Moving away from its earlier intention of submitting a comprehensive climate action plan ahead of the Paris climate meet, India is preparing to make a minimalist offer indicating a single target for slowing down the growth of its greenhouse gas emissions.
Countries are in the process of submitting their respective climate action plans, being called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs, in official jargon, detailing steps they intend to take to deal with climate change. The submissions have to be made before October, well in time for the Paris climate meet where a global climate treaty is expected to be finalised.
New Delhi has been calling upon countries to make their INDCs as comprehensive as possible, and include not just the steps that will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, but also measures that each country intends to take to adapt to impacts of climate change, and their offers and needs on technology and finance.
India itself had been working on submitting a detailed INDC with a broad plan of action. It is, however, having second thoughts now, having seen the INDCs of many of the other major emitters, including the United States and China, almost all of whom have submitted minimalist offers.
India has been noting with concern that none of the action plans submitted from the developed world have talked about financial or technological support to be made available to developing countries to help them deal with adverse effects of climate change.
Sources said discussions on INDCs in the last few days have been mainly about whether it would be wise to give a detailed plan of action when the others were not doing so. While the INDCs are not binding on any country, these will definitely restrict its flexibility in case the climate plan needs to be changed to meet any future exigency.
Accordingly, the dominant view in the government right now is to present a single target, most probably in terms of emission intensity reduction, in its INDC which is likely to be submitted by September.
The actions being taken on the adaptation side and requirements of money and technology might get a running mention without the specifics being divulged, sources said.
Ahead of the 2009 climate summit in Copenhagen, the previous time the world had taken a shot at finalising a climate treaty, India announced that it would cut its emission intensity — emissions per unit of GDP — by 20-25 per cent by the year 2020 as compared to 2005 levels. India is on way to achieve this target and its INDC, which is a plan for the post 2020 period, is likely to be an extension of this.
A 35-40 per cent cut in emission intensity by 2025 compared to 2005 levels is being seen as very ambitious and yet achievable.
The Environment Ministry had engaged three agencies – Institute of Economic Growth, The Energy and Resources Institute, and Integrated Research and Action for Development – to do the analysis and scenario mapping and suggest the possible offers that can be included in India’s INDCs.
The three agencies are learnt to be close to finalising their recommendations and recently made a presentation to the Environment Ministry about their interim results.