An aggressive renewable energy deployment target for 2030 has ensured India a listing among the top-performing countries on climate action in a new report by Germanwatch, an independent group.
The new Climate Change Performance Index report assesses the climate programmes of 57 countries and the European Union, which together account for more than 90 per cent of the global greenhouse gas emissions.
India is one of the only two countries within the G-20 group assessed to be “high” performers, the other being United Kingdom. India has been placed ninth on the list while the UK is seventh.
The index is based on a number of criteria, like the country’s energy use, its per capita emissions, its emission reduction targets for 2030, its national and international climate policy, renewable energy deployment and past trends of emissions. It assigns every country scores on each of these indicators to assess its overall ranking.
“While the country receives an overall medium rating in the Renewable Energy category, India’s 2030 renewable energy target is rated very high for its well-below 2 degree (Celsius) compatibility. National expert commend the government for strong policies to support the expansion of renewable energy which is needed to meet the ambitious targets as recent renewable energy capacity additions are below the level required,” the report reads.
“The current levels of per capita emissions and energy use are still comparatively low, and along with ambitious 2030 targets, result in high ratings for the greenhouse gas emissions and energy use categories,” it says.
The report says that no country performed well enough across all the indicators to deserve a ‘very high performing’ rating and therefore the top three slots were left vacant. Sweden and Denmark top the rankings at the 4th and 5th positions, followed by Morocco, the UK, Lithuania and India.
China is ranked at the 30th position, while the United States is at the bottom of the rankings.
The report notes that in 31 of the 57 countries assessed, falling emission trends were noticed. Global coal consumption has been reducing while a boom in renewable energy continues, it says.
The report is in line with similar earlier assessments that have found India to be doing well on its climate actions. Some time ago, an assessment by Climate Action Tracker had found India amongst a handful of countries whose climate actions were compatible with the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global rise in temperatures to below 2 degree Celsius as compared to pre-industrial levels.
India has been using these assessments to fight off pressures to take on even more ambitious actions in light of the findings of several scientific studies that collectively, the world is not doing enough to prevent the catastrophic impacts of climate change.
On Monday, India’s Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said it was futile to ask countries to increase the ambition of their climate actions when even the current targets were not being made.
Javadekar said he would instead like the countries to deliver on their past and current promises. He effectively ruled out an upward revision of India’s climate action plan, saying the Paris Agreement provided for an assessment of global action only in 2023 and that was the right time to see what needed to be done.
“We should concentrate more on the implementation of Paris Agreement (targets) rather than bring up new issues and new subjects at this stage…,” Javadekar said in reference to the demands that countries increase their ambition of climate actions.
“It is futile to talk about new targets right now, futile to talk about new ambitions or new programmes, unless we are able to implement our current targets under the Paris Agreement,” he said, while pointing out many developed countries were not delivering even on their pre-2020 promises.
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