An ambitious climate blueprint
India will be “energy independent” in 25 years to mark its 100th year of Independence, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi said in his Independence Day speech. The government’s roadmap includes a gas-based economy, a Compressed Natural Gas and Piped Natural Gas network, and a 20% ethanol blending target. The plan will help reduce energy import of over ₹12 lakh crore annually. The PM also announced that Indian Railways has targeted becoming a net-zero carbon emitter by 2030; he emphasised that the government is serious about circular economy (eliminating waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use and regenerating natural systems); and announced a national hydrogen mission to increase the use of green hydrogen as a cleaner alternative fuel.
Two other announcements are significant because they are already in motion. First, the total installed renewable energy (RE) capacity, excluding large hydro, has crossed the milestone of 100 GW out of the target of 450 GW target by 2030. India is fourth in the world in terms of installed RE capacity. Second, the PM spoke of making India plastic-free. On August 13, the government notified Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, prohibiting identified single-use plastic items by 2022.
The PM’s address shows that the government’s ambition is clear. India is willing to take measures to halt the climate crisis and opt for a less-polluting development pathway. The world should acknowledge this, and help the country through finance and green technology. This will enable India (and the world) to not just achieve climate goals, but many of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.