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CPR comments on Indian INDC, says implementation of sectoral actions are the key to a lower carbon future

New Delhi: The Government of India today released India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC). The INDC stated India would reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33-35% from 2005 levels by 2030, backed by several sectoral actions. India will also increase non-fossil fuel sources in electric power capacity to about 40% by 2030. Other goals include increased carbon sinks through forest cover, improved adaptation, mobilizing additional funds and building capacity, including through international support.

“The real benchmark for India’s INDC is whether it avoids lock-in to a high-carbon future,” said Navroz K. Dubash, Senior Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research. “By this standard, the most serious component is the detailed list of sectoral actions. This shows that key economic and infrastructure ministries have been closely engaged in formulating climate policy, which is an important break from the past.”

“The emissions intensity target is conservative when benchmarked against modelling studies, and roughly consistent with India’s Cancun pledge for 2020,” he added, referring to CPR analysis (Figure below). “This suggests the intensity number is the floor and the real action lies in the sectoral measures.”

The headline emissions intensity target is supported by a fossil fuel free goal of 40% for 2030 with the help of international support and a short-term domestic renewable energy target of 175 GW by 2022. “India’s INDC target of 40% non-fossil based electricity capacity implies a 10% increase from current non-fossil fuel capacity of 30%. In addition, the domestic 2022 renewable energy target of 175 GW is more ambitious,” said Radhika Khosla, Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research. “If the challenging domestic 2022 renewable target is met, the 2030 fossil fuel free target is likely to be exceeded.”

Since the focus is on a series of sectoral actions, the framework for assessing the effects of these actions for India’s contribution is particularly significant.

“India’s submission of its INDC represents an important milestone on the road to Paris,” said Lavanya Rajamani, Professor at the Centre for Policy Research. “India must now invest its negotiating capital in addressing issues related to the legal character, transparency and review of national contributions on which the effectiveness of the 2015 agreement will hinge.”