India approved its updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement on Wednesday, 3 August. The NDCs are the commitments towards climate action made by all countries who signed the Paris Agreement in 2016 in France.
India is now committed to:
This is important because the NDCs determine a larger framework for a country’s steps and strategies towards combatting climate change.
“Share of non-fossil sources in India's power generation capacity has already crossed 41 percent on the back of dedicated policies, and emissions intensity GDP declined by 24 percent between 2005 and 2016. That India's ambition has been enhanced in the post pandemic scenario needs to be emphasised and appreciated. The press release explicitly states that the enhanced NDC is a step towards the net-zero goal, GoI should now follow this with explicit inclusion of the 2070 net-zero pledge in its yet to be submitted long-term strategy to the UN.”Dr Vaibhav Chaturvedi, Fellow, CEEW
At the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) at Glasgow, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced big climate goals for India, of which net-zero by 2070 was the most critical. He also listed out five big goals for the country.
However, since 1 November 2021 the world was left wondering if the Panchamrit or the five goals were India’s official climate pledge and would they be included in our NDCs. This announcement brings in that clarification.
India’s updated NDCs will soon be conveyed to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
India’s Updated NDCs
The government claims that measures to reduce emissions are being taken across every sector, as a result, India has continued separating economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions.
“It is clear that India does not envisage sectoral emission reduction obligations as part of its NDC at least till 2030,” said RR Rashmi, Distinguished Fellow, TERI. He added that the NDC does not bind it to any sector specific mitigation obligation or action.
“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.”
He also said that the NDCs have clarified that 50% of energy by 2030 is to be counted in terms of non-fossil-fuel-based electricity production.
The updated NDC’s have been prepared with careful consideration towards national circumstances and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC), the government said in an announcement.
According to the updated NDCs, India stands committed to reducing carbon intensity of the GDP by 45%, and to achieve 50% of the country’s cumulative electric power through non-fossil fuel-based sources, all by 2030. The new NDCs recognise the importance of lifestyle in climate change and has proposed a ‘One-Word Movement,’ the one word being LIFE or Lifestyle for Environment. It hopes to capture a more citizen-centric approach.
“The revised NDC does not include 500GW of non-fossil fuel based capacity by 2030 and a reduction of 1 billion tonnes of carbon emissions by 2030. The current renewable energy target stands at 175GW by 2030. In order to achieve 2070 net zero goals, India needs actionable short term targets till 2030 that can help the country to achieve its long term goal. India needs more demand side and supply side push."-Vibhuti Garg, Energy Economist & India Lead, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis
Congratulating the government on the approved NDCs, Balasubramanian Viswanathan, a policy advisor at International Institute for Sustainable Development, said he hopes they provide more detail on implementation pathways and that this would strengthen India’s negotiating power in the upcoming COP and G20 summits.
“The updated NDC represents the framework for India’s transition to cleaner energy for the period 2021-2030.”Government statement
The updated framework intends to band together a number of government initiatives, including tax concessions for the promotion of renewable energy, claims the government. The hope is to create an increase in green jobs and clean energy industries. It will be implemented over the period of 2021-30 through programmes and schemes run by the appropriate ministries and departments with due support from the states and Union Territories.
Big 5 Goals at COP26
India’s last NDCs, which were announced in 2015, comprised of eight goals.
India declared its intention to strengthen its commitment towards climate change action through the Panchamrit.
The Panchamrit, or PM Modi’s five nectar elements of climate change action, included four goals intended to be achieved by 2030, and one final long-term goal.
The five-point agenda included:
Increasing the non-fossil fuel-based energy capacity of the country to 500 GW by 2030.
To meet 50% of the country’s energy requirements through renewable sources by 2030.
To reduce the total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes by 2030.
Also, reducing the carbon emission intensity of the GDP by 45% by 2030.
Finally, the intention to become completely carbon-neutral and have zero-net emissions by 2070.