Towards Sustainable Climate Goals & Actions: India’s Updated NDCs

Amidst the changing narrative towards climate action and the commitments of several developing and developed economies to achieve net zero, country specific and time bound goals for mitigation of climate change by the adoption of cleaner mechanisms is pivotal. In this respect, a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) is a strategy for reducing emissions and preparing for the effects of climate change. Countries establish goals in their NDCs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change and to prepare for its effects. It further outlines the methods for achieving the goals and sophisticated mechanisms for tracking and validating progress to keep everything on track. NDCs should ideally include a financing strategy because climate finance is essential to putting the said plans into action. NDCs communicated by Parties shall be listed in a public registry kept by the secretariat in accordance with Article 4, paragraph 12 of the Paris Agreement. This is referred to as Nationally Determined Contributions Registry.

The agreement further mandates the countries to revise their NDCs every five years in accordance with their respective socio-economic dimensions. However, the Glasgow Climate Pact in November 2021 mandated all countries to reconsider and enhance their national climate action targets in 2022 due to the significant gap between the emissions reductions necessary to keep global warming to 1.5°C and the emissions reductions already anticipated.

Under this context, the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved India’s updated NDC to be communicated to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

India had previously increased its commitment to climate action at COP26 in Glasgow, UK, in November 2021 by introducing the five nectar ingredients to the world (Panchamrit). This revision to India's current NDC takes into account national realities, the idea of shared but distinct responsibilities, and the various capabilities to achieve the "Panchamrit" pledged at COP26. The restructured NDC aims to increase India's contributions to the Paris Agreement's goal of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change. Such a move will also assist India in establishing growth routes with minimal emissions. Based on the UNFCCC's guiding principles and provisions, it would defend the nation's interests and future development needs. India has pledged to cut the emissions intensity of its GDP by 45% by 2030 and to reach 50% cumulative installed non-fossil power capacity. The Honourable Prime Minister's vision of sustainable lifestyles and climate justice to safeguard the weak and vulnerable from the negative effects of climate change is also advanced.

India's commitment to decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation is seen in the country's decision to adopt strengthened NDCs. These don’t obligate any sector-specific mitigation measures. The country aims at gradually lowering its total emission intensity and to boost its economy's energy efficiency while also safeguarding the weaker sections of the economy and society.

The modified NDC serves as the roadmap for India's switch to greener energy from 2021 to 2030. The revamped framework will present a chance to improve India's manufacturing capacity and increase exports, along with many other government measures, such as tax breaks and incentives like the Production Linked Incentive scheme for promoting manufacturing and adoption of renewable energy. Overall, it will boost the number of green jobs in fields like

renewable energy, clean energy industries, the automotive industry, the production of low-emission goods like electric vehicles and extremely energy-efficient appliances, and cutting-edge science like green hydrogen, among others.

India’s new National Development Plan (NDP) will be executed over the years 2021–2030 via programmes and schemes of pertinent Ministries/Departments and with the necessary assistance from States and Union Territories. To increase India's efforts in both adaptation and mitigation, the government has developed several projects and programmes. Under these plans and programmes, appropriate actions are being taken in a variety of areas, including water, agriculture, forestry, energy, business, sustainable mobility and housing, waste management, circular economy, and resource efficiency, among others. The aforementioned actions have allowed India to gradually separate economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions. Indian Railways alone will reduce emissions by 60 MT yearly by achieving its Net Zero goal by 2030. Similar to this, India is decreasing emissions by 40 MT a year thanks to a massive push for LED bulbs.

India is pushing the LiFE — lifestyle for environment — Mission to the global forefront, drawing on the country's heritage of knowing how to live in peace with nature. These concentrated efforts will make a significant contribution to India's climate action goals. To achieve net-zero goals by 2070, India needs meaningful short-term goals till 2030 that would further help the country achieve its long-term goal.

 

This blog has been co-authored by Ishita Sirsikar and Srijata Deb