India is emerging both as an economic powerhouse and a global environmental leader. As India's economy charges ahead, the country needs to produce more energy to provide a better life for its people, many of whom live in rural areas and are very poor. At the same time, India has recognized that tackling climate change is in its own national interests. The nation is taking concrete measures to constrain its own emissions and to protect its people from climatic disruptions.

NRDC's India Initiative on Climate Change and Clean Energy, launched in 2009, works with partners in India to help build a low-carbon, sustainable economy.

Our work in India involves four interrelated projects, which build on decades of NRDC's experience confronting environmental challenges in the United States and around the world.

NRDC Photos from India on Flickr

Enhancing U.S.-India Cooperation on Climate Change

India is already a major greenhouse gas emitter and key player in the international climate arena. Cooperation between India and the United States on climate change and clean energy is improving significantly. This growing relationship holds tremendous promise for the economies of both countries and could serve as a model for enhanced global efforts to respond to the climate crisis.

  • NRDC is working with key policymakers in both nations to substantially increase bilateral cooperation on climate change and clean energy.
  • In the United States, we are providing information and analysis to government officials, media, and the public about the efforts India is making to address climate change. In India, we do the same for U.S. climate change legislation, policies and programs. Our efforts are increasing awareness and understanding in both nations about the other's climate change actions.

Increasing Building Efficiency

Buildings already account for more than 30 percent of India's electricity use, and two-thirds of the buildings that will exist in India by 2030 have yet to be built. NRDC is partnering with Indian groups to share our efficiency expertise on buildings and appliances, with the goal of creating efficiency solutions for the Indian context.

  • In Hyderabad, a major high-tech center, we are working on the ground with city officials, technical experts, real estate groups, universities and banks to increase building efficiency by implementing India's Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC).
  • We are also engaging with energy experts to increase efficiency in India's booming consumer appliance market by improving standards, testing, and harmonization -- making sure companies sell their most efficient products in all countries -- for appliances such as televisions, air conditioners and lighting.

Preparing for Public Health Impacts of Climate Change

Heat waves, floods, and infectious disease outbreaks are just some of the public health threats in India that could by exacerbated by climate change. Communities need the ability to assess their own climate-related public health risks and put effective adaptation measures into place.

  • NRDC is working on the ground with a premier Indian health organization to develop a climate-health preparedness plan in a major Indian city, focused on preventing heat-related deaths and illnesses.
  • We are working to assess the vulnerabilities of local communities to extreme heat events and to develop municipal strategies for preparing and responding to climate emergencies.

Strengthening Environmental Governance

India is working to bolster its institutional capacity to implement and enforce existing environmental laws – through efforts that include the new National Green Tribunal and proposals to improve environmental compliance. Compliance with environmental laws is critical to constraining emissions.

  • NRDC is working with India's environmental groups and government officials to assist in these critical efforts by sharing best practices to improve compliance, based on NRDC's experience in the United States and elsewhere.
  • We are engaging with civil society groups and community organizations to better understand the effects of India's rapid development on the environment and share comparative strategies for reducing air and water pollution and protecting public health.

More about India from:

Fact Sheets
Reports and Issue Papers


Lots of Energy in the US-India Partnership
posted by Avinash Kar, 9/30/14
Earlier today, my colleagues and I were at the 5th Annual US-India Energy Partnership Summit ...
Keeping India Cool: Tomorrow's Refrigerants Today
posted by Avinash Kar, 9/29/14
Guest Blog by Bhaskar Deol, NRDC India Representative based in New Delhi Last week a number of the ...
New Report: Scaling India's Clean Energy Market Through Jobs and Financing
posted by Anjali Jaiswal, 9/29/14
On the heels of the much anticipated first meeting between US president Obama and Indian Prime Minister ...
Will U.S.-India Summit Bring Historic Climate Action?
posted by Anjali Jaiswal, 9/27/14
On Monday, President Barack Obama meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in what could be one ...
Accelerating Climate Action Now: 5 Key Priorities for the Obama-Modi Meeting
posted by Anjali Jaiswal, 9/25/14
During the Climate Summit this week in New York, U.S. President Barack Obama emphasized, “The ...

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