What India could do to make progress against climate change

Source– The post is based on the article “What India could do to make progress against climate change” published in the Mint on 8th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS3- Environmental pollution and degradation

Relevance– About steps India should take to fight climate change

News- The article provides suggestions related to India strategy to resolve the challenges related to climate change.

Climate change is a global problem that needs global response. The 27th climate summit in Egypt and G20 summit in Indonesia are happening when developed countries are facing challenges like the Ukraine crisis, sharp increase in gas prices in Europe and geopolitical tension between US and China.

How India could tackle the challenges related to climate change?

Two things are important- (1) Indian position on negotiation about climate strategy. (2) India’s position on international financing for developing countries to manage climate change.

India current strategy of managing climate change: Major targets of our strategy announced at CoP-26 at Glasgow includes-

(1) Net zero emission by 20270 (2) Reducing emission intensity of GDP by 45% by 2045 (3) Renewable energy share of 50% in total electricity generation.

The target of  450GW renewable energy by 2030 is a supply side element. It needs to be supplemented by demand side measures like 1) reducing fossil fuels in transport through electric vehicles and electrification of railways; 2) promote green hydrogen technologies for heavy industries; 3) increase efficiency of buildings and public transport.

Suggestions related to India strategy for managing climate change:

It needs interventions in many areas and coordination across different levels of government and private sector.

A good strategy is a 10 year program that is not part of nationally determined contributions to UNFCCC but serves as domestic targets which are the following:

(1) We need to define targets for peak coal use for power generation around 2030 by considering the commissioning of coal power plants currently built and possible phasing down of inefficient one.

(2) A date for peak economy wide emissions needs to be fixed.

(3) Poor financial health of discoms needs to be resolved. We should try to get financing from multilateral investment banks for this purpose.

(4) To increase the share of renewable energy in total power generation requires innovation in electricity regulation and grid management practices.

(5) Minimum energy efficiency targets for household appliances need to be reviewed and set periodically.

(6) Railway’s entire traction network needs to be electrified by converting diesel locomotives to electric.

(7) Growth of green hydrogen needs to be supported by setting targets for major industries that can shift to it.

(8) State government needs to be encouraged to prepare climate action plans for cities and rural areas.

(9) Separate targets for increasing the share of electric vehicles; expanding EV charging networks and phasing out of internal combustion engines need to be fixed.

(10) There is a need to introduce carbon tax and the Energy conservation bill should have provisions for it.

(11) There is a need for more investment in afforestation.

Financing the transition to carbon neutral economy:

It is a major unresolved problem. UNFCCC provides that developing countries will get finance from developed ones.

Paris agreement promised assistance of 100 billion dollar per year by 2020 but it has yet to be realized. Glasgow pact recognized the failure and promised earliest delivery and continuation till 2025.

Estimates suggest that investment needs of developing countries excluding China comes close to 4% of GDP or almost $1 trillion per year by 2025.

Developing countries need to accept that a large portion of this amount has to be mobilized domestically. It has to be a combination of public and private flow.

G 7 countries have given no indication of their willingness to provide funding. The upcoming G20 summit will provide some clarity.

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