Climate science has established that global surface temperature increase is directly proportional to cumulative emissions and limiting it requires global GHG emissions to be kept within a specific limit, called the global carbon budget. It is no secret that a disproportionately large part of the global carbon budget has been used by developed countries. The world, from 2020, has a remaining carbon budget of 500 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, for a 50% probability of limiting global warming to 1.5°C to pre-industrial levels and a remaining carbon budget of 1,350 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent to have a 50% probability of limiting global warming to an increase of 2°C.
The key principle that informs India’s climate policy is pursuing the country’s development goals along low carbon development pathways. PM Modi has said India’s growth paradigm sees development and climate action as complementary to each other, rather than being contradictory to each other.
As a developing country with a long coastline, vulnerability to monsoon disruption, high dependence on agriculture for livelihood, and possible impacts on water systems, India is likely to bear a considerable added development burden from the impact of climate change. India’s Long-Term Low Greenhouse Gas Emissions Development Strategy (LT-LEDS) rests on seven key transitions to low-carbon development pathways. India has initiated these transitions through its policies and initiatives.
1)Low-carbon development of electricity systems consistent with development Growth in the power sector is critical for enabling industrial expansion, augmenting employment generation, and building an Aatmanirbhar Bharat. India is expanding renewables and strengthening the grid. It is exploring and/or supporting other low carbon technologies, focusing on demand-side management, moving to rational utilisation of fossil fuel resources, with due regard to energy security, assessing enablers for low carbon development, determining green taxonomy and optimum energy mix.
2) Integrated, efficient, inclusive low-carbon transport system Transport is a major contributor to GDP. India is working on lowcarbon options in the context of significant expansion needed across transportation modes for passenger and goods mobility. The country is encouraging improved fuel efficiency, promoting a phased transition to cleaner fuels, modal shift towards public and less polluting modes of transport, electrification across multiple modes, strengthening demand side management, traffic management and intelligent transport systems.
3) Adaptation in urban design, energy and material-efficiency in buildings, and sustainable urbanisation. When it comes to developing urban areas, exploring and encouraging adaptation measures in urban designs is critical. This will be a major focus alongside measures to promote sustainable urban design in the context of expanding cities. India is mainstreaming adaptation measures in the built environment and urban systems. It is promoting resource efficiency within urban planning guidelines, promoting climate responsive and resilient building design in existing and future buildings and in urban systems and promoting low-carbon municipal service delivery through resource efficiency, management of water, solid, and liquid waste.
4) Economy-wide decoupling of growth from emissions Industrial growth is a major objective with policies directed at increasing the share of manufacturing in the GDP. The Modi government is making efforts to recognise the informal sector and the development of the micro, small and medium enterprises. Low-carbon options are being explored.
5) CO2 removal and other engineering solutions CO2 removal is a new sector being explored. The move requires substantial international support through innovation, technology transfer, climate-specific finance and capacity building. India is training, capacity building and planning to minimise socio-economic, livelihood and ecosystem impacts of the move. We are exploring public-private partnership frameworks in view of the intensive resource requirements.
6) Enhancing forest cover consistent with socio-economic and ecological considerations India’s national commitment to enhance natural resources, preserve resource heritage and promote biodiversity is driving the strategy in this sector.It will be an inclusive approach taking note of the livelihood, social and cultural dependence of the population. The approach involves restoration, conservation, and management of forests; restoration, conservation, and management of trees outside forests; strengthening infrastructure of state forest departments.
7) Economic and financial aspects of low-carbon development Given the priorities of poverty eradication, increasing employment and increasing resilience to climate change, low-cost international climate finance is essential to achieve low-carbon development. India is assessing financial requirements, mobilising, and delivering climate specific finance, especially multilateral climate finance, mainstreaming of climate finance, linkages to international trade and new multilateral mechanisms to support innovation, and technology development.
Modi has ensured that India has taken on more than its due share of responsibility towards saving the planet. India has been pro-active in its commitment to international cooperation and in fulfilling the requirements of global climate that we have agreed to under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, its Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement. India’s LTLEDS makes it clear that India under PM Modi stands by its commitment to equity and climate justice.
The writer is Union minister for environment, forest & climate change