Short Term Targeted Approach to Achieve Net Zero Emissions Target

Synopsis: India needs to follow a sector-wise Short term targeted approach with a focus on achieving short-term targets. Rather than admitting the long-term goal of achieving Net Zero Emissions Target by 2050.

Background
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1.5 °C report called for global carbon emissions to reach net-zero by 2050.
  • Presently, the target to achieve the net-zero target by 2050 is strongly put forward as the solution to achieve Paris climate targets.
  • The US will organize the ‘Leaders’ Climate Summit this week, consequently, India is under pressure to adopt a net-zero target by 2050.
Should India adopt net-zero target by 2050?
  • India is a climate-vulnerable country and therefore India must also contribute to limit global temperature rise.
  • However, India should factor in the history of global climate negotiations and its own developmental needs before announcing its contributions. For example,
    • India is still a very poor country with a significant development deficit. Further, India’s per-capita carbon emissions are less than half the world average.
  • Further, India should compel developed countries to reach net-zero before 2050. Since developed countries made use of a larger portion of the carbon space.
How India Could Contribute?
  • India needs to focus on Short term targeted approach of low-carbon development pathways that combine competitiveness, job-creation, distributional justice, and low pollution. This approach will be consistent with India moving towards net-zero emissions.
  • A pragmatic approach towards low carbon development in the Power sector is illustrated as an example below. A similar approach to other sectors can be adopted.
What changes the power sector requires?
  • De-carbonizing power sector will help India achieve its net-zero emissions. Since it is the single largest source (about 40%) of India’s greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Till now, India has focused only on expanding renewable electricity capacity. For instance, 175GW of renewable capacity by 2022 and 450GW of renewable capacity by 2030.
  • But India should also aim at limiting the expansion of coal-based electricity capacity. Coal accounts for roughly 75% of the electricity today.
How to bring about those changes?
  1. First, India needs to pledge that it will reach peak coal electricity capacity by 2030. It would be beneficial for India, since coal is increasingly uneconomic, and phasing it out will bring local gains, such as reduced air pollution, climate mitigation, etc.,
  2. Second, the creation of a multi-stakeholder Just Transition Commission representing all levels of government and the affected communities. This is necessary because the transition costs of a low-carbon future should not affect India’s poor.
  3. Third, address existing problems of the Power sector such as the poor finances and management of distribution companies.
  4. Fourth, India should aim to become a leader in technologies of the future such as electricity storage, smart grids through a partnership with the private sector.
  5. Fifth, India’s electricity transition should couple with job creation and global competitiveness.
  6. Sixth, Enhancing the efficiency of electricity use is important to decarbonize the electricity supply. For instance, Air conditioners, fans, and refrigerators together consume about 60% of the electricity in households. Increasing the efficiency of electric appliances will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions will also lower consumer electricity bills.

    Read Also- Net Zero Emission Principle is not in Line with India’s .

Way forward
  1. Such a sector-by-sector approach can be developed for other sectors to set India on the path toward net-zero emissions target.
  2. Going further, India may even consider committing to submit plausible pathways and timelines to achieving net-zero emissions target as part of its future pledges. It will give India adequate time to
      1. One, undertake detailed assessments of its development needs and low-carbon opportunities.
      2. Two, to assess the seriousness of the net-zero actions by developed countries,
      3. Three, to assess the potential geopolitical and geo-economic risks of over-dependence on certain countries for technologies or materials.
      4. Four,  to develop a strategic road map to enhance its own technology and manufacturing competence as part of the global clean energy supply chain.Source: The Hindu
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