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At the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt, India unveiled a multi-pronged strategy to achieve low-carbon growth, which includes expanding and stabilizing the renewable electricity grid, phasing down coal, increasing the adoption of electric vehicles, research and development into carbon removal and capture technologies, and the restoration and conservation of forests.
The Long-Term Low-Carbon Development Strategy (LT-LEDS) report prepared by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has laid out the vision for a sustainable future.
The country’s approach is based on the four key considerations that underpin its long-term low-carbon development strategy: One, the country has contributed little to global warming despite having a 17% share of the world’s population. Two, it has significant energy needs for development purposes. Three, the nation is committed to pursuing low-carbon strategies for development, and fourth is the need to build climate resilience.
This comes a year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced India’s net-zero target at the COP26.
“We are particularly happy to present our strategy at COP27, which is the COP of implementation,” Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav said. “The two themes of climate justice and sustainable lifestyles are emphasized in our strategy alongside the UNFCCC principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities,” he added.
The strategy elaborates on the transition path from fossil fuels to more sustainable energy sources. The expansion of green hydrogen production, increasing electrolyzer manufacturing capacity in the country, and a three-fold increase in nuclear capacity by 2032 are some of the other milestones that are envisaged alongside the overall development of the power sector.
The low-carbon development of the country’s transport sector is pegged on the increased use of biofuels – especially ethanol blending in petrol – higher electric vehicle (EV) penetration, along with the increased use of green hydrogen fuel.
Additionally, India aspires to maximize the use of EVs, enhance ethanol blending to reach 20% by 2025, and make a strong shift to public transport.
Urbanization will continue as a strong trend wherein smart city initiatives will drive sustainable and climate-resilient urban development. It will involve integrated planning of cities, enhanced energy and resource efficiency, and rapid developments in innovative solid and liquid waste management.
The industrial sector will continue the strong growth with regard to ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India’ policies. The low-carbon development transitions in the industry will not impact energy security, access, and employment.
The focus will be on improving energy efficiency through the Perform, Achieve, and Trade (PAT) scheme with the assistance of programs like the National Hydrogen Mission, a high level of electrification, and enhancing material efficiency and recycling.
Syncing Climate Goals with Economic Commitments
The transition to a low-carbon development pathway will entail costs for developing new technologies, infrastructure, and other transactions.
The provision of climate finance by developed countries will play a significant role and needs to be considerably enhanced through grants and concessional loans.
The strategy has been prepared in the framework of India’s right to an equitable and fair share of the global carbon budget. This is essential to ensure that there are no constraints on realizing India’s vision of rapid growth and economic transformation while protecting the environment.
In July, the International Energy Agency (IEA) found that ensuring a secure transition to net-zero emissions requires increased efforts to expand and diversify the global production of solar modules, whose global supply chains are currently heavily concentrated in China.
Last year, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said that India’s transition towards a net-zero economy can contribute over $1 trillion by 2030 and $15 trillion by 2070 in economic impact and provide over 50 million new jobs.