India, however, makes its non-fossil-fuel-based (renewable as well as nuclear) electricity target conditional on international finance and technological support even as the country has, so far, made substantial progress on its earlier commitments largely financed from domestic resources.
Making new pledges, the country clearly says that it will achieve its target of 50% cumulative electric power from non-fossil-fuel-based energy resources “with the help of transfer of technology and low-cost international finance, including from Green Climate Fund (GCF)”. The updated NDC is soon to be communicated to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
India’s new commitment actually translates the ‘Panchamrit’, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at COP26 in Glasgow, UK, into enhanced climate targets. It, however, prefers not to quantify its electricity goal in gigawatt-term (500GW) as announced earlier and remains silent on reduction of total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes from now to 2030. It, at the same time, clarified that 50% of ‘energy’ requirements from renewable energy by 2030, as stated in Glasgow, is to be counted in terms of non-fossil-fuel-based ‘electricity’ installed capacity.
“In our view, we should have been as ambitious as we were in Glasgow,”said environmentalist Sunita Narain of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). On the non-fossil-fuel-based electricity target, she said, “To meet 50% electricity from non-fossil by 2030, we will need to have 65-70% installed capacity of non/fossil sources… This is ambitious and will be expensive and this is why we need to make this conditional to international finance.”
India’s updated NDC will be implemented by 2030 through programmes and schemes of relevant ministries/departments and with due support from states and UTs. Flagging India’s vision of “sustainable lifestyles” and “climate justice” to protect the poor and vulnerable from adverse impacts of climate change as a core theme of the updates, the NDC also emphasises on “citizen-centric approach” and mentions a need to have mass movement for ‘LIFE’ — Lifestyle for Environment — as a key to combat climate change.
NDCs are basically the voluntary targets of countries under the Paris Agreement to collectively reach the goal of keeping the global average temperature rise well below 2° Celsius while making efforts to limit it to 1.5°C above pre-industrial (1850-1900) level. Though many countries have submitted their updated NDCs, analysis of their new targets shows the world continues to fall short to achieve its intended goal.
India’s NDC, however, does not bind it to any sector-specific mitigation obligation or action. “India’s goal is to reduce overall emission intensity and improve energy efficiency of its economy over time and at the same time protect the vulnerable sectors of the economy and segments of our society,” clarified the government while making a statement on the updated targets. It, however, mentioned how its ‘net zero’ target of the Railways by 2030 alone will lead to a reduction of emissions by 60 million tonnes annually.