Hypothesis: India will reach the 50% emissions reduction goal by 2030.
India updated its nationally determined contributions (NDCs). It submitted the same to UNFCCC in August 2022, stating its commitment to reduce the emissions intensity of its gross domestic product (GDP) by 45% by 2030, from 2005 levels; achieve 50% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030, with the help of the transfer of technology and low-cost international finance including from Green Climate Fund (GCF). Furthermore, it has been propagating a healthy and sustainable way of living through a mass movement for ‘LIFE’– ‘Lifestyle for Environment’ as a key to combating climate change with mass awareness and movement through community-led initiatives, ground up.
The NDC update is also a step forward in achieving India’s long-term goal of reaching net-zero status by 2070; in pursuit of which, it also prepared and submitted a separate framework document titled ‘India’s Long-term Low Carbon Development Strategy’ to the secretariat of the UNFCCC in November 2022.
In pursuit of its commitments, India is combatting climate change through its several programmes and schemes, including the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), with national goals in specific areas of solar energy, energy efficiency, water, sustainable agriculture, Himalayan ecosystem, sustainable habitat, health, green India, and strategic knowledge for climate change.
The National Solar Mission under the NAPCC is one of the key initiatives to promote sustainable growth while addressing India’s energy security challenges. Some of the measures undertaken to promote renewable power in the country include, among others, the following:
- Permitting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) up to 100% under the automatic route;
- Waiver of Inter-State Transmission System (ISTS) charges for inter-state sale of solar and wind power for projects to be commissioned by 30th June 2025;
- Declaring trajectory for Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) up to the year 2029-30;
- Setting up of Ultra Mega Renewable Energy (RE) Parks to provide land and transmission to Renewable Energy developers for installation of projects at large scale;
- Schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM), Solar Rooftop Phase II, 12000 MW Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU) Scheme Phase II,
- Laying of new transmission lines and creating new sub-station capacity under the Green Energy Corridor Scheme for evacuation of renewable power;
- Notification of standards for deployment of solar photovoltaic systems/devices;
- Setting up of Project Development Cell for attracting and facilitating investments;
- Standard Bidding Guidelines for tariff-based competitive bidding process for procurement of Power from Grid Connected Solar photovoltaic systems and Wind Projects;
- Notification of Promoting Renewable Energy through Green Energy Open Access Rules 2022;
- Notification of “The electricity (Late Payment Surcharge and related matters) Rules 2002 (LPS rules)”; and
- Issuance of orders that power shall be dispatched against Letter of Credit (LC) or advance payment to ensure timely payment by distribution licensees to RE generators.
In addition, India has progressively continued decoupling economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions. India’s gross domestic product (GDP) emission intensity has reduced by 24% between 2005 and 2016. As of 30th November 2022, the country’s total electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources is 173.14 GW, accounting for 42.3 % of the total electric power installed capacity
Besides, the federal government has encouraged sub-regions and union territories to prepare their Climate Action Plans in line with NAPCC, with priority areas well identified and actions accordingly stipulated. For instance, the priority sectors identified under Andhra Pradesh’s state (one of the progressive southern sub-regions) action plan on climate change include agriculture and livestock, health, energy, marine and fisheries, irrigation and water supply, manufacturing, transport, and forestry.
India, a founding signatory to Paris Climate Treaty since its inception in 2015, has renewed its pledges to cut its emissions by 50 % by 2030 over the preindustrial levels, reaching ‘net zero status’ by 2070 during the COP 26 held in Glasgow. Post the renewed pledges made, Indian Parliament has since decreed the mandate of achieving 50 % emissions reduction (https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1885731), which is now a sovereign guarantee made in respect of its emissions reduction commitments.
India’s efforts, commitments, and pledges to achieve 50% emissions reduction will not be without challenges. These challenges include the lack and absence of developed nations’ implementation of their long-standing commitments to climate financing and technology transfer, geopolitical instability (and, more importantly, Russia’s war on Ukraine), energy supply chain disruptions, and lack of international cohesion in taking up the challenge of combatting climate change in unison.
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard India Country Manager Pooran Chandra Pandey.