US-China climate deal puts India in spotlight for a clear climate policy

Reading time: 3 minutes
25 November 2014

NEW DELHI: India must plan a bolder climate strategy ahead of COP20 in Lima next month, The Climate Group's India Director warns. In the wake of the “game-changing” US-China climate deal, there is mounting pressure on India to come out with a clear emission target.

So far, India, the third biggest CO2 emitter in the world, has developed an ambitious roadmap for addressing climate change, committing to reduce emissions per unit of GDP 20-25% percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

But two weeks ago, China set the date for when it will “peak” its greenhouse gas emissions and start cutting its pollution as 2030. This is the first time China, or any emerging economy, has agreed to an absolute emissions target. 

Following China's announcement, India's targets have now come under question.

LEADING BY EXAMPLE

In the past, India has tried to justify its use of fossil-fuel based energy as a means to meet the electricity requirements of its 1.2 billion people.

However, Krishnan Pallassana, India Director, The Climate Group, says this is “a misplaced notion. Such protective measures may lead to short-term benefit for certain sections of the business and industry, but certainly is not a forward-looking agenda. There is enough evidence coming out that investing in clean energy, clean technology and smart systems will usher unprecedented growth far better than conventional approaches.

Pressure is now mounting on the country to raise its climate ambition and sketch a clear emission reduction target. Experts have deemed India a significant player in connecting the US, China and other developing countries to secure a global climate treaty, which will be discussed in Lima next week and is set to be agreed in Paris next year.

Krishnan Pallassana explains: “It will do a world of good for India and the planet to thwart any pulls, pressures, apprehensions and fears within and adopt a clear, pragmatic and solution oriented emission target.”

MODI LEADERSHIP

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been a staunch advocate of the low carbon economy, pushing renewable energy targets for the country - in particular solar energy, to ensure complete energy access by 2019.

Furthermore, Modi's recent revamping of an otherwise defunct climate panel under the former government is being seen as a significant step toward a stronger commitment for reduced emissions.

As we fast approach Lima, Krishnan Pallassana maintains that the Modi government is walking the talk toward leading on climate action and a low carbon economy. He says: “There are certain positive and credible measures that are being taken by the Modi government. In the past few months, we have seen a high panel appointed to advise on integrated power sector reform; three top think tanks in India have been commissioned by the government to analyze GHG emissions trajectories – the outcome of which will inform key decisions – as well as the much-awaited renewable energy act in early 2015.

"Modi has publicly stated his vision to make India the next manufacturing hub under climate-friendly conditions.”

By Shuvait Koul

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