Climate goals: India’s ambitious plan trumps US and China

  • Kumar Sambhav Shrivastava, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 03, 2015 00:54 IST
India plans to reduce carbon emission intensity by 33-35% from 2005 levels over 15 years. (HT File Photo)

India’s ambitious climate plan may be better than those by the United States and China but the world needs to do more than what is pledged if global temperature rise is to be capped within a safe limit of two degree Celsius by 2100.

When India meets other countries this December in Paris for a landmark United Nations conference to forge a climate deal, it will be in a position to brag about its renewable energy target that has left behind far richer countries like the United States and China.

India aims at producing 40% of its installed electricity capacity by 2030 from non-fossil fuels, outstripping China’s 20% target.

The US, even under the lofty Clean Power Plan of President Barack Obama, will only have about 30% of its electricity capacity on non-fossils, said Delhi-based nonprofit Centre for Science and Environment.

India also plans to reduce its carbon emission intensity — emission per unit of GDP — by 33-35% from 2005 levels over 15 years. If India and China — which wants to slash emission intensity by 60-65% — meet targets as pledged in their intended nationally determined contribution, both countries will have almost the same emissions intensity levels — 0.12 million tonnes of CO2 per billion dollars by 2030.

By that time, India’s per capita emissions would be about 3.5 tonnes while that in the US and China would hover around 12 tones, projected CSE.

“From all angles, India’s INDC is as good as China’s and better than the US, considering both these countries have higher emissions and are economically more capable,” said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general of CSE.

But what is worrying is that even if all of the 142 countries that have so far submitted INDCs met targets, it won’t be enough.

To maintain temperature rise within two degree Celsius by 2100, the world can only emit about 1000 gigatonnes of CO2 by then. Even if all INDC targets are met, around 800 gigatonnes would be emitted by 2030 itself and temperature would rise by about three-four degree C, a CSE analysis showed.

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