New Delhi (NVI): India has emerged as a global leader in renewable energy, even as it remains on track to overachieve its “2˚C compatible” rated Paris Agreement NDC climate action targets, says global Climate Action Tracker (CAT) analysis.
According to the analysis, India’s investments in renewable energy has been much more than in fossil fuel, particularly with the country adopting its National Electricity Plan (NEP) in 2018.
Notably, BASIC (countries comprising Brazil, South Africa, India and China) during a ministerial meeting on climate, has acknowledged the achievement of pre-2020 voluntary target of 21 per cent reduction in emission intensity by India.
CAT is an independent scientific analysis that tracks government climate action and measures it against the globally agreed Paris Agreement aim of “holding warming well below 2°C, and pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.” A collaboration of two organisations, Climate Analytics and New Climate Institute, the CAT has been providing this independent analysis to policymakers since 2009.
CAT said, “After adopting its National Electricity Plan (NEP) in 2018, India remains on track to overachieve its “2˚C compatible” rated Paris Agreement NDC climate action targets”.
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. This is an important consideration, as India’s CO2 emissions rose by 4.8 per cent in 2018, largely driven by emissions from coal power plants, the analysis said.
According to CAT analysis, “Our analysis shows that India can achieve its NDC target with currently implemented policies. We project the share of non-fossil power generation capacity will reach 60–65 per cent in 2030, corresponding to a 40–44 per cent share of electricity generation. India’s emissions intensity in 2030 will be ~50 per cent below 2005 levels. Thus, under current policies, India is likely to achieve both its 40 per cent non-fossil target and its emissions intensity target”.
A 2018 report by the national coal mining company, Coal India, confirms declining future costs of solar and renewable electricity storage, which is likely to foster low-carbon investments. Investment in renewable power in India topped fossil fuels for the first time in 2017, according to the International Energy Agency. The government has signalled its intention to increase its previous 2022 capacity target for renewables from 175 GW to 228 GW.
Since 2010, Indian has doubled the coal tax three times, reaching Rs 400 per tonne (around USD 3.2 per tonne) of coal produced and imported in the 2016–2017 budget. Removing subsidies for coal (and other fossil fuels) is an essential step to ensure effectiveness of the levied tax.
The analysis observed that, 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.