Has India upheld its COP26 Pledge from the Climate Change conference?

India had laid down its future plan in the COP26 conference talking about reduction in carbon emissions by 1 billion tonnes by 2030. However, was the promise kept or broken?

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What happened in COP26?

Environment degradation has been the concern of the entire world for the past 5 years. Countries around the world are putting a collective effort to stop climate change. As well as prevent the increase of harmful gases to accumulate in the earth’s atmosphere. In this regard last year one of the biggest climate change conferences took place. Where countries had laid down their plan to fight the issue of climate change. 

The conference was attended by all major world leaders. India had also taken part and laid down its future plan. Before the plan was laid out speculations were made about whether India would be complacent to the facts. And the requirements that the rest of the western powers had already implemented. But as things turned out, PM Modi laid down the action plan for the future. The plan talked about a reduction of carbon emissions by about 1 billion tonnes by 2030. It also said that India plans to achieve net-zero carbon by 2070. 

In February 2022 the Press Information Bureau issued a statement regarding the action plan. And laid the steps to secure financial aid. As well as the need for a financial boost to adopt new technologies for the development of renewable sources of energy. 

Questions were asked by the people when the Environment Performance Index(EPI) published its 2022 report. Moreover, placing India last in the world in terms of environment-based development. 

So what about the pledges India made at COP26?

The PIB issued a statement soon after the report went live. Thus, explaining how the parameters used in the calculation of the report did not consider the improved parameters. Which should have included an increased time frame for the computation. And improved parameters regarding major carbon sinks in the country. Which should also have been factored in during the time of making the report. PIB in their press statement has made it clear that the carbon emission trajectory report made by EPI was based on “biased metrics”. And that while considering developing countries the parameters should have included the recent policy effects and ways that are already in motion. 

PIB has also pointed out that the report should have been proctored, keeping in mind different aspects of projected growth and the growth that developing countries like India have made in the past few years rather than over a decade. “No indicator talks about the renewable energy, energy efficiency and process optimization. The selection of indicators is biased and incomplete.” PIB statement said. 

PIB  confirms that India has already achieved a total of 40% non-fossil fuel energy capacity and is on the path to achieving 500GW of non-fossil fuel energy capacity as promised in Cop26. 

India grows in renewable energy

In terms of renewable energy capacity, India has made quite a significant growth as India has been ranked fourth in terms of renewable energy capacity and wind power and fifth in terms of solar energy. The Indian government has taken steps such as the reallotment of Rs.19,200 crores in the official budget of 2022-23 for the purpose of establishing solar energy modules. 

India had 152.36 GW of installed renewable energy capacity as of January 2022, or 38.56 per cent of all installed power capacity. In January 2022, there was an increase in renewable energy capacity of 975.60 MW. Moreover, in comparison to the first eight months of FY21, the increase in renewable energy capacity was 8.2 GW in the first eight months of FY22. In this context Union Rural Development and the Panchayati Raj system, Giriraj Singh had reassured us that India will achieve its pledge of reaching 50% renewable energy capacity by 2030. 

India & its reduced carbon emissions 

Speaking of the reduction in carbon emissions Indian government reduced its carbon emission intensity between 2005-2016 by 25%. If we look at the reasons, India had taken steps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions a long time back. In the year 2020, there were almost 1.75 million e-rickshaws in the country which was twice the number of electric vehicles sold in the U.S. as reported by the Washington Post. 

India currently produces 2.98 Gt of carbon emissions. According to predictions made by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). Based on the median yearly rate of development over the previous ten years, 2010-2019. India’s generation in 2030 will be 4.48 Gt. But things have been set into motion to change. As India has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 1 billion tonnes which approximately places the projection at 3.48 Gt of emissions. 

 In terms of the carbon budget, with the revised NDC declaration (November 2, 2021). India would account for 9.0% of the remaining IPCC 400 Gt carbon budget for 1.5°C by 2030. 8.4% of global emissions in this decade, and 4.2% of global emissions from 1870 to 2030.