The United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, on Thursday, April 8, said India's commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions is not an "absolute requirement", and that was not his message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He added that India is doing all that is needed to get there.
Speaking to the media a day after his meeting with PM Modi, Kerry said, "Do I think it (a net-zero target) could be? Yes. Am I sitting here saying that's what India surely has to do? No, that's not my message in my meeting with the Prime Minister. He understands the challenge, and that's better than a lot of nations."
The US has been pushing for net-zero carbon emissions, in which a nation compensates for the greenhouse gases it emits by ensuring that an equal amount is absorbed and removed.
On April 22-23, US President Joe Biden will host a virtual Climate Leaders' Summit, which will include PM Modi. The US is likely to agree to achieve the net-zero target by 2050 at the summit to retake global climate leadership.
The US contributes to 15 per cent of the total greenhouse gases and remains one of the powerful economies in the world, according to BBC. So when former President Donald Trump pulled out from Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees compared to the pre-industrial level, it created trust issues as climate change is a global phenomenon.
Kerry said the if India succeeds in its plan to fulfil the nation's power needs through 450 gigawatts of renewable sources by 2030, it would be one of the few countries helping to keep Earth's temperature to 1.5 degrees alive.
Welcomes Disha Ravi's Activism
In response to a question regarding the role of young climate activists and how governments can safeguard or encourage them–in the backdrop of Disha Ravi's case–Kerry said he "welcomes that kind of activism", The India Express reported.
"Human rights are always a critical issue to the United States. Young people have been key to pushing a lot of adults to do what adults are supposed to do. I personally welcome that kind of activism," he added.
Kerry also highlighted that climate change was one of the factors the voters considered during the recent US presidential elections. He said it was the first time since 1970 that the atmosphere and climate crisis were voting concerns, and young people led that charge.
On February 13, the Delhi police had arrested 22-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi from her residence in Bengaluru for her alleged involvement in editing a "toolkit" in support of farmers' protest. The toolkit was shared by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. The police had accused Ravi of giving "a call for economic warfare against India and certain Indian companies".
Disha Ravi was granted bail on February 23 after spending 10 days in jail.