India, the world's third-largest emitter, declined to attend a critical diplomatic summit in London this week, putting a further dent in global efforts to combat climate change.

According to sources present at the summit who asked not to be named, 51 countries were invited and India was the only one that did not attend a two-day ministerial conference in the United Kingdom capital, hosted by the incoming president of the COP26 United Nations talks.

The goal of the conference was to set the basis for a successful COP26, which will be held in Glasgow in three months. According to COP26 President Alok Sharma, this is the last chance to ensure that global temperature rises do not surpass 1.5 degrees Celsius, the Paris Agreement's lower limit. 

India was a prominent holdout at a Group of 20 conference last week that failed to reach a more ambitious climate deal.

The London event was designed to follow up on the G-20 by bringing together a larger group of people for face-to-face meetings. According to a statement made by Sharma's office prior to the summit, India was expected to attend.

India's Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change spokesperson, Gaurav Khare, said the government opted not to attend in person because the country had previously expressed its views during the G-20 meeting in Naples. It was then unable to participate virtually due to technological concerns.

According to a COP26 spokesperson, Mr Sharma "has a constructive ongoing dialogue with his counterparts in India. Sharma had visited India earlier this year to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

According to one of those present at the London conference, India's inability to show up was viewed as a snub by the COP presidency.

Also Read: Ways extreme climate changes are already causing threats to humans

Points to Remember

  • The greatest roadblocks to reaching the Paris goals, according to the sources, are agreeing on concrete actions and a firm schedule for phasing out fossil fuels and subsidies, as well as agreements to abandon coal. They also allege that the world's wealthiest countries are falling far short of their pledges to assist developing countries with energy transitions.
  • At the summit in Naples last week, India stood firm, with a footnote in the final communique stating that the country had rejected the language agreed on net-zero emissions.
  • India is not alone in its resistance to these attempts, with a few other countries hesitant to fully commit to the plans.
  • The country that has frequently advocated for the richest countries to take the lead in reducing emissions has criticized those who have pledged to reach net-zero carbon by 2050. Instead, it asked the G-20 nations to adopt a pledge based on per-capita emissions.
  • On a country level, India is the third-largest emitter, but it is also second-most populous. As a result, according to the Global Carbon Atlas project, emissions per person are exceptionally low, ranking 134th.
  • "We urge G-20 countries to commit to bringing per-capita emissions to global average by 2030, keeping in mind the legitimate need for growth of developing countries," India stated in a statement attached to the final G20 document.
  • According to those familiar with the situation, India was considering adopting its own net-zero aim for 2050 earlier this year. The idea was supposed to be announced during a White House climate summit in April, but it never happened.
  • "With less than 100 days until COP26, India must choose between siding with its friends and supporting an ambitious climate outcome in Glasgow, or risk becoming starkly isolated on the international stage by continuing to oppose the need for accelerated climate action before COP26," said Tom Evans, a researcher at the think tank E3G.

You Might Also Like