India abstains from endorsing commitments to phase out coal at the UN climate summit.

India chose not to participate in a statement underscoring the imperative to significantly decrease greenhouse gas emissions for health-related advantages.

India has chosen not to endorse a commitment to triple renewable energy capacity, citing references to phasing out coal and discontinuing investments in coal-fired power plants in the draft text. The Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge, aiming to increase global renewable energy capacity to 11,000 gigawatts by 2030, was signed by 118 countries at the UN climate change summit in Dubai. Despite being the fourth-largest renewable energy generator, India, with 170 gigawatts of installed capacity, refrained from signing, proposing to expand to 500 gigawatts by 2030. Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra highlighted India’s economic constraints and the persistent role of coal in its energy mix.

India also opted out of the COP28 Declaration on Climate and Health, focusing on substantial greenhouse gas emission reduction for health benefits. Despite India’s involvement in developing the pledge as a “country champion,” it expressed concerns about the practicality of reducing emissions in the health sector, citing potential impacts on medical services, especially in remote areas. India remains hesitant to commit to climate actions outside the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change treaty. Both pledges, signed by numerous countries, aim to reduce fossil fuel emissions but are not legally binding.

COP28 President Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber’s recent remarks have raised significant concerns. According to The Guardian’s report on Sunday, Al Jaber stated that there is “no science” indicating the necessity of rapidly discontinuing fossil fuel usage to limit global warming to the 1.5-degree Celsius threshold. Scientists interviewed by the publication expressed deep worry, suggesting that Al Jaber’s comments verge on climate denial.

Al Jaber, who also holds the position of the minister of industry and advanced technology in the United Arab Emirates, made these statements during an online event on November 21 before COP28. In response to questions from Mary Robinson, a former United Nations special envoy for climate change, Al Jaber questioned the feasibility of a fossil fuel phase-out without a clear roadmap, adding, “unless you want to take the world back into caves,” as quoted by The Guardian.

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