India unveils climate target to cut energy intensity

As announced earlier, India unveiled today its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) coinciding with Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, which entails a target for a 33-35 percent cut in its carbon emission intensity by 2030.


While China had said it would peak emissions by 2030, India has not made any such commitments.

A country’s INDC identifies its climate change mitigation and adaptation actions that will be implemented beyond 2020.

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.

Developing countries want rich nations to bear most of the burden for curbing emissions, which requires a costly shift from cheap fossil fuels to less polluting energy sources, and accuse them of hypocrisy in heaping demands on poorer nations.

So far, 147 countries, accounting for over 85 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, have submitted their INDCs, potentially paving the way for a binding climate treaty before the end of the year. The world will consume most of this budget by 2030, leaving a small space for developing countries in Asia and Africa to grow in the future.

In a 38-page document, which was submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on 1 October, India said it would target a 40 per cent cumulative installed power capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.

With India’s economy growing at an annual rate of about 7 percent, however, its total carbon emissions can keep rising even as emissions intensity improves.

But Durwood Zaelke, a climate change expert and long-time campaigner on the need to phase out climate-changing gases such as HFCs as part of the effort against global warming, said India “could do much better”, and “easily”, if it agreed to phase out HFCs, which are used in air conditioning. India’s current per capita emission is 2.44 metric tonnes, well below US’s 19.86 metric tonnes, China’s 8.13 metric tonnes and the EU’s 8.77 metric tonnes.

“The Philippines is committed to reduce its carbon emissions by 70 percent by 2030, which will come from the energy, transport, waste, forestry and industry sectors”, presidential spokesman Herminio Coloma said in a statement. “It is important this reality is discussed and resolved in the Paris climate conference”, added Sunita Narain.

What the secretariat also desires is that these commitments be clearly communicated to the domestic, as well as worldwide stakeholders, so that they know how these actions can cut global emissions – and all this while integrating priorities like sustainable development, equitable growth and poverty reduction.


For meeting the country’s climate change actions between now and 2030, the Environment Minister said that as per preliminary estimates, at least United States dollars 2.5 trillion (at 2014-15 prices) would be required.

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