By ratifying the landmark Paris Agreement on Climate Change on 2 October, India has joined the club of 62 countries responsible for almost 52 percent of greenhouse gas emission.
Expressing the nation’s commitment to mitigate climate change, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his tweet said, “Care & concern towards nature is integral to the Indian ethos. India is committed to doing everything possible to mitigate climate change.”
Care & concern towards nature is integral to the Indian ethos. India is committed to doing everything possible to mitigate climate change. https://t.co/cKLlIu2J7S
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 2, 2016
While India’s INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) pledge is estimated at a cost of $2.5 trillion for its climate action plan, is ratifying the agreement in enough for India?
What’s next for India?
While the environmental experts have welcomed India’s move, they have expressed that India should strive to bring equity back into the climate agenda. India needs to play an instrumental role in the negotiation process on the issues related to adaptation, finance, loss and damage in the upcoming climate talks.
The experts are of the opinion that Paris Agreement is not enough to keep the global average temperature rise below 2.0 degree Celsius, as the developed countries have pledged very low emissions cut targets and consequently developing countries have also not been very ambitious.
“The Paris deal is weak and erases historical responsibility of the developed countries in addressing climate change. However, there is still enough scope for equity and ambition in the current framework of Paris Agreement. India should strive to bring equity back into the climate agenda,” says Sunita Narain, director general, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
Adds Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE, “By being in the club of early ratifiers, India has shown itself as a responsible and serious global player in the climate negotiations. But, India will have to play an important role in making Paris Agreement effective and equitable.”
Besides, Bhushan says, “India should play an important role in issues of adaptation, finance and loss and damage in the upcoming talks in Marrakech, Morocco as these issues are important for the poor and vulnerable
What India needs to focus upon?
Environmental experts feel while implementation of the INDC is the key, shifting of energy curve – from coal-based energy to renewable and non-fossil fuels is a big challenge before India.
“Shifting of energy curve – from coal-based energy to renewable energy will be a big challenge for India. We’re still one of the major emitters. India has to focus on the implementation of its action plan, besides there are issues related to adaptation,” says Ravi Agarwal, director, Toxics Link.
In the renewable energy sector, India had shown a lot of interest in harnessing solar energy. During the 1980s and 90s, besides inviting investments in the solar energy sector, the government had tried to popularise solar cookers and roof-top heaters for domestic use, but nothing much could be gained. Solar cookers became a craze till big subsidy was offered but it gradually fizzled out.
Though India was interested in solar energy, unfortunately, it was not favourite with the investors. There is a lot of bottlenecks in the generation of solar power. It couldn’t be a household thing. There’s a need for a mix and match option in the renewable sector. Even vehicular emission is a big issue, adds Agarwal
India must focus on the implementation of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC), revamping its energy policy and also on renewable and non-fossil fuels. Besides having a basic infrastructure in place, there should also be mix and match energy option with proper implementation of the action plan.
At the global level, India needs to push world’s major emitters and developed countries for a higher target to bring equity back into the climate agenda.
“India’s focus should be on implementation of INDC. There is a need to revamp nation’s energy policy with ample thrust on renewable and non-fossil fuels. Basic infrastructure and regulations have to be in place. India has pledged for 40 percent of its power to come from non-fossil fuel sources, which is an ambitious one. But, simultaneously, India needs to push major emitters in the world like the US, the EU and developed countries for higher emission cut targets,” says Vijeta Rattani, deputy programme manager, Climate Change division at CSE.