As for the third factor, India has committed to increasing its forest cover so that, by 2030, it can absorb an additional 2.5 to three billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, the primary factor driving climate change.
Reacting to the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) announced by India today, green bodies said that it was a much-awaited climate action plan and reflects the country’s development challenges, aspirations and the realities of climate change.
India’s climate action plan came ahead of the crucial 21st meeting of the Conference of Parties under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held in Paris from November 30 to December 11. As of now, almost 150 countries have made submissions to the United Nations about the domestic measures they plan to take in this regard.
“India, even though not a part of the problem, has been an active and constructive participant in the search for solutions”, the country wrote in its INDC.
India is experimenting, said the submission, with a careful mix of market mechanisms together with fiscal instruments and regulatory interventions to mobilise finances for climate change.
Paharpur Business Centre chief executive officer Kamal Meattle termed it “a very welcome announcement” and ActionAid India executive director Sandeep Chachra called the plan far “superior” to ones proposed by the US and the European Union. In its INDC, India said its emission intensity in 2010 had already been cut by 12 per cent as compared to 2005. Now, it can and should play a meaningful role in facilitating a strong and pragmatic global climate deal at Paris, based on the principles of climate justice and common but differentiated responsibilities of all countries.
Instead, India said it aimed to cut carbon intensity – meaning its emissions will rise, but at a slower pace – and to grow the share of power generated from non-fossil fuel sources to 40 percent.
China and the U.S. are the only countries with higher emissions than India. The agreement in Paris will seek to limit the increase in average global temperature to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels by cutting greenhouse gas emissions. “Further expansion of coal power will hamper India’s development prospects”, said Pujarini Sen, a senior Greenpeace India campaigner.
“Estimates by the Niti Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) indicate that the mitigation activities for moderate low carbon development would cost around $834 billion till 2030 at 2011 prices”, it said.
“It is a matter of satisfaction that United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in its Emission Gap Report 2014 has recognized India as one of the countries on course to achieving its voluntary goal”, the government added, in the document.
The new climate plan, though seemingly tough, is not unfeasible given political will. But its funding requirement is daunting – India would need to meet almost 40 per cent of its electricity requirement through non-conventional sources.