India’s challenge to fulfill its climate commitment

India’s challenge to fulfill its climate commitment

GS II - Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

  • India announced at COP26, to become carbon neutral by 2070, suggests that it has committed itself to decisive action to curb runaway greenhouse gas emissions from mid-century.
  • Experts say that much will become clear only after India submits its updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).

India announced five-fold plan to achieve these targets

  1. India’s non-fossil energy capacity will reach 500 GW by 2030
  2. It will meet 50% of its energy requirements with renewable energy by 2030
  3. It will reduce its total projected carbon emissions by a billion tonnes by 2030
  4. Reduce the carbon intensity of its economy to less than 45%
  5. Achieve net zero by 2070

Net zero means

  • Net zero is when a country’s carbon emissions are offset by taking out equivalent carbon from the atmosphere, so that emissions in balance are zero.

Peaking year

  • However, achieving net zero by a specific date means specifying a year, also called a peaking year, following which emissions will start to reduce.
  • Though there is no clarity yet from the Government.


  • A March 2021 study by analyst Vaibhav Chaturvedi at the Council for Energy, Environment and Water suggested that for a 2070 net zero year and peaking year of 2040, India would have to reduce the emissions intensity (emissions per unit GDP) by 85% — it has so far reduced it to 24% from the 2005 levels.
  • The share of non-hydro renewable energy has to increase to 65% from the 11% today.
  • The share of electric cars in passenger sales has to go from 0.1% today to 75% by 2040.
  • The share of fossil energy in primary energy has to decrease from 73% to 40%.
  • For a peaking year of 2030, these targets would be stiffer.
  • India, as part of its NDC in 2015, had committed itself to installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022. Till February 28, 2021, the country had achieved 94 GW, comprising 25% share in total installed capacity for power generation.
  • If large hydro installed capacity is included (45 GW by February 2021), then India’s non-fossil energy capacity is 139 GW — close to 38% of installed capacity — according to the Centre for Science and Environment.

Compulsion to announce Target

  • Diplomatic compulsions likely forced India to announce a net zero date as it was the only one among major economies not to have specified a net zero year until now.
  • India, however, should have said that it will reach net zero by 2070, only if other developed countries themselves commit to reaching net zero before 2050.
  • There is also no clarity on how many of the announced targets are unconditional and how many are conditional.


Source : The Hindu