India has a comprehensive strategy to address climate change. At the 26th Conference of Parties (CoP26) in 2021, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a five-fold plan to lower carbon emissions. These five points, collectively termed the ‘panchamrita’, state that India:
- aims to get its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 gigawatts (GW) by 2030
- strives to meet 50 per cent of its energy requirements from renewable energy sources by 2030
- will lower the total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes till 2030
- will reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by 45 per cent by 2030
- will achieve the target of Net-Zero emissions by 2070
The nation has displayed an unwavering commitment to this strategy.
Reducing carbon emissions by 1 billion tonnes (GT)
As per the current status, India’s current CO2 emissions (2021) are 2.88 GT. According to the strategy designed, India will cut its carbon emission by 1 billion tons (1 GT) or an ambitious goal of 22 per cent. Compared to India, the global numbers predicted for per-capita carbon emission for 2030 are – US 9.42 tonnes, China 8.88 tonnes, EU 4.12 tonnes, UK 2.7 tonnes and India at 2.98 tonnes of CO2 per capita in 2030.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that global CO2 emissions must be 18.22 GT in 2030 to remain below a 1.5°C rise in temperature. For India, this challenge is within reach.
Extensive work on carbon-intensive sectors
Carbon intensity measures CO2 emissions of different economic sectors and encourages a reduction in emissions as the economy grows. India must work extensively on carbon-intensive sectors such as transport to reduce emissions and energy-intensive sectors such as cement, iron, steel, non-metallic minerals, and chemicals. Mobility systems need to be reinvented to provide EV vehicles, augmented public transport and thermal efficiency in households. Delhi Metro is a brilliant example of the Mass Rapid Transit System, which earns carbon credits by reducing 0.57 million tonnes of CO2 annually.
Focusing on energy from renewable resources.
Renewable energy sources lead to a cleaner environment, energy independence and a more robust economy. It also contributes to better air quality, reduces reliance on fossil fuels, curbs global warming, adds jobs to the economy, and protects environmental values such as habitat and water quality. India’s renewable energy strategy is driven by energy security and energy access and reduces the carbon footprints of the national energy systems. The country requires an installed capacity of 700 GW to meet its projection of 2,518 BU in 2030
What Climate Change means for India
India faces the adverse effects of climate change in its key economic sectors like agriculture and water. A large proportion of the population depends on climate-sensitive sectors for livelihood. For India, adaptation is inevitable and imperative for the development process.
The per capita emissions of India remain low because it has a massive number of people who still need energy for their development. India must set the goal to grow without pollution and must work on increasing clean but affordable energy for the poor.
The Net Zero Pathway and GDP alliance in India
The twenty-first century represents a watershed moment for India. Its carbon emissions to GDP ratio is now 39% lower than in 2005, compared to a target of 33–35% reduction by 2030. However, India’s GDP is rapidly increasing, and modelling studies indicate that its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will continue to rise, reaching 6–8 billion tonnes of carbon equivalent emissions by 2050.
India’s development strategy must now prioritise two critical areas: climate change and employment creation. The next decade will be vital in attaining these double objectives. The one involves a speedy transition away from fossil fuels and adaptation to disruptive new weather patterns; the second requires the development of millions of high-quality employment for India’s whole youthful workforce every year. India must guarantee that its youth have access to job possibilities while also embarking on a tough decarbonisation road.
The rapid adoption of green technology will undoubtedly result in significant change in economies (scaling, learning, and network effects) and lower costs than the reference pathway. India should turn its existing growth route into complete decarbonisation or Net Zero road to achieve this global objective.
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