paris climate agreement

On October 2, 2016, India became the 62nd country to ratify the Paris Agreement. The agreement requires every ratifying member country to come up with a national plan to curb carbon emissions and rising temperatures. India has set a goal of generating 40 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources, as part of its plan.

The Paris Agreement is a climate change plan that was agreed upon by the United Nations at the Paris Climate Conference in 2015 and will take effect on November 4, 2016. In order to go into effect, the agreement required 55 countries to ratify, accounting for at least 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement has 191 signatories and 62 party states (parties). A Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) source told Mercom that once the Paris Agreement comes into force it will benefit the country’s renewable sector immensely as the agreement provides for easy flow of finance and technology.

The Paris Agreement provisions include enhanced financial and technical support for achieving the renewable energy target set by India. It also provides for the establishment of a committee to help developing countries build renewable energy capacity by addressing gaps and needs, both current and emerging. Financial sources available for developing countries provided within the agreement include the Green Climate Fund, Special Climate Change Fund, Adaptation Fund and the Least Developed Countries Fund.

According to data from government agencies and Mercom, the renewable energy generation capacity in India currently accounts for approximately 15 percent of the total energy produced including small hydro.

The MNRE official also said that in the long term, renewable energy will be available at a much cheaper price than thermal, and renewable energy growth is necessary for sustainable development. The source also said that in order to reduce carbon emissions from the current 4.5 percent of global emission, fast-paced expansion of the renewable energy sector will have to take place.

According to preliminary estimates by the government of India, $2.5 trillion (~Rs.166.55 trillion) is needed to reach its target of 40 percent electricity generation from renewables by 2030.

Image credit: “Family photo during Leader Event of COP” (CC BY 2.0) by UNclimatechange