02/10/2015 10:00 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

India Vows 33-35 % Cut In Carbon Intensity By 2030

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Vapor escapes from cooling towers at the lignite coal-fired power plant operated by Vattenfall AB, in Janschwalde, Germany, on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. Germany seeks to meet a national climate target of a reduction in carbon emissions of 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

WASHINGTON — India has pledged to cut the intensity of its carbon emissions by 33-35 per cent and boost the renewable energy capacity to 40 per cent by 2030 in the target submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention (UNFCCC) on Climate Change for a global climate pact.

In its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) submitted to the UNFCCC late yesterday, India announced that it aims at achieving around 40 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.

In the 38-page document, India said it "intends to reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 per cent by 2030 from 2005 level. This commitment is further echoed in India's actions in climate change adaptation with setting up its own National Adaptation Fund."

India said its INDC is fair and ambitious considering that it is attempting to work towards low carbon emission pathway while endeavouring to meet all the developmental challenges.

It said its long-term plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions builds on its Copenhagen pledge of a 20-25 per cent intensity reduction by 2020.

Asserting that its development plans will continue to lay a balanced emphasis on economic development and environment, India said the current policy framework also includes a favourable environment for a rapid increase in renewable energy, moving towards low carbon sustainable development pathway and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

India said its submission represented highest possible efforts as evident from multiple initiatives undertaken by the government and added that it reserves the right to make additional submissions on INDC as and when required.

The country would need, as per preliminary estimates, around USD 206 billion between 2015 and 2030 for implementing adaptation actions in agriculture, forestry, fisheries infrastructure, water resources and ecosystems.

Noting that mitigation requirements are even more enormous for the country, India referred to an estimate given by NITI Aayog saying that the mitigation activities for moderate low carbon development would cost around USD 834 billion till 2030.

All nations were due to come out with emission targets ahead of a climate change conference in Paris in December, where they are supposed to adopt a landmark deal to fight climate change.

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar is scheduled to announce the action plan today, coinciding with the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Environmental groups welcomed India's pledge. US-based major think-tank Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) described it as a strong commitment to climate change.

"India's strong climate plan offers a comprehensive approach to curb the worst impacts of climate change. Its commitment to renewable energy will pave the way to sustainable economic growth that creates jobs, protects natural resources, and provides cleaner air and water for Indian citizens," said NRDC president Rhea Suh said.

"India now has positioned itself as a global leader in clean energy, and is poised to play an active and influential role in the international climate negotiations this December," Suh said.

Anjali Jaiswal, Director of the India Initiative for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said India's ambitious climate target makes clean energy the centrepiece for major economic growth.

"Government leaders are taking strong action to align domestic policy with broader climate targets, as seen through the recent dramatic increase in India's solar energy goals to reach a solar capacity of 100 GW by 2022.

"Robust financing is also critical to acquire clean technologies and accelerate solar, wind and energy efficiency markets to curb India's greenhouse gas emissions and fight global warming," she said.

Jaiswal said the Indian government is also extending efforts beyond mitigation to climate adaptation and resilience. "These significant actions will protect communities from the gravest dangers of climate change," she said.

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