The Shape of a Five-Year Climate Agenda for India

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Why in News?

  • As the new government settles in, its actions on climate change will significantly impact every ministry and sector.
  • The new government has the opportunity to elevate India’s global climate leadership over the next four to five years.
  • Decisions made now will shape India's economic path towards sustainability, position it as a leader for the Global South, and determine its fight for climate finance and justice over the next five years.

An Overview of India's Climate Transformation: A Decade of Progress and Leadership

  • Establishing Global Institutions
    • International Solar Alliance (ISA)
      • Launched in 2015, the ISA aims to promote solar energy utilisation and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
      • By bringing together solar-rich countries, India has facilitated collaboration on solar energy projects, research, and policy development.
      • This initiative highlights India’s leadership in promoting renewable energy and addressing energy security concerns.
    • Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI)
      • Established in 2019, the CDRI focuses on building resilient infrastructure to withstand the impacts of climate change.
      • This initiative underscores the importance of preparedness and adaptation, particularly in the face of increasing climate-related disasters.
      • By creating international cooperation, India is helping to build a more resilient global infrastructure landscape.
    • Global Biofuels Alliance
      • This alliance aims to promote the use of biofuels as a sustainable energy source.
      • By advocating for biofuel adoption, India is addressing both energy security and environmental sustainability, reducing reliance on fossil fuels, and promoting cleaner alternatives.
    • Green Development Pact
      • During its G-20 presidency, India championed the Green Development Pact, which emphasizes sustainable and inclusive growth.
      • This pact underscores India’s commitment to integrating sustainability into global economic policies and fostering international cooperation on climate action.
  • Setting Ambitious Targets
    • 2070 Net-Zero Target
      • India’s announcement of its goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2070 is a landmark commitment.
      • This target signifies a long-term vision for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to a low-carbon economy.
      • By setting this goal, India is aligning itself with global efforts to limit temperature rise and mitigate climate change impacts.
    • Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)
      • India’s NDCs under the Paris Agreement outline its plans for reducing emissions and enhancing climate resilience.
      • These contributions include targets for increasing renewable energy capacity, improving energy efficiency, and reducing emissions intensity.
      • India’s ambitious NDCs reflect its proactive stance on climate action and its commitment to achieving measurable progress.
  • Integrating Sustainability into Domestic Economic Policies
    • Indian Emissions Carbon Trading Scheme
      • The establishment of a carbon trading scheme represents a significant step towards market-based mechanisms for reducing emissions.
      • This scheme allows for the trading of carbon credits, incentivising businesses to adopt cleaner technologies and reduce their carbon footprint.
      • Designed to operate for several decades, this institution is a cornerstone of India’s long-term climate strategy.
    • Renewable Energy Expansion
      • India has made remarkable progress in expanding its renewable energy capacity, particularly in solar and wind energy.
      • Government policies and initiatives, such as the National Solar Mission, have facilitated large-scale deployment of renewable energy projects.
      • This shift towards renewables not only reduces emissions but also enhances energy security and provides economic opportunities.
    • Sustainable Development Initiatives
      • India has launched various initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable development, including efforts to enhance energy efficiency, promote green transportation, and support sustainable agriculture.
      • These initiatives align with global sustainability goals and contribute to India’s broader climate objectives.

The Impact of India’s Climate Transformation

  • Enhanced Global Leadership
    • By establishing global institutions and setting ambitious targets, India has positioned itself as a leader in the global climate discourse.
    • This leadership role enables India to influence international climate policies and advocate for the needs and priorities of developing countries.
  • Economic and Social Benefits
    • Integrating sustainability into economic policies has yielded numerous benefits for India.
    • The expansion of renewable energy has created jobs, improved energy access, and reduced energy costs.
    • Sustainable development initiatives have enhanced resilience, reduced environmental degradation, and improved quality of life for communities.
  • Climate Resilience and Adaptation
    • India’s focus on disaster-resilient infrastructure and climate adaptation measures has strengthened its capacity to withstand climate impacts.
    • This resilience is crucial for protecting vulnerable communities and ensuring sustainable development in the face of climate change.

A Five-Year Climate Plan Sheet for India

  • Go Higher: India’s Global Leadership
    • India's leadership on the global stage should be enhanced.
    • Hosting major international climate summits, such as the United Nations Conference of Parties in 2028, would solidify its status.
    • To achieve this, India must start building consensus on key issues like halting new investments in oil and gas by 2030 and securing adaptation finance for developing countries.
    • This requires proactive diplomacy and forming strategic alliances.
    • Additionally, India should continue advocating for equity in international forums and positioning itself as a leader in securing climate finance.
  • Go Wider: Sectoral Emission Reduction Targets
    • India needs to broaden its emission reduction targets beyond the power sector.
    • Significant progress has been made in the power sector, but other sectors, such as private mobility, need clear zero-carbon goals.
    • Expanding these targets will benefit not just urban areas but also rural India, driving job creation in clean energy and sustainability, and promoting economic growth.
    • Credible policy goals have previously spurred industries into action, and the upcoming NDC for 2035 presents an opportunity to set broader energy transition targets.
  • Go Deeper: Sub-National Climate Action
    • Sub-national climate action and resilience must be prioritised. Initiatives like those by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), which supports state-level net-zero plans, are crucial.
    • Collaborations with states such as Tamil Nadu and Bihar on their net-zero transition plans are positive steps.
    • To enhance this, a Centre-State coordination group should be established, incentivizing state-level climate actions through mechanisms like the Sixteenth Finance Commission.
    • Integrating scientific modelling capabilities into policymaking and creating a unified data measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) architecture are essential for coordinated and effective state-level actions.

Conclusion

  • The new government has the opportunity to elevate India's global climate leadership in its new term.
  • Looking ahead to the next four to five years, India must leverage its position at international forums to demonstrate its prowess in climate action.

By going higher, wider, and deeper, India can achieve a sustainable economic path and solidify its role as a global climate leader. 


Q1: What is India's Net Zero 2070 target?

A1: India's Net Zero 2070 target is a commitment made by the country to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2070. This means that by 2070, India aims to balance the amount of greenhouse gases emitted with an equivalent amount of carbon removal from the atmosphere, effectively reducing its carbon footprint to zero.

Q2: What steps is India taking to achieve the Net Zero 2070 target?

To achieve the Net Zero 2070 target, India is implementing a comprehensive strategy that includes expanding renewable energy capacity, enhancing energy efficiency, promoting sustainable practices, investing in green technologies, and implementing policy reforms. The country is significantly increasing its reliance on renewable energy sources like solar and wind power to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Efforts are also being made to improve energy efficiency across various sectors, such as industry, transportation, and buildings, to minimise energy wastage.


Source:The Hindu