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Tracing India’s Paris Agreement commitments

The Union Cabinet approved India’s revised climate commitment to the Paris Agreement on August 3, 2022. The pledge will transmit India’s clean energy transition strategy to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from now through 2030. In 2015, the nation made its initial pledge. According to the terms of the Paris Agreement, nations are required to “update” their promises to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions every five years.

Read more: India’s Updated First Nationally Determined Contribution Under Paris Agreement

At COP 26, in Glasgow in 2021, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the new set of five goals. India’s capacity for non-fossil energy will expand to 500 GW. And, it will derive 50% of its energy needs from renewable sources. From now until 2030, it is anticipated that carbon emissions will be decreased by 1 billion tonnes overall.

PM, Shri Narendra Modi delivering the National Statement at the COP 26, in Glasgow on November 01, 2021 | Source: NITI Aayog

Indian economy’s carbon intensity will be decreased to less than 45%. By 2070, India will reach its goal of being net zero.

Other goals include increasing the percentage of power generated from non-fossil energy sources from 40%, in the first NDC, to 50% of installed capacity. This can also be contrasted with Modi’s Glasgow speech reference to the 50% entirely renewable aim for India’s “energy” needs by 2030.

India’s carbon-sink target, which is to absorb 2.5–3 billion tonnes of CO2e through increased forest and tree cover by 2030, has not changed. What baseline will be used to determine this is still unclear in the NDC.

Challenges

While India appears to be on track to meet its 2030 commitments (NDCs), achieving net zero GHG emissions would present a very different set of difficulties. According to recent assessments, a net-zero transition would require a cumulative investment of almost USD 10 trillion (from now to 2070). The question remains, however, how India or any other developing nation is going to finance such a change. Along with depleting the RCB (remaining carbon budget), developed economies are breaking their commitments to provide climate funding under the Paris Agreement.

What is Paris Agreement?

An international agreement on climate change that is legally binding is the Paris Agreement. At COP 21 in Paris, it was approved by 196 Parties on December 12, 2015, and it became effective on November 4, 2016.

Heads of delegations at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris | Source: Flickr

The objective of the agreement is to keep global warming far below 2 degrees Celsius. Ideally below 1.5, compared to pre-industrial levels. Countries want to reach the global greenhouse gas emissions peak as soon as feasible in order to build a climate-neutral world by the middle of the century in order to meet this long-term temperature objective. The Paris Agreement is a turning point in the global climate change process because it is the first time that a legally enforceable agreement unites all countries in the fight against climate change and in the attempt to adapt to its effects.

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