Cabinet clears climate goals

  • Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 24, 2015 19:37 IST
Solar power will be among the biggest contributors to enhanced green power in the country. (HT Photo/Praful Gangurde)

The cabinet has approved India’s climate action plan for 2030 that gives a push to sustainable growth through ambitious targets for renewable energy, efficiency and emission intensity while seeking technology and money to cope with global warming.

The meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi — a day before he left to participate in the Sustainable Development Goals Summit in New York on Wednesday — also decided to release India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) on October 1, the eve of Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary.

The INDCs will have a message from Gandhi saying that “earth has enough resources to meet people’s need, but will never have enough to satisfy people’s greed” and would seek that the Paris climate treaty be a “global architecture” based on climate justice and equity.

Countries are expected to submit their climate action plans called INDCs by October-end expected to be a part of the new climate treaty in Paris this December. Around 40 countries including the world’s biggest carbon emitters, the US and China, have already submitted their INDCs to the United Nations while Brazil and South Africa are expected to do so in the next few weeks.

The big expectation from Indian INDCs would be on the renewable energy front where the government is likely to state that green power will contribute 40-45% of the country’s electricity mix by 2030, sources said. About half of the green power is expected to come from solar and wind similar to what China had committed by 2030.

It will mean India’s installed capacity of renewable energy by 2030 would be 393 Gigawatts (GW), more than double of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s target of 175 GW for 2022.

By 2030, India’s total electricity generation capacity would be 820 GW, of which 49% is expected to come from thermal sources, 2% more than its share in the electricity mix in 2012. The figures presented by the Niti Aayog to the environment ministry were adopted at a meeting with the PMO earlier this month.

India is likely to voluntarily reduce its carbon intensity to GDP ratio — that of carbon dioxide to a measure of economic output — by 35% of the 2005 level by 2030, sources said.

Before the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009, India announced its carbon intensity reduction target of 20-25% by 2020 as compared to China’s emission intensity target of 40-45% for the same reference period. India is on track to meet the target.

“We can simply meet the target by increasing efficiency of thermal power plants from the existing 30% to 50%,” a senior government official said. The government has a target of saving up to 30,000 MW of power through energy efficiency by 2030.

Sources also said that India’s INDCs were “comprehensive” and will address all aspects of climate change — adaption, mitigation, finance, technology transfer, capacity building and transparency in action.

The INDCs also mention the 100 Smart Cities programme, target of generating energy from waste, Rs 800 crore for electric vehicles and steps taken to reduce air pollution in urban centres.

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