India’s efforts for combating Climate Change

  • Commitments under Paris Climate Deal
    • Cut greenhouse gas emissions intensity of its gross domestic product 33% to 35% by 2030,Increase non-fossil fuel power capacity to 40% from 28% in 2015 Substantially boost forest cover to reduce Carbon Dioxide.
    • As per the BUR, the emission intensity of India’s GDP has reduced by 21 per cent over the period of 2005-2014 which is the result of India’s proactive and sustained actions on climate change.
  • National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC): It identifies several measures that simultaneously advance the country’s development and climate change related objectives of adaptation and mitigation through focused National Missions.
    • National Solar Mission: Aims to increase the share of solar energy in the total energy mix. Under the total target of 100 GW, 32.5 GW of solar electric generation capacity has been installed.
    • National Water Mission: It focuses on monitoring of ground water, aquifer mapping, capacity building, water quality monitoring and other baseline studies. It seeks to increase water use efficiency by 20%.
    • National Mission for a Green India: It seeks to increase tree and forest cover by 5 mha. It also seeks to increase the quality of existing forests by additional 5 mha.
    • National Mission on Sustainable Habitat: It is being implemented through three programs: Atal Mission on Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation, Swachh Bharat Mission, and Smart Cities Mission. Energy Conservation Building Rules 2018 for commercial buildings has been made mandatory.
    • National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture: It aims at enhancing food security and protection of resources.
    • National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem: It aims to evolve suitable management and policy measures for sustaining and safeguarding the Himalayan Ecosystem.
    • National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change: It seeks to build a knowledge system that would inform and support national action for ecologically sustainable development. Key achievements include setting up of 11 Centers of Excellence and 10 State Climate Change Centers.
    • National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE): Under it, The Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) scheme was designed on the concept of reduction in Specific Energy Consumption.
  • Climate Change Action Program (CCAP): Central sector scheme to build and support capacity at central and state levels, strengthening scientific and analytical capacity for climate change assessment, establishing appropriate institutional framework and implementing climate actions.
  • Energy Efficiency Measures: Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) 2017 prescribes energy performance standards for new commercial buildings to be constructed across India to achieve a 50 per cent reduction in energy use by 2030 translating to energy savings of about 300 billion Units by 2030 and peak demand reduction of over 15 GW in a year. Schemes like UJALA for LED bulb distribution has crossed 360 million whereas under streetlight national program, 10 million conventional streetlights have been replaced by LED street lights thus cumulatively saving 43 million tons of CO2 emission.
  • Promotion of Electric Vehicles: National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020, Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India) scheme was formulated in 2015 to promote manufacturing and sustainable growth of electric and hybrid vehicle technology
  • Promotion of Biofuels: The National Bio-fuels Policy 2018 targets 20 per cent blending of ethanol in petrol and 5 per cent blending of biodiesel in diesel by 2030.
  • Separate Fund for Climate Change: National Adaptation Fund on Climate Change (2015) supports concrete adaptation activities for the States/UTs that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change and are not covered under on-going schemes. The Scheme has been taken as Central Sector Scheme with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) as the National Implementing Entity.
  • Green Bonds: Green bonds are debt securities issued by financial, non-financial or public entities where the proceeds are used to finance 100 per cent green projects and assets. India has the second largest Emerging green bond market after China. Several Government agencies have contributed to issuance: Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) and the Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC). In 2018, the SBI entered the market with an US$ 650 million Certified Climate Bond.
  • International Platform on Sustainable Finance (IPSF): IPSF acknowledges the global nature of financial markets which has the potential to help finance the transition to a green, low carbon and climate resilient economy by linking financing needs to the global sources of funding. India joined the International Platform on Sustainable Finance (IPSF) in 2019.
  • International Solar Alliances (ISA): Lead by India, the primary objective of the alliance is to work for efficient consumption of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
  • FAME Scheme – for E-mobility: To promote adoption of electric/ hybrid vehicles (xEVs) in India.
  • Atal Mission for Rejuvenation & Urban Transformation (AMRUT) – for Smart Cities
  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana – for access to clean cooking fuel
  • UJALA scheme – for embracing energy efficient LED bulbs.
  • Swachh Bharat Mission

Five nectar elements (Panchamrit) of India’s climate action

  • The Government of India has articulated and put across the concerns of developing countries at the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Glasgow, United Kingdom.

