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Corporate India must commit to net zero by 2050: Jayant Sinha

27 Jan 2022

Release on Jayant Sinha session

Though the government has set 2070 as the deadline for reaching net zero emissions, corporate India must set itself more aggressive targets for net zero status, according to Mr Jayant Sinha, Member of Parliament.

Mr Sinha was interacting with India's management leaders, experts and academics in AIMA's 53rd LeaderSpeak programme. He made a presentation arguing that net zero is net positive for India and advocated a green frontier development model for the country.

Mr Shrinivas Dempo, Senior Vice President, AIMA and Chairman, Dempo Group, moderated the discussion and Ms Rekha Sethi, Director General, AIMA anchored the session.

Mr Sinha insisted that it would be a mistake for India to continue with its the conventional 'farm-to-factory' development model in the 21st century, as it would result in India's greenhouse gas emission continuing to increase till 2050 and preventing the country from meeting its commitment to become net zero by 2070.

Citing global climate change models, Mr Sinha said that under the business as usual conditions and the current policy environment, India will become the world's biggest emitter by 2050, contributing 30%-40% of the entire world's emissions. "Other countries will be reducing emissions while India would be increasing its emissions. The world will not accept this," he said.

Mr Sinha argued that India must bend the emission curve and try to contain its emissions to 2 billion tonnes by 2050 to become net zero by 2070 instead of ending up with 7 billion tonnes by 2050. "We need to change policies radically to meet out commitment," he said.

If India has to reach net zero status by 2070, the country needs to have $2-3 trillion incremental investment in green technologies, most of it in the private sector, Mr Sinha argued. "If we double the capex from now, the GDP will grow 2%-3% faster and new and better jobs will be created," he said.

"An Atmanirbhar Bharat has to be a net zero Bharat", Mr Sinha asserted, pointing out that going net zero is not merely about carbon emission, it is also about being globally competitive. He said that the EU was very serious about imposing a carbon border tax. He also said that companies will find their funding linked to their emissions because the investors will hold them responsible for net zero targets.

Mr Dempo pointed out that India had a strong dependence on coal, which had been exposed recently when coal shortages led to interruption of power and industrial production. Mr Sinha said that as the MP for Hazaribagh, one of India's largest coal producing areas, he was very sensitive to the coal issues. However, he said, India has 50 years to replace coal and care must be taken to avoid spot coal shortages and green inflation, which is happening because of global move away from fossil fuels. "We need orderly adjustment," he said, adding that the policy window for transition that is available now will shut after this decade.

Balancing the switch to technology-driven green frontier development and job creation for the ordinary Indians will be a key challenge, Mr Sinha said. He insisted that creating digital jobs is the better way to go than to create brown factory jobs, as digital jobs at a large scale will enable India to move towards net zero while also increasing the income of the workers. "Innovations in business models by companies will create green jobs," he said.

The government's role in this transition must be to unleash the market forces and enable the private sector to do bulk of the investing and job creation, Mr Sinha said.

The session was streamed live on AIMA's social media channels also and more than 500 people attended the session.

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