This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard India Country Manager Pooran Chandra Pandey
India Plans to Reduce the Emissions Intensity of GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 Levels
Prior to COP 21 in Paris in December 2015, India submitted its Intended NDC (INDC) to UNFCCC, outlining country’s post 2020 climate actions. This became India’s first (and only) NDC after country ratified Paris Agreement in 2016.
India communicated its INDC for the period 2021to 2030, putting forth a broad set of INDC, including its commitment to reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels. Tables 03 and 04 adequately demonstrate the country’s overall strategy and plan for GHG emissions cut through its yet-to-be submitted pledges.
India plans to achieve about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030 with the help of transfer of technology and low cost international finance including from Green Climate Fund (GCF). It also would create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030. Wind energy has been the predominant contributor to the renewable energy growth in India accounting for 23.76 GW (65.2 percent) of the renewable installed capacity, making India the fifth largest wind power producer in the world.
With a potential of more than 100 GW, India aims to achieve a target of 60 GW of wind power installed capacity by 2022. Solar power in India is poised to grow significantly with Solar Mission as a major initiative of the Government of India. Solar power installed capacity has increased from only 3.7 MW in 2005 to about 4,060 MW in 2015, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate [CAGR] of more than 100 percent over the decade. The ambitious solar expansion programme seeks to enhance the capacity to 100 GW by 2022, which is expected to be scaled up further thereafter. A scheme for development of 25 Solar Parks, Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects, canal top solar projects and one hundred thousand solar pumps for farmers is at different stages of implementation.
India is also promoting solarisation of all the 55,000 petrol pumps across the country, out of which about 3,135 petrol pumps have already been solarised. Biomass energy constitutes about 18 percent of total primary energy use in the country and more than 70 percent of the country’s population depends on it. However, it is currently used in an inefficient manner with high levels of indoor pollution.
A number of programmes have also been initiated for promotion of cleaner and more efficient use, including biomass-based electricity generation. It is envisaged to increase biomass installed capacity to 10 GW by 2022 from current capacity of 4.4 GW. India also lists the mitigation technologies that the country plans to implement which include “accelerated-driven systems in advanced nuclear fuel cycles” and “renewable energy.”
A Carbon Neutral India by 2050
India is the world’s third-biggest carbon emitter after China and the United States and thus is vital in the fight against climate change currently focused on reaching zero emissions by the mid century or earlier.
However, such a decision for India does not seem to be as simple.
The country’s energy demand is projected to grow by more than any other nation over the next two decades and it is estimated that it may have to cut back on consumption if it were to tie itself to a hard emissions deadline.
India has debated in detail the net zero target and whether it would be realistic and in line with the country’s development needs. There are two obvious scenarios: one, that a legally binding net zero commitment can help India become a global icon while being able to draw investments; the other one, however, means that the country should stick to commitments it has already made, meet its energy needs as India’s per capita emissions anyways are an eighth of those of the US and less than a third of China’s. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-india-exclusive-idUSKBN2BM1AA)
India’s concern overall is that the scale of energy transition is going to be enormous for it, and there is a risk that in trying to reach net zero by 2050, the country may end up constraining energy needs for the poor.
Wider thinking on net neutrality though is that even countries that have made their net neutrality pledges lack in specifics and a clear climate action while developed nations have not taken any concrete action in making green climate finance (USD 100 billion a year as agreed) available to developing economies. (https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/why-india-opposes-net-zero-7263422/)
The good news though is that Indian businesses have already begun stepping up their efforts to invest heavily in clean energy projects and sub regional governments have started coming up with their own climate action plans which is potentially likely to result in India bettering its climate action performance several notches up, without being obvious and later falling short.
Given the above context, it looks likely that India is potentially likely to instead stick to the Paris pledge to reduce its carbon footprint by 33-35 percent from its 2005 levels by 2030 while aiming to outperform those goals.
As India has yet not submitted a renewed GHG emissions cut pledges, but has conveyed national intent to submit its revised climate change plans. “There is potential for the nation to become a world leader with enhanced 1.5 compatible targets and a just and swift transition away from coal and accelerate the transition to renewable energy, which would bring large benefits for sustainable development including health and employment.” (https://climateactiontracker.org/countries/india/). India would potentially like to leverage COP 26 platform in Glasgow towards the end of the year and announce actionable new climate action plans while heightening it further in lead up to its G-20 presidency in 2022 as climate is a good politics too.
Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister of Finance, Government of India, New Delhi, Telephone: +91-11-23793791/2, Email: email@example.com
Mr. Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, New Delhi, Telephone: +91-23384340, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Nitin Gadgari, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India, New Delhi. Telephone: +91-11-23062019, Email: email@example.com