While dangerous air pollution levels spike across Northern India, world leaders are meeting in Bonn to move forward with the Paris Climate Agreement. India is vital in moving forward with the Paris Agreement to both combat global warming and shift to clean energy to protect communities in India from harmful pollution. Just one year after the Paris Agreement officially entered into force, India has made remarkable progress, as highlighted in our video and factsheet.
India is an emerging economic powerhouse and global leader. With annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6 to 7 percent expected through at least 2030, India is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, and is now the world’s third-largest energy consumer and greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter, even though per capita and historical emissions are low. The Government of India is working to fight climate change while sustaining rapid development and providing energy for cities and villages, including more than 200 million people without access to modern electricity.
Under the Paris Agreement, India has committed to cutting its GHG emissions intensity by 33 to 35 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, and to achieving 40 percent of its electricity generation from non-fossil sources by the same year. India’s economic plan gives priority to clean energy to fuel economic growth, and includes ambitious targets of 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar power and 60 GW of wind power by 2022. India was instrumental in forging an agreement to cut heat-trapping pollutants known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the 2016 Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
To build a low-carbon future and curb climate change, the Indian government has committed to deploying expansive solar and wind energy capacity and adopting an array of ambitious climate actions. India is on track to meet, or even surpass, its Paris climate targets. Earlier this year, in a major shift, India cancelled 13.7 GW of planned coal plants, reduced coal imports by 21.7 percent, and announced that no new plants would be built until at least 2026. Meanwhile, solar and wind energy prices are reaching record-low prices and competing with fossil fuel prices.
During COP23 this week, India announced the “National Power Portal”. The Portal disseminates information on India's power sector and captures power generation, transmission and distribution information across India. The numbers on the portal say it all. Currently, 34 percent of India’s installed power capacity already comes from fossil-free sources, putting India well on its way to achieving its Paris Climate Agreement target of 40 percent by 2030.
With our strategic partners across India—the Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI), the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) - Indian Institute of Public Health - Gandhinagar (IIPH-G), the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)—NRDC is releasing a progress report on “India's Progress Toward Its Climate Pledge”.
Along with India, more than 160 countries have formally joined the Paris agreement, and are moving forward to implement policies that address climate change, as my colleague Han Chen discusses here. Some of the world’s largest emitters are taking bold action. While President Trump moves in the wrong direction, key nations—such as India—in addition to many states and cities in the United States, are taking the lead on climate action.
Laasya Bhagavatula contributed to this blog.