India ratifies Paris Agreement, what next?

The Indian Government surprised everyone when in 2015 it released its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) on Gandhi Jayanthi invoking his thoughts on the moral responsibility of human beings in preserving natural resources. An even bigger surprise followed in 2016, when intense speculation on India’s stance on the accord preceded its sudden decision to ratify the agreement, again on Gandhi Jayanthi (Read more).

The Paris agreement was subsequently ratified by a few more countries (75 as on date) and will come into force on Nov 4th, 2016. (How the entire process unfolded?)

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Upon ratification countries are expected to submit their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) which will serve as a yardstick for monitoring by all the parties at the meetings of Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA). India however has submitted its INDC as its first NDC which brings the focus back on the INDC (India’s INDC:Towards Climate Justice; An earlier blog post).

The premise of the INDC brings in the equation of ‘Climate Justice’ , clearly highlighting a need to consider the past of the global emitters.

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co2-emissions-metric-tons-per-capita (Cty:WB)

A need to clearly map the present and future scenarios was illustrated in the INDC.

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A key point of contention that will remain is the electricity demand per capita.

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electric-power-consumption-kwh-per-capita (Cty: WB)

INDC key highlights

  • India plans to cut emissions by 33-35% by 2030 from 2005 level.
  • India projects to achieve a renewable energy capacity addition of 175GW by 2022 and increase the renewable energy in the mix to 40% by 2030. It seeks funds explicitly from the Green Climate Fund. (The fund the developed countries agreed to create for projects in under developed/developing countries).
  • To create a carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through forests and trees by 2030.
  • India estimates its Climate Change mitigation plan will cost $2.5Trillion between now and 2030.

The way forward will see some challenges

  • Enforcing policy regulations.
  • Creating a finance mechanism that utilizes the coal cess, Renewable Purchase Obligation(RPO), Perform Achieve & Trade (PAT) etc.
  • Creating a Green Energy Corridor (est. $6Bil) to facilitate power evacuation from renewable energy plants.
  • Not to compromise on Human Developmental Index of the nation. 300Million people in India still have no access to electricity. Hopefully we achieve the national target of ‘Electricity for All’ by 2019.
  • A need to cut subsidies and increase tax in fossil fuels.
  • Securing fuel for proposed 63GW of nuclear power projects.

At the moment, Indian government through its various ministries is trying to establish a framework to gather emissions data from concerned sectors. Recently aviation sector which dint find traction @ COP21 managed to agree for a global cap by 2020(Read more). India however decided to remain out of the pact until it establishes relevant frameworks in the sectors (read more). The next phase in this deal will be more clear once it is enforced and the first meeting kicks off in COP 22 until then its fair to rejoice the moment of clinching this deal.

India’s INDC:Towards Climate Justice

India couldn’t have chosen a better day to release their INDC  (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions)to the public. Oct 2 is Gandhi Jayanthi and Mahatma Gandhi is invoked in the INDC right away; we should act as ‘Trustees’ to our natural resources. I wouldn’t compare our INDC to the rest of the world as there have been some major articles already.(Ref Economist’s Catching up with China). The INDC can be rated highly for its comprehensive effort in encompassing all the concerned ministries and dept. concerned even though Climate Change falls under the ambit of Ministry of Forests. A significant point of view conveyed through the INDC is “India was not part of the problem, but it is willing to be part of the solution” which is a swipe at all the biggies.

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Key highlights

  • India plans to cut emissions by 33-35% by 2030 from 2005 level.
  • India projects to achieve a renewable energy capacity addition of 175GW by 2022 and increase the renewable energy in the mix to 40% by 2030. It seeks funds explicitly from the Green Climate Fund. (The fund the developed countries agreed to create for projects in under developed/developing countries).
  • To create a carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through forests and trees by 2030.
  • India estimates its Climate Change mitigation plan will cost $2.5Trillion between now and 2030.RE 2014

Some challenges

  • Enforcing policy regulations.
  • Creating a finance mechanism that utilizes the coal cess, Renewable Purchase Obligation(RPO), Perform Achieve & Trade (PAT) etc.
  • Creating a Green Energy Corridor (est. $6Bil) to facilitate power evacuation from renewable energy plants.
  • Not to compromise on Human Developmental Index of the nation. 300Million people in India still have no access to electricity. Hopefully we achieve the national target of ‘Electricity for All’ by 2019.
  • A need to cut subsidies and increase tax in fossil fuels.
  • Securing fuel for proposed 63GW of nuclear power projects.

And opportunities..

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  • To create mass transit systems in major cities and encourage them.
  • Developing new cities to house 40% of India in 2030 through smart city projects.
  • Creating sustainable habitats that adhere to building codes.
  • To set up manufacturing hubs through ‘Make in India’ campaign that could be the most energy efficient.
  • To link up ‘Swach Bharat’ and waste to energy projects.

The Minister, Prakash Javadekar who has overseen the entire exercise hosted a public hangout  to talk about the INDC and address queries.

The minister reinforced his thoughts on the INDC that the document was titled ‘Climate Justice‘ because even though we haven’t harmed the planet as much we would like to make it a better place to live.  Some of the discussions that people shared included being Indigenous (Not Jugaad) and embracing our native principles which emphasizes on preserving our ecosystem. Social entrepreneurship could be a big winner in our fight against climate change.

India is in a tricky position, faced by developmental targets and aspirations which require enormous energy and infrastructure year on year. However this also gives it a significant opportunity to develop as nation like no other. Overall India’s INDC is challenging yet achievable.

References: INDC India Overview, Draft