Cop26: India says it will only aim for net zero by 2070 in major blow to Boris Johnson

1 November 2021, 18:05 | Updated: 1 November 2021, 18:09

India is the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide.
India is the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

India will only aim for net zero emissions by 2070, two decades later than the COP26 target, in a major blow to Boris Johnson as the talks start in Glasgow.

It was hoped the UK-hosted summit would see countries agree to 2050 as the year to go net zero.

But on Monday afternoon, prime minister Narendra Modi defied the hopes of Boris Johnson and other world leaders by aiming for a much later end date.

India's 20-year delay to the net zero goal follows the likes of Russia who had already pushed back their target to 2060, despite being one of the biggest producers of emissions in the world.

Mr Modi's country is the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide, overtaken only by China and the US.

However, the prime minister argued that India was responsible for "only 5 per cent of global emissions", even with 17 per cent of the world's population.

"I am sure that the decisions taken in Glasgow will safeguard the future of generations to come and give them a safe and prosperous life," Mr Modi said, addressing delegates at the event.

He went on to say: "Today, the entire world acknowledges that India is the only big economy in the world that has delivered in both letter and spirit on its Paris commitments."

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The COP26 summit - taking place in Glasgow until 12 November - has been labelled by Boris Johnson as a "turning point for humanity", with world leaders coming together to discuss how they will tackle the climate crisis, as global warming continues to take its toll on the planet.

Countries are expected to continue working towards implementing the Paris Agreement from COP21 in 2015, which saw delegates commit to staying within 1.5C of pre-industrial levels.

It comes after Mr Johnson made a plea for countries to take action sooner rather than later during his speech at the opening of the conference on Monday, providing a stark warning for cities around the world.

He was joined by David Attenborough and Prince Charles, who said the "eyes and hopes of the world are upon" the leaders to make change at the event.

A pre-recorded video message from the Queen will also be shared for attendees during the event, after she was forced to pull out of attending Monday's reception in person under her doctor's advice to rest.