Union Cabinet approves country’s NDC, converts PM’s ‘Panchamrit’ into climate goals

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved India’s Nationally Determined Contributions or Updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for reporting to the United Nations Climate Change Framework Convention (UNFCCC).

The updated NDC seeks to enhance India’s contribution towards strengthening global action to combat the threat of climate change as mutually agreed under the Paris Agreement. Such efforts will also help India move forward on the path of reducing emissions growth. It will protect the interests of the country and safeguard future development needs based on the principles and provisions of the UNFCCC.

At the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (CoP26) of the United Nations Climate Change Framework Convention (UNFCCC) held in Glasgow, United Kingdom, India presented five Amrittattva (Panchamrut) to the world and urged for intensifying climate action. This updated version of India’s existing NDC converts the ‘Panchamrit’ announced in COP 26 into advanced climate targets. This refreshed form will also prove to be an important step towards achieving India’s long-term goal of Net-Zero by 2070.

Earlier, India had submitted its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the UNFCCC on October 2, 2015. The 2015 NDC included eight targets; Three of these are numerical targets for 2030, such as increasing the cumulative installed capacity of electricity generation from non-fossil sources to 40 percent; Reducing the emission intensity of GDP by 33 to 35 percent compared to 2005 levels and creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide through additional forest and tree cover.

According to the latest NDC, India is now set to reduce the emission intensity of its GDP by 45 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve about 50 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030. Committed to. Today’s acceptance also takes forward the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of sustainable lifestyles and climate justice to protect the poor and vulnerable from the adverse effects of climate change.

The Government of India believes that “the latest NDC has been prepared after careful consideration of our national circumstances and the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Related Capabilities (CBDR-RC). India’s updated NDC reaffirms our commitment to working towards achieving low carbon emissions while striving to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Underlining the fact that lifestyle has a major role to play in climate change, the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India proposed a ‘one word movement’ to the global community in COP26. That one word is Life…L, I, F, E means Lifestyle for Environment. The approach to life is to adopt a lifestyle that is in harmony with our planet and does not harm it. India’s updated NDC also reflects this citizen-centred approach to tackling climate change.

The updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) also represents a roadmap for India’s transition to clean energy for the period 2021-2030. The state-of-the-art infrastructure, along with several other government initiatives, including tax concessions and incentives, such as the Generation Linked Incentive Scheme for the adoption of renewable energy, will provide an opportunity to enhance India’s manufacturing capabilities and exports.

This will lead to an overall increase in green jobs like renewable energy, in the clean energy industry- automotive, manufacturing of low-emission products like electric vehicles and super-efficient appliances, and innovative technologies like green hydrogen, etc. The updated NDCs of India will be implemented in the period 2021-2030 through programs and schemes of the concerned Ministries/Departments and with due support of the States and Union Territories.

The government has launched several schemes and programs to enhance India’s actions on both adaptation and mitigation. Appropriate measures are being taken under these schemes and programs in several sectors including water, agriculture, forestry, energy and enterprise, sustainable mobility and housing, waste management, circular economy and resource efficiency etc.

As a result of the above measures, India is progressively separating economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions. The net zero target by 2030 by Indian Railways alone will reduce emissions by 60 million tonnes annually. Similarly, India’s massive LED bulb campaign is reducing emissions by 40 million tonnes annually.

India’s climate action so far has been largely financed from domestic resources. However, providing new and additional financial resources as well as transfer of technology to address the global climate change challenge is one of the commitments and responsibilities of developed countries under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement.

The NDC of India does not bind it to any area specific mitigation obligations or actions. India aims to reduce overall emissions intensity and improve the energy efficiency of its economy over time while simultaneously protecting vulnerable sectors of the economy and segments of our society.

Commenting on the development, RR Rashmi, Distinguished Fellow, TERI, says, “India’s decision to update its NDCs is in line with PM’s Glasgow announcements. It exudes ambition and yet puts sustainable development at the center of the debate.

It emphasizes the value of a sustainable way of life as an effective and just solution to the problem of climate change. It has also cleared an enduring doubt by making it clear that 50% of energy is to be counted as non-fossil fuel based electricity generation by 2030.

Further, Aarti Khosla, Director Climate Trends says, “Only a part of what was announced in Glasgow now vests in India’s NDCs. The goal of having 50 percent installed capacity of non-fossil fuel-based targets by 2030, compared to today’s 40 percent non-fossil fuel-based targets, shows that the direction of travel is good but the pace could have been faster.

The NDC also does not include a target of 500GW of non-fossil-based (and 450GW renewable-based energy), which is also often discussed as the country’s real ambition on climate goals. Now one can only hope that there is more ambition involved in presenting a long-term strategy.”

In continuation, Balasubramaniam Viswanathan, Policy Advisor, International Institute for Sustainable Development, says, “It is great to see India officially reaffirming its climate commitments through its updated NDC. Together with the upcoming COP and the G20 summit in India next year, these actions could strengthen India’s negotiating power, particularly around climate finance from the global north.”

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