India’s NDC Pledge

Spotlight Activity: India’s NDC Pledge

India’s NDC, has a goal of 175 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power capacity by 2022. It also set a new target to increase its share of non-fossil-based power capacity from 30% today to about 40% by 2030, and committed to reduce its emissions intensity per unit GDP by 33 to 35% below 2005 by 2030, and to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide through additional tree cover. It also prioritized several efforts to build resilience to climate change impacts.

The Climate Action Tracker gives an ambitious rating to India in its latest update dated April 30, 2018. It maps the country’s probability of attaining its NDC targets in the yellow category that is “2 Degree C compatible.” Their analysis shows that India can achieve its NDC target with currently implemented policies. We project the share of non-fossil power generation capacity to reach 47% in 2030, corresponding to a 32% share of electricity generation. India’s emissions intensity in 2030 will be 50–51% below 2005 levels. Thus, under current policies, India is likely to achieve both its 40% non-fossil target and its emissions intensity target, according to CAT.

While there are many developments and policy pathways with regard to promoting renewable energy in India, doubts still exist on India’s coal phase out plan. Reporting on the latest assessment of the International Energy Agency, the Guardian reported, “Every major country in the world except India reduced its consumption of coal last year.” Coal-fired power generation in India is expected to increase by 4% a year until 2022, it further reported. However, considering the fact that renewable prices have been getting cheaper than coal, India may actually achieve its coal phase out target and hence meet the NDC targets.

According to the CAT, “With currently implemented policies, India is expected to overachieve its climate action targets submitted under the Paris Agreement. India’s plans include both a non-fossil capacity target for the power sector and an overall emissions intensity target for the whole economy by 2030. However, if India also were to fully implement its Draft Electricity Plan (shown as planned policy pathway in the CAT assessment), it could achieve its target of 40% non-fossil-based power capacity by 2030 as early as 2020—a full ten years earlier”.

Looking at that from the window of fossil fuel subsidies, however, India’s efforts do not seem to be that encouraging. As we reported in our October 2017 post, “The IISD 2017 report finds that subsidies in the oil and gas sector reduced significantly from 26 billion USD in 2014 to 6.8 billion in 2016 mainly in the consumption sphere, partially due to India’s reforms and partially due to the decrease in the world price for oil. Subsidies to electricity T&D increased from 6.7 billion USD in 2014 to 9.9. billion USD in 2016. The total subsidies to coal however remained relatively stable at about 2.3 billion USD over the period in review”.

Another major concern for India is in the forestry sector. To fulfil its Paris Goals, India has set ambitious mitigation strategies, including increase in the forest/tree cover by 5 million hectares (m ha) and improving the quality of forest cover in another 5 m ha of forest lands, thereby creating an additional carbon sink of 2 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent. However, as we have reported in our Posts 2 & 3 this year, the country’s NDC has been criticised, by local and tribal communities as well as civil society, of being overly commercial monoculture focused and ignoring community rights over forests. Latest initiatives by the Indian Government to dilute forest rights of communities raises fresh doubts over India’s commitment to a socially just and sustainable pathway to achieve its Paris Climate Goals.

Status: Standing Still

Groups like the CAT believe that India is likely to achieve both its 40% non-fossil target and its emissions intensity target. However, our analysis of policies such as the CAMPA and Draft Forest Policy finds out that India’s mitigation strategies through creation of additional carbon sink may be derailed. Looking into a combination of these two actions, Climate Scorecard gives India’s path towards meeting NDC pledge a Two-Star ranking.

Take Action

Please send the following message to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC):

The country now needs to institutionalise and legalise its fossil fuel phase out plan and drastically reduce fossil fuel subsidies for power generation companies and other business establishments.

The above plan needs to be integrated into the National Climate Change Action Plan as well as that of all the states.

The Draft Forest Policy 2018 and CAMPA rules need to be completely revamped to accommodate people-centric participatory forest conservation practices of natural biodiversity rich forests and shun the commercial monoculture practices or corporate controlled forestry. Rights of the local, indigenous and forested communities over the forests must be ensured and ownership of forest management efforts given to them.

Please address your emails/tweets to:
Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Hon’ble Minister MoEFCC, Govt. of India
Twitter handle of the Ministry: @moefcc

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