In the recent World Leader Summit conducted at the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26, India announced that it would be net zero by 2070. ‘Net zero’ refers to the year by which greenhouse gas emissions produced will be balanced by those that are absorbed.
India is the world’s fourth-largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter after China, the US and the EU. With its huge population, the emissions per capita are much lower than other major world economies, However, in order to tackle the changing climate needs, India is committed to generate 500 GW from non-fossil fuel sources by the year 2030 which is an increase from the previous pledge of 450 GW. This will be 50% of the country’s installed energy capacity.
By 2030, the Indian government has pledged to reduce emissions by 1 billion tons and would reduce emissions intensity by over 45%. Emissions intensity reduction is not a reduction in total emissions, but a reduction in emissions per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Recently, in the follow up to the commitment made by India in at the COP26 summit, India updated its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). In the summit, the honorable Prime Minister also envisaged for sustainable lifestyles and climate justice to protect the poor and vulnerable from the adverse impacts of climate change. In understanding that altering lifestyles shall pay a big role in climate change, the government has proposed a One-Word Movement’, to the global community. This one word is LIFE…L, I, F, E, i.e. Lifestyle For Environment. The vision of LIFE is to live a lifestyle that is in tune with our planet and does not harm it.
A sustainable lifestyle is to be based on traditions and values of conservation and moderation being the key to combating climate change.
The updated NDC has been carefully drafted taking into consideration national circumstances, welfare of the citizens at the grass roots level and the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC).
This NDC also reaffirms the country’s commitment to work towards a low carbon emission pathway, while simultaneously endeavoring to achieve sustainable development goals. The updated NDC depicts a commitment for the decoupling of economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions.
The updated NDC has given rise to various other progressive frameworks together with the initiative given by the Indian government such as tax concessions and incentives such as a Production Linked Incentive scheme for promotion of manufacturing and adoption of renewable energy, which will provide an opportunity for enhancing India’s manufacturing capabilities and exports. It will lead to an overall increase in green jobs in renewable energy and 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.
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. The Net Zero target by Indian Railway will lead to a reduction of emissions by 60 million tons annually and similarly, India’s massive LED bulb campaign is reducing emissions by 40 million tons annually.
The updated NDC is proposed to be implemented over the period 2021-2030, through programs and schemes framed by various Ministries and departments of the Central and State Government.
It is notable to mention that Indian’s ambitious plan to tackle climate change and bring about a net zero rate of carbon emissions by 2070 has been mainly financed via the domestic resources available to the country. However, India has been welcoming new and additional financial resources as well as the transfer of technology to address the global climate change challenges from developed nations. India will also require its due share from such international financial resources and technological support.
It is also important to mention that India’s NDC does not bind it to any sector specific mitigation obligation or action. India’s main goal is to reduce overall emissions intensity and to improve the energy efficiency of its economy over time and at the same time protecting the vulnerable sectors of economy and segments of society.