Insights Into Editorial: Climate Goals on Target
09 October 2015
There is a criticism that India’s use of coal for electricity generation is projected to double by 2030. But, if seen in the perspective of International Energy Agency, India will use less coal for electricity generation than the US even in 2040.
India’s efforts towards combating climate change:
India is the third largest economy in terms of PPP. In the recent times, it is offering concrete deliverables.
- In 2009, it had promised an emissions intensity reduction of 20-25% by 2020, from 2005 levels. It has achieved an emissions intensity reduction of 18.6%. India now aims for 33 to 35%
- India has decided to have 40% of the total installed power capacity in 2030 based on non-fossil fuel-based Currently, renewable energy, nuclear energy and hydropower together contribute 30% of the overall installed capacity. With power production expected to triple, this will amount to 320 GW of non-fossil fuel capacity.
- India is also seeking investments of U.S. $100 billion over seven years to boost the domestic solar energy capacity by 33 times to 1,00,000 megawatts by 2022.
- Nuclear capacity is also expected to increase more than ten times to 63GW and hydro power is expected to double to 84 GW, with land availability being the key concern.
- Additional carbon sinks of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent will be created by 2030. An afforestation fund has also been set up. It is meant to encourage the setting up of projects on forest land.
- The government has also planned to develop a 1,40,000-km tree-line along both sides of the national highways.
Prime Minister Modi has made climate change an integral part of national transformation. This geopolitical shift is also providing India the confidence to shape the new rules. The prime minister has also called for countries to “take into account the levels of development of various countries and allow them the developmental space so that they can also aspire to become middle and developed countries”.
The Intended Nationally Determined Contributions state that India’s “objective in Paris in December 2015 is to establish an effective, cooperative and equitable global architecture”.
Three key elements of this framework are:
- Promoting sustainable production processes and sustainable lifestyles across the globe.
- Creation of a regime where facilitative technology transfer replaces an exploitative market-driven mechanism.
- A common understanding of universal progress.
- It is being said that the lifestyle in India is already more austere than it is in China.
- China’s industrial production is eight times, consumption of primary energy five times, metals eleven times, GDP four times and per capita emissions two times higher.
- By 2030, per capita energy use and emissions in China and the U.S. are expected to around 10-12 tonnes of carbon dioxide per capita whereas India’s per capita emissions will be just one-quarter of this level.
- The information technology revolution spearheaded by India is the first global transformation not based on increasing use of energy.
- India has also taken the initiative to host a meeting of 107 “sunshine” countries before the Paris summit, to forge a common platform on sharing research and looking for common financial solutions.
- India has also proposed to set up a global virtual centre for clean energy research and development and fund collaborative projects.
Experts say that India should integrate its Smart Cities campaign into a plan for low carbon development of cities.
Problem with the current methodology:
The current emphasis on emission reductions focuses on symptoms rather than causes and solutions. Faced with global ecological limits, focus has to shift from ‘environmental risk management’ to ‘economic growth within ecological limits’.
It has been estimated that currently three ‘basic’ human needs — housing, food, mobility — directly account for 80% of resource use, 40% of energy demand and 36% of carbon dioxide emissions.
How can the situation be improved?
- Experts say that nearly two-fifth of the cumulative emission reductions required by 2050 could come from efficiency improvements.
- Key systems such as the transport, energy, housing and food systems should be transformed.
- Focus should be on long term remedies.
- Periodic reviews of national contributions should also be undertaken.
Source: The Hindu
Topic: Environmental Pollution (Paper – 3)