Is India a climate leader as claimed globally?
India’s ranking in the CCPI 2023: According to the Climate Change Performance Index 2023, India stands in the 8th position in the index which is two positions up from the last year. Published by German-watch along with Climate Action Network (CAN) and New Climate Institute, the index assesses four categories with 14 indicators: Greenhouse gas emission (40% of the overall score), renewable energy (20%), energy use (20%) and climate policy (20%).
India earns a ‘high’ rating in the GHG Emissions and Energy Use categories, with a ‘medium’ for Climate Policy and Renewable Energy. The country is on track to meet its 2030 emissions targets, however, the renewable energy pathway is not on track for the 2030 target, states the report.
India’s dependence on Coal
However, according to the Ministry of Power and Central Electricity Authority, India still relies heavily on fossil fuels for electricity generation. 49.7% of the electricity is produced from coal and overall 57.4% from fossil fuels.
As per a report by the IEA, coal is the backbone of electricity systems in India. India’s coal consumption has doubled since 2007 at an annual growth rate of 6% and is set to continue to be the growth engine of global coal demand. India along with China are the largest coal consumers, biggest producers, and coal importers in the world.
According to the same report, the Indian government has tried to increase production for a long time to reduce imports. In 2021 alone coal production reached 800 million tonnes for the first time. 800 million tonnes emits around 2000 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. India’s coal production is expected to surpass 1 billion tonnes by 2025. Also, thermal coal demand is expected to rise from 2022 to 2025 for non-power use as industries continue to expand in the country.
India’s energy future
Nevertheless, India aims to lessen the dependence on coal in the electricity sector and lower the cost of energy production by 2030 by aiming for a 50% share of renewables in its power mix. India also intends to create a carbon market, which will integrate the existing certificate markets for renewable energy and energy efficiency obligations. Between 2005 and 2030, India wants to reduce its GDP’s emission intensity by 45%.
India has set ambitious goals but the transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources has been challenging for the country, there is a lack of direction in moving away from fossil fuels. A report titled ‘Getting India to Net Zero’ states that India needs an investment of $10.1 trillion beginning now. There is still a long way to go before India is recognized as a true leader, despite the fact that it has goals for renewable energy and is taking climate action.
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