Climate goals: India’s strides and challenges
India reduced support to the fossil fuel industry by 4% between 2015 and 2019 while countries in the G20 forum are failing to meet their commitments, a new report by BloombergNEF and Bloomberg Philanthropies released on Tuesday said. The G20 provided $636 billion in direct support for fossil fuels in 2019, which is 10% less than that in 2015. The report, however, also noted that India has 66 coal power plants in the pipeline, second only to China’s 247.
The report is not a review of India’s official commitment (Nationally Determined Contributions), but what the country needs to do if it has to meet the net-zero target by (2050) and the 1.5 degree criteria under the Paris Climate Agreement. India has not committed to a net-zero target and, therefore, the metric doesn’t apply. But it is on course to meet the NDC pledges.
While it is true that India is the world’s third-largest carbon emitter after China and the United States, the country needs cheap and reliable power to meet three development challenges: First, India has to provide clean cooking energy to 800 million people and electricity access to 200 million; second, it has to create jobs and that cannot happen without more and better power; and third, the urban transition will entail huge energy needs. In addition, the energy transition has to be just because of livelihood implications. While it is imperative to build domestic multi-level and multi-actor alliances to facilitate the transition, India needs and is entitled to financial and technological support from the developed world to increase the pace of changeover. Clean energy investments in emerging and developing economies need to be multiplied by more than seven — from less than $150 billion last year to over $1 trillion annually by 2030 to meet climate goals.