India finalizes its new climate action targets, 50% of its electricity to come from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030 | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Taking a step towards achieving India’s long-term goal of reaching ‘net zero’ emission by 2070, the Cabinet on Wednesday approved the country’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) – climate action targets – committing to achieve about 50% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030 and to reduce emissions intensity (emission per unit of GDP) by 45% by 2030 from 2005 level.
India, however, makes its non-fossil fuel-based (renewable as well as nuclear) electricity target conditional to 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 would 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 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.”
Some experts too believe that India should have been more ambitious in its updated NDC as the country has already achieved over 40% of its installed electricity capacity from non-fossil energy sources. Besides, the emission intensity of India has already reduced by 24% between 2005 and 2016.
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 emphasizes 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 degree Celsius while making efforts to limit it to 1.5 degree 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, at the same time mentioned how its ‘net zero’ target of Indian Railways by 2030 alone will lead to a reduction of emissions by 60 million tonnes annually.
“Similarly, India’s massive LED bulb campaign is reducing emissions by 40 million tonnes annually,” it said.
“The decision by India to update its NDCs is in line with the PM’s Glasgow announcements. It enhances the ambition and yet puts sustainable development at the centre of the debate. It is clear that India does not envisage sectoral emission reduction obligations as part of its NDC at least till 2030… On the other hand, it rightly emphasises the value of a sustainable way of living as an effective and just solution to the problem of climate change. It has also removed a lingering doubt by clarifying that 50% of energy by 2030 is to be counted in terms of non-fossil fuel based electricity production,” said RR Rashmi, distinguished fellow, TERI and India’s former climate negotiator.
The government in a statement said India’s updated NDC has been prepared after carefully considering the country’s “national circumstances and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC)”. It said, “India’s updated NDC also reaffirms our commitment to work towards a low carbon emission pathway, while simultaneously endeavoring to achieve sustainable development goals.”
The government also underlined that the country’s updated NDC represents the framework for India’s transition to cleaner energy for the period 2021-2030.
“The updated framework, together with many other initiatives of the government, including tax concessions and incentives such as ‘Production Linked Incentive’ scheme for promotion of manufacturing and adoption of renewable energy, will provide an opportunity for enhancing India’s manufacturing capabilities and enhancing exports. It will lead to an overall increase in green jobs such as in renewable energy, clean energy industries- in automotives, manufacturing of low emissions products like electric vehicles and super-efficient appliances, and innovative technologies such as green hydrogen, etc.,” it said.
Earlier, India had submitted its first NDC to UNFCCC on October 2, 2015. The first NDC comprised eight goals; three of these have quantitative targets upto 2030 namely, cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil sources to reach 40%; reduce the emissions intensity of GDP by 33-35% compared to 2005 levels and creation of additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover.

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