This report is in the form of memos from Climate Scorecard Country Managers to Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework to Combat Climate Change (UNFCCC). Below is a description of the progress the country has made made in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015 and the challenges they still face in order to comply with the IPCC goal of reducing emissions by 50% by 2030.
To: Patricia Espinosa
Subject: Climate Scorecard Progress Report for India
From: Pooran Chandra Pandey
Climate Scorecard India Country Manger
I serve as Climate Scorecard Country Manager for India and would like to offer you the following climate mitigation progress report from the perspective of my organization.
Since its initial 2015 pledge to the Paris Agreement, India has made GOOD progress in meeting the goal of reducing emissions by 50% by 2030.
On the positive side, India has accomplished the following:
Ambitious Electric Mass Transport Vehicle Policy
Delhi’s ambitious electric vehicle policy proposes to reduce its carbon emissions to the tune of 5 million tonnes by 2024 while proposing a further reduction by 15 million tonnes by 2030 through planning, programs, awareness, and capacity building measures.
Efforts are afoot to reduce increasing pollution levels in the national capital by improving the transport system. The Delhi government has planned that by improving the transport system as well as reducing traffic jams, harmful particles such as PM10 and PM2.5 which cause air pollution could be reduced by up to 5 million tonnes.
India’s Electric Vehicle Vision is committed to making the country the nation with 100% Electric Vehicles by 2030. In line with the national vision, the Delhi and other sub-regional governments are taking firm actions and concrete decisions, given that city transport accounts for some 25% of total carbon emissions.
Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) is installing real time monitoring panels to record carbon emissions at their 38 stations for improving the performance of bus fleets in the lead up to being a city of Green Transport. Such best practice cases are also rapidly being replicated across and throughout sub-regions for effective results outcomes at national level.
A ‘net zero emissions’ Status for City’s International Airport:
City of Delhi has achieved the status of having a ‘net zero emissions’ airport, the first in Asia Pacific region in November 2020 in line with Paris Agreement and to limit the increase of global average temperature to 2°C above pre-industrial levels and aim to not exceed 1.5°C. This is also in line with IPCC’s recommendations and ICAO’s Aviation Climate Change mitigation objectives. Airport accreditation initiatives will further help the airport achieve “net zero carbon emission” status by 2030 by following various Government of India initiatives and the Airport Carbon Accreditation Guidelines.
Policies and programs such as renewable energy use (both onsite and offsite), development of green airport infrastructures, energy conservation and efficiency improvements, and stakeholder partnership programs are being implemented. Other energy efficient and environment friendly infrastructures at the airport include electric vehicle charging facility, state of the art Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) and Water Treatment Plant (WTP), energy efficient lighting systems, advanced fuel hydrant systems, Bridge Mounted Equipment (BME) such as Fixed Electric Ground Power Units (FEGP) and Preconditioned Air (PCA) supply systems. Adoption of Taxibot has resulted in reduction of significant amount of aviation turbine fuel consumption by aircrafts inground movement.
Switching Polluting Industries to Piped Natural Gas (PNG):
As a long-term approach to curbing carbon emissions in the city, Delhi has prepared a policy blue print in helping the polluting industries switch to PNG through a combination of incentive and punitive measures. According to the government’s pollution agency, air pollution in the city is the major problem which is caused by dust from construction site and polluting industries on city territories.
The Commission of Air Quality Management has stressed the need to switch over all industries in Delhi NCR to Piped Natural Gas (PNG) while adding that the industrial sector is one of the major contributors to air pollution here. The agency has reviewed the progress of switching over of industries operating in Delhi to PNG during a meeting, which was attended by representatives of the city government, the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) and the Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL), the Gas suppliers. Some 1,644 industrial units spread across 50 industrial areas have already been identified to switch over to PNG with the target for completion of infrastructure work and switch over to PNG by January 31, 2021.
The following conditions remain in India that threaten its ability to make further progress, and reach the important goal of reducing emissions by 50% by 2030.
Coal Phase-out and Skilling for Employment Substitution
Coal is the most carbon intensive fossil fuel and phasing it out is a key step to achieve the emissions reductions needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius as enshrined in the Paris Agreement. India’s coal-based thermal power sector is one of the country’s biggest emitters of carbon dioxide (CO2). It spews out 1.1 gigatonne of CO2 every year; this is 2.5% of global GHG emissions, one-third of India’s GHG emissions, and around 50% of India’s fuel-related CO2 emissions.
A policy on coal phase out for India is important as it would cut national emissions to substantive levels by the year 2050, dateline for nations to achieve their ‘net zero’ levels. Power companies in India have historically been run on coal. One of the key issues of concern however in the world’s largest democracy is resultant job losses of those employed in coal mines.
Grid Upgrade for Cleaner Climate and Greener Jobs
India is a vast country connected for transportation by rail, road, air, ships, and ports moving a large number of human and cargo traffic mainly run on fossil fuel generating large quantities of emissions that have adverse impacts on the health of people. With a total length of about 42.3 lakh km, and about 85% of passenger and 70% of freight traffic carried by roads, India has one of the largest road networks in the world. As a consequence, road transport contributes to more than 90% of emissions of the total levels generated by the combined sources and hence needs a fast-track plan to arrest emissions.
Climate Finance Promise
The Paris Agreement reaffirms that developed countries should take the lead in providing financial assistance to countries that are less endowed and more vulnerable, while for the first time also encouraging voluntary contributions by other parties. Climate finance is needed for mitigation because large-scale investments are required to significantly reduce emissions. Climate finance is equally important for adaptation, as significant financial resources are needed to adapt to the adverse effects and reduce the impacts of a changing climate. The amount as provisioned in the clauses of the Agreement stood at USD 100 billion per annum through 2020 (which has now further slipped to 2023) with potential unfavorable effects.
Technology Transfer Commitments
The Paris Agreement also speaks of the vision of fully realizing technology development and transfer for both improving resilience to climate change and reducing GHG emissions. It establishes a technology framework to provide overarching guidance for a well-functioning technology transfer mechanism. The mechanism is accelerating technology development and transfer through its policy and implementation aims.
India has been ramping up its domestic renewable power capacity. While the costs of such technologies are falling, making them competitive with fossil fuel options, there however is a pressing need for the country to significantly accelerate and strengthen climate technology innovation.
Climate Scorecard is committed to working with other like-minded organizations to support efforts by India to make further progress in its effort to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030 and help the Paris Agreement reach its important goals.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about this report or need further information.