Shaping India’s green future

Syllabus: GS3 – Environment

Tags: Global warming, pandemic, zero emission, climate change.

Relevance: Achieving net zero emissions to achieve carbon neutrality

Synopsis: Pandemic and global warming are giving clear warning that India must move to a more sustainable and greener future.

  • Frequency of extreme weather events, heat waves, and deadly droughts have increased.
    • Recent Cyclones Tauktae and Yaas have caused death and destruction on India’s western and eastern coasts.
  • The zoonotic (such as SARS, MERS, and AIDS) viruses are spreading because of destruction of natural habitats.
  • As per Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global carbon emission must reach net-zero by 2050 to keep warming within 1.5 degrees centigrade by 2100.
    • However, world with current emissions will warm up the planet by 3 degrees.
    • India being one of the largest emitters has immense pressure to bring carbon emission down to net-zero by mid-century.
  • Climate change is a slow-motion global disaster.
    • It destroys planet’s temperate climate and diminishes the lives of children.
Benefits of net Zero emission approach:
  • Firstly, net-zero technologies, such as solar power and electric vehicles, are likely to be much more efficient.
    • it will drive economic growth and create high-quality jobs.
    • It will also end the trade-off between development and emission reductions.
  • Secondly, the rest of the world might impose high carbon taxes on exports from carbon-emitting countries.
    • Therefore, India may be disadvantaged relative to our peer economies and face significant export challenges.
    • A legally binding net-zero target will be beneficial diplomatically and lead to much more supportive technology transfer and global trade agreements.
  • Thirdly, it will help in building the necessary state capacity.
    • it will promote a stable government framework and policy predictability.
    • India can promote entrepreneurship and build a more competitive, sustainable future.
  • Lastly, the net-zero target would force the Central and state governments to quickly build the necessary state capacity for monitoring and compliance.
    • It could lead to massive investments in green technologies and equipment.
    • India requires at least $100 billion per year in green investments to reach a net-zero target by mid-century.
Challenges in path of carbon neutrality:
  • Firstly, India need to transform electricity generation, transportation, construction, real estate, agriculture, cement, steel, and many other industries.
  • Secondly, due to financial constraints faced by Central and state governments it requires involvement of private sector capital.
  • Thirdly, India will need competitive, advanced technologies and business models. For long-term, sustainable prosperity.
Benefits of low carbon approach:

Net zero approach is impractical for India considering high transition cost.

  • Firstly, India is not obliged to follow net zero approach under Common but differentiated responsibility.
  • Secondly, India can adopt longer phase out period such as by 2080 or even later.
  • Thirdly, clear sectoral targets are needed for both private and public sector. such as the current 450-Gw target for solar energy.
    • It would also provide a clear sectoral road map for the private sector for its investment plans.
    • it would allow slow decommission and investment requirements would be reduced.
    • It will help in moving people out of high-carbon industries.

India needs coordinated policies and actions to ensure rapid peaking in carbon emission and a steeper decline thereafter.

Source: Business Standard

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