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India Government report: policies and innovations needed for Clean Revolution

19 May 2011
India Government report: policies and innovations needed for Clean Revolution

NEW DELHI: The Interim Report of the Expert Group on Low Carbon Strategies for Inclusive Growth was released last week by the Planning Commission Government of India, to offer guidance on achieving a Clean Revolution in India's power, transport, industry, buildings and forestry sectors through ambitious emission reductions.

To reduce electricity consumption in the buildings sector, the Expert Group suggests implementation of an Energy Conservation Building Code and Green Buildings Rating System for both new and existing buildings.

For emissions reductions in transport, early completion of the dedicated freight corridor, investment in urban public transport and improvement in fuel efficiency of vehicles are highlighted as critical.

The report says that the power sector can reduce electricity demand by using more efficient appliances, as well as more varied and fuel efficient power plants. Reducing emissions through new technologies in the steel, cement, oil and gas sectors must also be considered.

Clearly emphasizing the need for a supportive institutional set-up for implementing low carbon strategies, the report also lists principles around which policies and institutional designs should be based. On top of the policies being incentive compatible, they must also aim towards promoting technological and institutional innovation.

Capturing the essence of the final report done early next year in a nutshell, Dr Kirit Parikh, Chairman, Expert Group on Low Carbon Strategies for Inclusive Growth said: “The idea is to suggest policies that create incentives to self motivate economic agents to adopt a low carbon path. This can be done through gradual streamlining of several suggested policy measures and adoption of low carbon initiatives by different stakeholders including the private players.”

Aditi Dass, Programme Manager, Cities & Regions, The Climate Group India, agrees to the mandate of the report: “A perfect blend of suitable policies and technological innovations can be instrumental in providing a stage for technical leapfrogging of low carbon technologies in India. However, for all that to happen, what is required is an enormous amount of R&D and other incentives to the industry. Also the groups making efforts to upscale and mainstream low carbon technologies have a critical role to play in this emerging economy.”

The options considered in the report suggest that, with ’determined efforts’, India can bring down emission intensity of India’s GDP by 23 - 25% over the 2005 levels, and with ‘aggressive efforts’, can bring it down by as much as 33 - 35% over the 2005 levels. The report however, does not explain the costs associated with these measures, nor the feedback effect these measures would have in a macro-framework.

The Interim Report provides a menu of options to help reduce India’s emission intensity, but goes on to conclude that if India is to sustain an 8 - 9% real GDP growth rate over the next decade, the total GHG emissions in 2020 are expected to be at least double of the absolute levels in 2007.

Although the report says this carbon space must be made available to achieve inclusive growth and eliminate poverty, it’s clear that suitable policies, and clean tech up-scaling and innovation will help India attain growth through a Clean Revolution.

Read the Low Carbon Growth Strategies report

Read our own report: India's Clean Revolution

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