Countries around the world are stepping up their efforts to set up carbon emission reduction targets and outline a pathway to net-zero. On Wednesday, India approved an updated plan to cut GDP emissions intensity by 25% by 2030, while Australia pledged to reduce emissions by 43% in the same timeframe. 

Wednesday was an important day for India. More than a year after the United Nations deadline to submit updated emission reduction targets, the Asian country finally approved its new climate action plan, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

The updated NDC foresees a reduction of the emissions intensity of India’s GDP by 45% from 2005 levels by the end of the decade. This is 10% more than what the country had pledged in its 2015 NDC. 

India –the world’s third-largest coal producer and emitter of carbon dioxide – also plans to achieve 50% cumulative electricity generation from renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind. The country previously set the target of non-fossil fuel-based power generation to 40% and managed to achieve it in 2021. 

India’s green transition, supported by billion-dollar investments in renewable energy, is already well underway. Today, the country is fourth globally for overall installed renewable power capacity, which increased from 2.6 gigawatts (GW) to more than 46GW in the last 7.5 years, a staggering growth of 286%. 

At last year’s COP26 summit in Glasgow, Modi announced the country’s commitment to achieving net zero by 2070. The updated NDC comes just months ahead of the next round of global climate talks that will take place in Egypt this November.

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Meanwhile, following years of climate inaction, Australia also set new carbon emission reduction targets. 

Just one day after India’s updated climate action plan was released, the country’s Lower House of Parliament passed a bill that commits the government to reduce emissions by at least 43% from 2005 levels by 2030, entering a “new era” of commitment to addressing climate change.

Long a climate laggard under Scott Morrison’s leadership, the new bill passed by the newly elected Labour government is putting the country “on the right side of history”, said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

While not as ambitious as pledges from the US and European Union, the long overdue commitment – which Albanese campaigned on – is finally bringing Australia forward in the global race to net zero.

Despite pressure from the Green party, the government refused to rule out new oil and gas projects altogether.

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