Sachin Sengar, Founder and CEO of LowSoot, an environmental startup, provides a take on the roadmap that can help India achieve its net zero ambition on time.
India has vowed to attain net-zero carbon emissions by 2070, making it the world’s third-largest producer of greenhouse gases. This has the ability to help the planet stay below 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, many experts believe India’s route to carbon zero is still dubious. By 2030, renewable energy would account for half of the country’s power generation capacity. This decade, India will cut its carbon emissions by one billion tonnes. However, the country must now put out a clear road map for achieving net zero emissions and implement monitoring measures to guarantee that emissions continue to decline.
Some initiatives to reduce Carbon Emissions
To achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2070, India needs appropriate funding and transfer of technology by the more resourceful developed nations. India has wasted two and a half decades highlighting this at various COPs but not much has changed. India is already making serious efforts towards climate change adaptation and mitigation. By the year 2030, India has already committed to exceed non-fossil fuel energy capacity target which includes meeting 50% of the energy requirement through renewable energy, reducing the carbon emissions by one billion tonnes, reducing carbon intensity in the economy by 45%, making Indian Railway, the world’s largest railway carrier achieve net zero carbon emissions, saving 40 billion tonnes of emissions through LEDs etc. India has committed to increase non-fossil fuel energy capacity to 500 GW, meet 50 percent of its energy requirements from renewable energy, reduce carbon emissions by one billion tons, and bring down the economy’s carbon intensity below 45 percent, all by 2030. Although India accounts for 17 percent of the world’s population it is responsible for just 5 percent of its emissions.
Contribution of different countries to achieve this goal
In total, India is the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs). The IPCC’s sixth Assessment Report issued a harsh warning that human-caused climate change may have already resulted in an irreversible temperature change. The temperature rise would exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius if the world does not achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, according to the report. Despite its minor historical contributions, densely populated South Asia is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change. It is also one of the poorest places in the world, thus it lacks the resources to adapt to climate change’s effects. In this perspective, India’s position as the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, as well as its leadership in reducing their impact, is crucial.
Rich countries promised to give $100 billion per year starting in 2020 to aid underdeveloped countries in combating climate change. The developed countries does not appear to be on track to meet that commitment until at least 2023. A total of $1 trillion in climate funding was required by India alone. A “clear route for a new collective, quantifiable, and ambitious aim on climate financing” must be agreed upon by all governments. We must track climate financing progress in the same way that we measure climate mitigation efforts. Countries that fail to fulfil their climate funding commitments.
India cannot just rely on industrialised countries to meet the objectives since they have simply made promises in terms of technology transfer and climate funding so far without contributing anything. Like usual, the private sector will have to step in and make a big contribution. We’ll have to rethink how energy-intensive industries can minimise pollution. The only way ahead is to have clean transportation, not just private but also public. We must maintain our focus on improving energy efficiency and build on the already excellent work we have done in this area.
Government Actions and the Importance of Net Zero
The Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change has to devote a lot more attention to climate change and develop policies and programmes to help India achieve its net-zero goal by 2070. It necessitates amending our existing laws and strengthening their execution. Regulators must be financially and technically empowered to take the necessary steps and work proactively toward reducing emissions, conserving and expanding our forest cover to one-third of our total area, protecting biological diversity, cleaning our air and water bodies, and more efficiently managing our waste.
Why is Net Zero so important?
We won’t be able to turn off the tap on climate change if we cease using fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide, the primary cause of climate change, will remain in the atmosphere for many years, heating the earth. So, while lowering greenhouse gas emissions is critical, we cannot stop there. The ultimate objective is to restore the global climate to pre-climate change levels by rebalancing the scales. To get there, we need to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero and then start to work repairing the damage that has already been done by reducing historical emissions.
What steps may India take to achieve this?
The optimum short-term aim for India’s Net Zero Approach would be a scheduled phase-out of coal-based power companies. Another option is to expand the country’s green cover. Over 100 world leaders have committed to halting and reversing deforestation by 2030. Carbon capture and storage, which uses modern technology to keep CO2 from reaching the environment, is a more complicated approach to remove carbon dioxide from the air. While it remains to be seen if India can reach these goals, it was a watershed moment for the country because it was the first time she had committed to a goal.
This also implies that changing our pollution-control policy may be a topic for another day, but we must guarantee that our race to achieve net-zero also assures fairness and quality of life for a significant portion of our population who has been denied of it for far too long. India’s 2070 goal is “very much attainable” when combined with the other 2030 goals, such as:
- India’s renewable energy capacity will be increased to 500 gigawatts by 2030
- Renewable energy will meet around half of India’s energy needs
- Total projected carbon emissions will be reduced by a billion tonnes between now and 2030
- India’s carbon intensity will be reduced by less than 45 percent.
India must offer regulatory stability to industry so that it may invest in decarbonisation technology, and it must also motivate India’s states and towns to build their own net-zero growth routes. India will also be a significantly richer country by 2070, with a substantially greater per capita income, creating the budgetary flexibility required for the transformation. India has obstacles like as ensuring that coal employees are not left behind, that energy prices do not rise in the near future, and that state governments are on board. Reforms to the power distribution system are also “very important” to facilitate the changeover.