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Asia Spotlight Series: India prepares for G20 presidency

1 June 2023, 14:36 UTC 4 min read

In our latest blog ahead of the Asia Action Summit, we spoke with our Executive Director for India, Divya Sharma, on how India is gearing up to host this years’ G20 and what that means for its role as a climate leader.

India is this year’s host for the G20. What does the spotlight being on India mean for its climate goals?

India’s G20 presidency will provide a strong focus on the development needs of low- and middle-income countries. There will be a focus on climate finance, not only for taking ambitious mitigation actions, but also being able to finance adaptation and resilience of systems and people. The official agenda emphasises inclusive growth, while also calling for a relook at multilateral institutions and how they can be more representative of the global south and its priorities. The other important agenda item is progress on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and pick up on the delay that has arisen due to the impact of COVID on economies across the board.

India has pledged to meet 50% of its energy requirements from renewables by 2030. What are some of the recent steps it has taken to meet this goal?

Last year, India added 17% more generation capacity from wind and solar, tripling its renewable electricity capacity additions in the space of a decade, moving from only 20% in 2011 to nearly 77% in 2021. Solar is by far the largest addition, with nearly 14 GW added in 2022, the same as the UK had installed by 2021. India now ranks fourth in the world for installed renewable energy, as well as being fourth in wind power and solar power capacity. The International Energy Agency described India’s increase in solar energy as “spectacular” with “huge” resource potential.

Despite impressive growth, there is still has a long way to go. Renewables make up just under 12% on installed energy capacity.

To support the accelerated growth of renewables and Indian Government’s efforts to accelerate adoption of renewable energy and increasing the share of renewables in its electricity grid, RE100 launched a series of six policy messages for the Indian market, including; the promotion of direct investments in onsite and offsite renewable electricity projects, an electricity market that allows for direct trade between corporate buyers and renewable electricity suppliers, and the removal of regulatory barriers to support the uptake of corporate renewable electricity.

India has called for a phase down of all fossil fuels. Will it be using its position as G20 President to push for this?

India’s key energy transition goals for G20 nations will focus around the following areas:

  1. Access to diversified energy solutions (hydrogen and allied opportunities)
  2. Reduction in dependence on carbon (fossil fuels)
  3. Improvement in energy storage
  4. Access to finance

Given India’s position as the fourth largest renewables installer, but still having the bulk of its energy coming from fossil fuels, it has an opportunity to demonstrate to other countries what success can be made from using its own renewables resources to drive the transition.

India has a significant opportunity to demonstrate leadership by setting ambitious energy policies at the G20, as well as driving forward its plans around global carbon finance.

What is needed in India for it to meet its climate goals?

Diversifying its energy mix to support the rapidly growing energy needs will be crucial and more renewables need to be installed at a quick pace. India and China are pushing for ‘multiple energy pathways’ at this year’s G20 which would give countries the opportunity to choose a roadmap to reduce carbon emission, rather than a specific deadline for the end of fossil fuels.  

One area that the Indian government wishes to drive forward is the growth in green hydrogen. The Government’s Green Hydrogen Policy aims to produce a cumulative 5 million tonnes of green hydrogen by 2030 and India has entered into a joint task force with the United Arab Emirates to help both markets to scale green hydrogen technologies. This will be essential to deliver net zero industrial processes like steel making.

India’s steel emissions are expected to double by 2030. What steps are being taken to limit these emissions?

India is the world’s second largest producer of crude steel and the sector contributed to around 2% of the country’s GDP in 2022. Its steel production also produces more CO2 emissions than the global average meaning its products could be subject to higher tariffs or lose out to competitors with lower emission steel. The Ministry of Steel has committed to a net zero target by 2070, with a short-term focus on improved energy efficiency and renewable energy, while in the medium term looking at the promotion of green hydrogen.

There are a few key levers that can fuel and sustain India’s decarbonisation journey.

  1. Investment in new / transformational technologies
  2. Policy initiatives (Green Steel Mission, Green Public Procurement, Steel Scrap Policy, Green Hydrogen Mission)
  3. Creating a market demand for low carbon steel

Increasing demand for green steel will be a powerful driver for steel producers to make the necessary investment to decarbonise steel production, as well as push for the government to continue to accelerate its developed of green hydrogen. Taking a leading global role in green hydrogen and the decarbonisation of steel will be economically advantageous to India and companies alike.  

What do you hope to get out of Climate Group’s Asia Action Summit

It will be a great opportunity to convene with our members, international businesses and policy makers to drive forward some of the most pressing issues, positioning India as a driver for change ahead of the G20.

Make sure you register your interest to attend Climate Group Asia Action Summit.