India released its Long-term Low Emissions and Development Strategy (LT-LEDS) at the UN climate conference (COP27) at Sharm El-Sheikh on November 14, 2022. It can be accessed here. CPR was the overall anchor institution and technical knowledge partner for the LT-LEDS.
Here, Navroz K. Dubash (Professor), Dr. Aman Srivastava (Fellow) and Parth Bhatia (Associate Fellow) at the Centre for Policy Research comment on the relevance of the document and what the next steps should be.
“India’s LT-LEDS is an important statement of intent to pursue low-carbon strategies for development, and a sound beginning toward doing so.” – Prof. Navroz K. Dubash
The strategy is firmly, and appropriately, anchored in considerations of climate equity. It calls for developed countries to undertake early net-zero and to provide adequate finance and technology in support of India’s plans for low-carbon development.
“The important principle of climate equity can usefully be operationalised by India laying out its own vision of low-carbon development and identifying within it the needs for support from developed countries. This LT-LEDS is an important step towards doing so.” – Dr. Aman Srivastava
The document clearly emphasises that India faces significant energy needs for development, to manage its simultaneous demands for job creation, urbanisation, and infrastructure development, all of which are energy intensive.
“India faces the challenge of meeting its growing energy needs even while avoiding lock-in to a high carbon future. The document’s approach of sector-by-sector low-carbon development futures enables India to strike this balance” – Dr. Aman Srivastava
The heart of India’s LT-LEDS is six key sector-by-sector low-carbon development transitions driven by considerations of India’s own development needs, and backed by a discussion of necessary finance. For each sector, the LT-LEDS lays out 5-10 ‘elements’ of a transition – for example, low-carbon electricity systems require expanding renewable energy and the grid, demand-side management, and rational use of fossil fuels, among others.
“Having clear ‘buckets’ for action, as the strategy does, is very important to mobilise bureaucracies and send clear signals for action to the private sector.” – Prof. Navroz K. Dubash
“This is the first government document that articulates long-term strategies for transitions in sectors beyond energy and forests. It has fired the starting gun for a serious transformation of the transport, industrial, and urban sectors.” – Parth Bhatia
The LT-LEDS takes a balanced view to these transitions, recognising both the possibilities for technological and competitive benefits arising from low-carbon transitions, but also that there are trade-offs and costs.
“Recognising that there are both possible benefits and trade-offs is necessary. The next step should be clearly identifying the nature of these benefits and trade-offs for each sectoral transition.” – Dr. Aman Srivastava
It is significant that the LT-LEDS process was underpinned by a cross ministerial consultative process backed by academics, research organisations and several other stakeholders.
“The consultative nature of this process is a considerable strength, as no top-down strategy can capture the diverse views and interests that need to be accounted for in India’s low-carbon development strategy.” – Parth Bhatia
“India’s LT-LEDS should be viewed as a living document. Future iterations should emphasize robust and transparent modelling towards net-zero by 2070, clearer identification of sectoral co-benefits and trade-offs, and more detailed discussion with states.” – Prof. Navroz K. Dubash.