India’s “low emissions” Pathway

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    • India recently announced its long-term strategy to transition to a “low emissions” pathway at the United Nations Conference of Parties (COP) ongoing in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

    More about the LT-LEDS (Long Term-Low Emission Development Strategy)

    Reaching the net-zero target:

    • Every country has to submit its long-term strategy, showing how it plans to reach its net-zero target. 
      • Developed countries have to reach net-zero status by 2050 
      • China has decided to get there by 2060 
      • India has set 2070 as its target year.

    India’s LT-LEDS:

    • Global carbon budget:
      • India’s long-term strategy towards a low-carbon development must be seen in the context of its “right to equitable and fair share of the global carbon budget”.
    • Details of transition:
      • India has provided details of the kind of transitions it is seeking to make in electricity, transport, building and forests sectors, along with the research and development efforts and finance that would be required to make these transitions. 
    • No specific details provided by India:
      • Unlike some other countries that have submitted their long-term strategies, India has avoided mentioning specific details like numbers, mid-term targets, scenarios, pathways or projections in its journey towards the net-zero goal.
        • For example, for the transport sector, India has said it will achieve decarbonisation through improved fuel efficiency, adoption of electric vehicles and cleaner fuels, and promotion of public transport. 
        • But it does not mention any mid-term goals or the amount of money that it plans to invest to make this work.
      • NDC’s:
        • These are what are known as nationally determined contributions, or NDCs, which have to be renewed for a further five-year period every five years.
    • Finances:
      • Various estimates of finance needed for India’s transition to a low-carbon economy compatible with a 2070 net-zero status are given in the strategy paper. 
    • Challenges:
      • Need of finances:
        • India needs “tens of trillions of dollars by 2050” to transition to a low-carbon development path that would take it to the promised net-zero status.
        • It says India would separately need large sums of money for adaptation as well, even though it was “substantially more challenging to quantify”.
      • Source of money:
        • The document says that the money would have to come from domestic and international sources, both in the public and private sector. 
        • In this context, the document also mentions the lack of adequate climate finance from the developed countries, as is mandated by the Paris Agreement.

    Conference of Parties(COP): 

    • It is the supreme decision-making body of the UNFCCC.
    • Aim:
      • The agreement seeks to limit global warming to well below 2°C, preferably to 1.5°C, compared to pre-industry levels
    • Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs): 
      • To achieve the targets under the agreement, the member countries have to submit the targets themselves, which they believe would lead to substantial progress towards reaching the Paris temperature goal. 
        • Initially, these targets are called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)
        • They are converted to NDCs when the country ratifies the agreement.
      • India’s Updated pledge:
        • India now stands committed to reducing the emissions intensity of its GDP by 45 percent by 2030 from its 2005 levels, as per the updated NDC. 
        • The country will also target about 50 percent of cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.
        • To further a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, ‘LIFE’ ‘Lifestyle for Environment’ as a key to combating climate change” has been added to India’s NDC.

    What is the meaning of Net Zero?

    • A state in which a country’s emissions are compensated by absorption and removal of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the atmosphere is called Net Zero State; it is also referred to as carbon-neutrality.
    • It is done through natural processes as well as futuristic technologies such as carbon capture and storage.

    Other Challenges 

    • Failure of the developed countries: 
      • The continued failure of the developed countries to fulfill their long-standing commitments on finance and technology is expected to make even the current transitions a lot more difficult.
    • Environmental shocks: 
      • There are changes in cropping patterns; there are floods and a great need to make agriculture resilient to these shocks.
    • Global carbon budget: 
      • Limiting the increase in the world’s average temperature from pre-industrial levels to those agreed in the Paris Agreement requires global cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide to be capped at the global carbon budget.
    • Arguments against committing to a net-zero target:
      • Huge revenue loss for poorer Indian states such as Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh
        • For states such as Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, close to 15% of the state revenue comes from the mining sector
      • These states would lose out on employment, as new employment in the renewable sector would be created in western and southern India which has better solar and wind resources.

    Way Ahead for Approaching the action Plans

    • First, climate change is a global problem and it requires cooperation between all nations.
    • Second, it needs rules that are fair and just, for the poor and the rich alike.
    • Third, science is clear that humans are responsible for the global temperature rise and that this increase will lead to more and more variable and extreme weather events, much like what we are seeing now.
    • Four, it is possible to estimate each country’s responsibility for the stock of emissions already in the atmosphere — the historical cumulative emissions that have “forced” climate change impacts.
    • And fifth, countries that have not yet contributed to the emissions will do so in the future, simply because the world has reneged on the need to make global rules that would apply fairly to all.

    Source: TH