Day 71 – Q 4.What measures has the Indian Government taken to address climate change? What further role can India play in the global efforts towards mitigating climate change? Suggest.
4. What measures has the Indian Government taken to address climate change? What further role can India play in the global efforts towards mitigating climate change? Suggest.
जलवायु परिवर्तन को दूर करने के लिए भारत सरकार ने क्या उपाय किए हैं? जलवायु परिवर्तन को कम करने की दिशा में भारत वैश्विक प्रयासों में और क्या भूमिका निभा सकता है? सुझाव दें।
India has the world’s second largest population and fourth largest economy, where climate change is no more an environmental concern. It has emerged as the biggest developmental challenge for the planet. Its economic impacts, particularly on the poor, make it a major governance issue as well. Such a scenario has necessitated momentous efforts from India to tackle the global menace while also prioritising its developmental needs.
Over several decades India has pursued policies and publicly funded programs focused on energy conservation and deployment of renewable energy technologies to fight climate change. This has been backed by legislation, regulation and tariffs arrangements. Some of these are:
- India ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1993 and the Kyoto Protocol in 2002.
- In June 2008, India announced its National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). The Action Plan effectively pulls together a number of the government’s existing national plans on water, renewable energy, energy efficiency, agriculture and others – bundled with additional ones – into a set of eight missions. The Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change is in charge of the overall implementation of the plan. The plan document elaborates on a unique approach to reduce the stress of climate change and uses the poverty-growth linkage to make its point.
- Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, India set three major goals to be achieved for the period between 2020 and 2030—increase the share of non-fossil fuels to 40% of the total electricity generation capacity, to reduce the emission intensity of the economy by 33 to 35% by 2030 from 2005 levels, and to create additional carbon sink of 2.5 -3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover.
- India has emerged as a global leader in renewable energy, where investments top those into fossil fuel. After adopting its National Electricity Plan (NEP) in 2018, India remains on track to overachieve its “2˚C compatible” rated Paris Agreement climate action targets.
- Since 2010, the Indian Government has doubled the coal tax three times, reaching 400 rupees per tonne (around USD 3.2 per tonne) of coal produced and imported in the 2016–2017 budget.
- On transport, the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India scheme came into effect in April 2019, and provides incentives to purchase electric vehicles, while also including provisions to ensure adequate charging infrastructure.
- The main instrument to increase energy efficiency in industry is the Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) Mechanism, which is implemented under the ‘National Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency’. PAT resembles an emissions trading scheme (ETS) and has been in place since 2012. The scheme is currently in its second phase (2016–2019). PAT differs from traditional cap-and-trade systems as it sets intensity-based energy targets
- Rural Electrification Policy, 2006: The policy promotes renewable energy technologies where grid connectivity is not possible or cost-effective.
- Energy Conservation Building Code, 2006: This regulatory code is designed to ensure energy efficiency in all buildings with above 500 kVA connected load or air-conditioned floor area over 1000 square metres.
India’s future role in the global efforts towards mitigating climate change can be seen from the following points :
- In 2007, then Indian Prime Minister Singh pledged that India’s per capita emissions would never exceed those of the developed world. Meeting this pledge does not require any emissions reductions compared to current policy projections up to 2030.
- Despite the negative trend in the power sector due to coal, India’s Paris Agreement target is within the range of what is considered to be a “2°C compatible” fair share of the global effort. Further, India could become a global climate leader with a “1.5 ̊C compatible” rating if it abandons plans to build new coal-fired power plants.
- The Government is in the process of implementing carbon pricing mechanisms to encourage energy efficiency in industry. A pilot system for small to medium enterprises is expected soon. This can form the basis for global carbon pricing mechanism.
- The government is also attempting to harness the potential of off-grid solar PV pumps to not only provide reliable electricity for pump sets, but also to provide additional income generation opportunities for farmers.
- India has said that it will finalise its long-term plan strategies for development that result in lower levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. India also said that it will increase its climate pledges, or nationally determined contributions (NDCs), under the Paris Agreement.
- The Indian Government is considering long-term growth strategies over the period 2030–2045 that would result in a decoupling of carbon emissions from economic growth.
Climate Change has emerged as one of the most serious environmental concerns of our times, which is a global phenomenon with diverse local impacts. The New Delhi Declaration should provide us with a sound basis for global cooperation, reflecting the consensus that addressing the challenge of climate change as an integral part of achieving sustainable development to create a better world for all our people.