Further, India presented the following five nectar elements (Panchamrit) of India’s climate action:

  1. Reach 500GWNon-fossil energy capacity by 2030.
  2. 50 per cent of its energy requirements from renewable energy by 2030.
  3. Reduction of total projected carbon emissions by one billion tons from now to 2030.
  4. Reduction of the carbon intensity of the economy by 45 per cent by 2030, over 2005 levels.
  5. Achieving the target of net zero emissions by 2070.
  • The transfer of climate finance and low-cost climate technologies have become more important for implementation of climate actions by the developing countries. The ambitions on climate finance by developed countries cannot remain the same as they were at the time of Paris Agreement in 2015. It was emphasized that just as the UNFCCC tracks the progress made in climate mitigation; it should also track climate finance.
  • Further, it was conveyed to the developed countries that India understands the suffering of all other developing countries, shares them, and hence raises the voice of developing countries.
  • The mantra of LIFE- Lifestyle for Environment to combat climate change was also shared in COP 26. It was stated that Lifestyle for Environment must be taken forward as a campaign to make it a mass movement of Environment Conscious Lifestyles. The message conveyed by India was that the world needs mindful and deliberate utilization, instead of mindless and destructive consumption.

One Sun One World One Grid(OSOWOG)

OSOWOG is India’s initiative to build a global ecosystem of interconnected renewable energy resources. The blueprint for the OSOWOG will be developed under the World Bank’s technical assistance program. OSOWOG will be implemented to accelerate the deployment of grid connected rooftop solar installations.

OSOWOG is planned to be completed in three phases: 

  • Phase I: Will entail interconnectivity within the Asian continent
  • Phase II: Will add Africa to the grid.
  • Phase III: Internationalise the project.

Benefits of the program

  • Global project which aims to power the world with clean energy.
  • Tackle access to energy for underserved people and communities. For ex. It will help people access to clean drinking water, access to clean cooking fuel and bring lighting to millions of homes.
  • Exponential leap towards clean energy transition.
  • It envisions transfer of surplus renewable electricity at near-zero cost. Thus, enable access to affordable solar energy.
  • Will help countries like Singapore and Bangladesh which have very high population density to have access to renewable energy.
  • Address the issue of intermittency of solar power. OSOWOG will employ battery storage to make round the clock solar energy dispatches at greatly cheaper rates.

Issues with the project

  • Geopolitics: The project is seen as an Indian endeavour for world leadership. The mechanism of cost-sharing will be challenging, given the varied priorities of participating countries depending on their socio-economic orders.
  • Globalisation vs de-globalisation:  The coronavirus pandemic has raised questions on the concept of globalisation. Dealing with different governments and market forces will be a dreadful experience for the developers that can be easily extrapolated from the experience of the renewable energy (RE) developers in India.
  • High transmission cost and large capital demand for the project: Before thinking of a unified grid, let’s think about point to point. The value of time-shifting could come from a place with large, cheap land, such as an enormous solar farm in North Africa for Europe. But the transmission costs will usually outweigh the benefits of land and solar radiation. Supply of energy through this grid, in a time zone with a six-hour difference will require thousands of kilometres of transmission of the electricity, which will add up a huge cost. A single 1,100 kilovolt high voltage direct current can’t even go so far, and costs will be further compounded with high costs of capital. This is before we consider grid management and geopolitical issues for a truly integrated grid,” he adds.
  • Centralised vs distributed generation: There is a difference in voltage, frequency and specifications of the grid in most regions. Maintaining grid stability with just renewable generation would be technically difficult. OSOWOG does not consider the overlaps
  •  with the solar generation across regions where transmission lines are passing through, which would mean that the actual transmission capacity would need to be much higher and thus have lower utilisation or there would be significant solar curtailment. Aggregate technical and commercial losses in India are close to 20 per cent. Therefore, the distributed generation can be cheaper and directly serve the people in the hinterlands.
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