As India prepares to reveal, this evening, the latest information on the amount of greenhouse gases it has been emitting for the last few years, a new analysis by an international energy research body shows New Delhi was in line for achieving at least one of its emission-reducing targets a decade earlier than planned.
The Institute for Energy Economic and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), a US-based organisation that conducts research and analyses on financial and economic issues related to energy and environment, has said that India was likely to attain the goal of having 40 per cent of its electricity generation coming from renewable sources by the year 2020 itself, instead of the original target of 2030.
Attaining 40 per cent electricity-from-renewables by 2030 was one of the three key targets India had promised to achieve as part of its ‘contribution’ to the global fight against climate change. The other two were reducing emission intensity of the GDP (emissions per unit of GDP) by 33 to 35 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels, and creating additional carbon sink of about 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes through extensive afforestation by 2030.
Officials of the Ministry of Environment and Forests concede that the afforestation target may not be fully achieved, but that India was likely over-achieve the other two targets.
IEEFA has based its conclusions on the new projections for the power sector contained in the National Electricity Plan of 2018, and other data. “IEEFA estimates India’s thermal power capacity will be 226GW, or 63 per cent of India’s total of 360GW, by March 2019. By the close of calendar 2019, India’s non-fossil fuel capacity is set to exceed a 40 per cent share for the first time,” a statement from IEEFA said.
It said that by the year 2027 renewables like solar, wind and biomass would be generating about 275 GW of electricity, comprising 44 per cent of India’s total power generation of 619 GW. Hydro and nuclear, also considered clean sources of energy, would be contributing another 80 GW, or about 13 per cent.
The IEEFA estimate comes hours before Environment Minister Harshvardhan is slated to provide an update on the progress on India’s climate actions, as well as detailed information on India’s greenhouse gas emissions in the last few years, at the climate change conference in the Polish city of Katowice. The information on emissions is part of the biennial update report (BUR) that every country has to submit to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the UN climate body.
India’s first BUR had been submitted in December 2015, and it had information about emissions till 2010. This second BUR is likely to have data on India’s emissions till the year 2015. BURs give detailed information on the country’s emissions, its sources, growth projections and how the measures to tackle climate change was impacting this growth.
In the previous BUR, India had said that its total greenhouse gas emissions had grown from 1.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in the year 2000 to 1.8 billion tonnes CO2 equivalent in 2010. During this time-frame, the population of the country had increased by about 18 per cent, while the GDP had almost doubled. The emission intensity of GDP, a measure of how efficiently energy was being used, declined by about 12 per cent during this period, pointing to a more efficient utilisation of energy resources.