India’s climate change goals

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    Context 

    • Recently the Union Cabinet approved India’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) ahead of the 27th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP 27)in  Egypt.

     About 

    •  India’s first pledge, also known as a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), had three primary targets. 
      • To reduce the emissions intensity of the economy by 33–35 percent below 2005 levels. 
      • To have 40 percent of installed electric power from non-fossil-based energy resources by 2030. 
      • To create an additional (cumulative) carbon sink of 2.5-3 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) by 2030 through additional forest and tree cover.
    • Updated:
      • 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.

    Significance

    • It will help India usher in low emissions growth pathways.  
    • It would protect the interests of the country and safeguard its future development needs based on the principles and provisions of the UNFCCC.
    •  The update is also a step towards achieving India’s long term goal of reaching net-zero by 2070.

    Initiatives of India 

    •  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. 
    • India’s updated NDC will be implemented over the period 2021-2030 through programs and schemes of relevant Ministries /departments and with due support from States and Union Territories
    • The Government has launched many schemes and programs to scale up India’s actions on both adaptation and mitigation. 
      • Appropriate measures are being taken under these schemes and programs across many sectors, including water, agriculture, forest, energy and enterprise, sustainable mobility and housing, waste management, circular economy and resource efficiency, etc. 
      • As a result of the aforesaid measures, India has progressively continued decoupling of economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions. 

    India’s progress

    • The upward revision of the two climate targets — those relating to reductions in emissions intensity and proportion of non-fossil sources in electricity generation — do not come as a surprise. 
      • India is on its way to achieve its existing targets well ahead of the 2030 timeline.
    • India’s emissions intensity was 24 per cent lower than the 2005 levels in the year 2016 itself, the last year for which official numbers are available. 
    • It is very likely that the 33 to 35 per cent reduction target has already been achieved, or is very close to being achieved. 
    • A further reduction of 10-12 per cent from here, to meet the new target, does not appear too challenging, even though these reductions get progressively tougher to achieve.
    • The other target — having at least 40 percent of electricity coming from non-fossil fuels — has officially been reached. 
    • According to the latest data from the power ministry, 41.5 per cent of India’s current installed electricity capacity of 403 GW is now powered by non-fossil fuels. 
    • Renewables (wind, solar and others) alone account for more than 28 percent of this capacity while hydropower contributes over 11 per cent.
    • With most of the new capacity additions happening in the renewable energy sector, a 10 per cent rise in the share of non-fossil fuels in electricity generation is not an unrealistic target.

    About Paris Agreement

    • It is a legally binding international treaty on climate change.
    • It replaced the Kyoto Protocol, an earlier agreement to deal with climate change.
    • It is a landmark agreement as it brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, for the first time.
    • It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, in December 2015 and entered into force in November 2016.
    • Aim:
      • The 2015 Paris Agreement requires countries to spell out a pathway to ensure the globe does not heat beyond 2°C, and endeavour to keep it below 1.5°C by 2100.

    Future Prospects 

    • Years of negotiations, international pressure and clearer evidence of the multi-dimensional impact from climate change have seen India agree to move away from fossil fuels over time
    •  India has expressed its intent, via several legislations, to use energy efficiently and many of its biggest corporations have committed to shifting away from polluting energy sources.
    • India’s NDC 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.
    • India must set an example by balancing energy use and climate goals 

    Mains Practise Question 

    [Q] Explain India’s contributions towards the achievement of the strengthening of global response to the threat of climate change.