authorities. Currently, there is a massive bottleneck in this space where stakeholders act in isolation rather than taking cohesive measures that can lead to better outcomes.
Moreover, decarbonization is not the responsibility of corporates alone. The country must be conscious and aware, and the government must take necessary action to mobilize delivery across all population segments.
Experts believe that the net zero carbon goal the Indian government committed to is not an impossible task to achieve by 2070. Moreover, when you look at it in combination with other targets the Modi government set, the plan fits in entirely with the long-term goals.
The path to transformation will not happen overnight and will require decades of strategic planning and implementation at various levels. The COP26 promises will inspire the industry to invest in technologies to support decarbonization. India’s per capita income could increase by 2070, creating the necessary fiscal space for this transition to play out smoothly.
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