Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Modi 3.0 could establish Indian leadership in climate resilience

As India looks set for a third Lok Sabha term under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the nation is poised to solidify its status as a global climate leader. India’s rising role in global environmental stewardship will be driven by the PM’s visionary ‘Panchamrit’ strategy. This initiative, combined with India’s impressive climate action, can set a benchmark for the world in sustainable development and innovative solutions.

The Panchamrit vision: This is central to Modi 3.0’s climate strategy and outlines five key elements that will drive India’s climate policies and set global standards. The vision includes reaching 500GW of non-fossil energy capacity, sourcing 50% of India’s energy requirements from renewable sources and reducing projected carbon emissions by 1 billion tonnes and decreasing the carbon intensity of the economy by 45% over the 2005 level, all by 2030, apart from achieving net-zero emissions by 2070. These targets underscore India’s commitment to climate action.

Major determinants and actions: India faces unique challenges and opportunities, as environmental sustainability must be balanced with economic development. The country’s climate actions are science-driven and evidence-based. New Delhi has initiated several international forums for climate action, including the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), both of which show how India has rallied other countries for the cause. 

The country is also advocating a global alliance on biofuels among G20 nations to accelerate the world’s energy transition. This initiative mirrors the ISA, which aims to make clean and affordable solar energy accessible to all. The Global Biofuels Alliance (GBA), launched during the 2023 G20 summit, has obtained support from 19 countries and 12 international organizations already.

The GBA is expected to enhance global biofuel trade and promote best practices, driving its development and deployment while positioning it as a crucial element in the energy transition, one that can contribute to job creation and economic growth as well. It can turn farmers from food producers into energy providers, potentially providing them with an additional source of income and significantly reducing our dependence on diesel and petrol.

Prime Minister Modi has underscored the broader vision of using a ‘green GDP’ to measure economic progress. He has also emphasized the global need to embrace renewable energy (RE) sources like solar, wind, and green hydrogen to tackle climate change. The concept of green GDP, which reflects the environmental impact of economic activities, can help countries align their economic development with sustainability goals.

Renewable energy accomplishments: India’s RE sector has seen remarkable growth. The country’s solar capacity has increased over 26 times in the last decade and its wind energy capacity has doubled. With the fourth-largest installed wind capacity and the fifth-largest solar capacity globally, India achieved its target of 40% installed power-generation capacity from non-fossil fuels many years ahead of schedule. This highlights India’s commitment to RE and its ability to meet and exceed expectations.

The way forward: Despite these achievements, India faces significant challenges in its climate mitigation efforts. The country’s heavy reliance on coal, which accounts for most of our energy needs, poses a substantial hurdle. Substantial new investments in RE, infrastructure and sustainable land-use practices are required to meet India’s ambitious climate goals. However, with innovative initiatives like the Green Credit Programme and the GBA, India is well positioned to overcome these challenges and lead by example.

To decarbonize India’s economy, the Indian government plans to set up an Indian Carbon Market (ICM) by establishing a national structure. The draft framework for the Indian Carbon Credit Scheme, notified by the Union government last year, aims to lower the emission intensity of India’s GDP by 45% by 2030. Aligned with India’s goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2070, the ICM will be instrumental in decarbonizing commercial and industrial segments of the economy.

As India strives to strike a delicate balance between its economic needs and environmental concerns, a vibrant carbon trading mechanism will be crucial to creating a sustainable future. Again, this initiative not only reaffirms India’s commitment to combating climate change, but also sets a precedent for other nations to follow.

Conclusion: Modi 3.0 marks a major moment in India’s journey towards global climate leadership. The PM’s Panchamrit vision, combined with a robust policy framework and impressive RE achievements, sets a new standard for sustainable development.

As India navigates the complexities of climate action, its commitment to inclusive growth, poverty eradication and environmental sustainability remains unwavering. By fostering innovation, encouraging international cooperation and leveraging its rich cultural heritage, India is not only securing a sustainable future for itself, but for the world.

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