SUBJECT : Climate
As the world waits word from India on how high a target it will set itself for cutting carbon emissions, New Delhi has said its contribution would be "much more ambitious than what people expect" but rich nations must be ready to share the cost burden.

"We will do our bit with utmost sincerity. However, let's not forget that every climate action has a cost. Who will pay the cost is an issue", said environment minister Prakash Javadekar while articulating New Delhi's position ahead of submitting its post-2020 'climate action plan' to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Citing India's ongoing action to move on low carbon growth path, he said, "We will go ahead with our sustainable practices and we will lead the Paris negotiation with our own contribution, which will be much more ambitious than what the people expect". He was addressing the 17th World Congress on Environment Management here on Saturday.

Though the minister preferred not to disclose India's 'climate action plan' (called Intended Nationally Determined Contribution in climate change negotiation parlance) in absolute terms on emission cut front, he dropped enough hints on the contour of its INDC and indicated how the country would approach the issue.

It is expected that India will take the 'energy efficiency' route where it would pledge to reduce mission intensity (carbon emission per unit of GDP) substantially by 2030. At present, it has been on course to cut the emission intensity by 20-25% from 2005 levels by 2020. It is learnt that the country would try to cut the emission intensity by minimum 40% by 2030.

Similarly in the case of clean energy, India's INDC may talk about doubling the present target (1,75,000 MW of renewable energy with an investment of more than $150 billion by 2022) by 2030.

Although India will not announce its 'peaking' year like China that had submitted its INDC on June 30, it is likely to push its renewable energy goal further with a promise to raise share of clean energy in overall energy mix by 2030 like what China or other developed\developing countries promised.

Efforts to increase forest cover will figure prominently in the country's INDC. Without disclosing the post-2020 plan and target, the minister said the country would spend $16-19 billion for increasing the forest cover in the next five years.

However, India's goal will not be unconditional. The country expects the rich nations to move on 'climate finance' path in terms of contributing to the 'Green Climate Fund' and also share technology with poor nations.

Javadekar, in fact, was unambiguous on this count. He said, "If both finance and technology are provided, I think many countries can take more aggressive actions".

He also sought to drive home the point that India may be emitting more carbon as compared to many nations but it is still far behind the top polluting countries like the US and China and it, in fact, consumes less and its per capita emission is quite low as compared to other big polluters.

India is currently the fourth largest polluter after China, US and European Union (EU), but it ranks 120 in terms of per capita emission.

So far, 47 countries (emitting nearly 56% of the world's total emission) have submitted their INDCs. Once all countries submit their plans, it will be calculated whether these actions are enough to keep global temperature rise under 2 degrees celsius this century from pre-industrialization levels. These INDCs will be the basis of key negotiations at the climate conference in Paris in December.

Source: 12 July, 2015, The Economic Times