Indian NDC updated and approved - GulfToday

Indian NDC updated and approved

Meena Janardhan

Writer/Editor/Consultant. She has over 25 years of experience in the fields of environmental journalism and publishing.


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India’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement to be communicated to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has been officially approved by the Union Cabinet, according to a press release by the Indian environment ministry. The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change, which seeks to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

The updated NDC says it demonstrates India’s commitment at the highest level to decoupling economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions. “To put forward and further propagate a healthy and sustainable way of living based on traditions and values of conservation and moderation, including through a mass movement for ‘LIFE’ — ‘Lifestyle for Environment’ as a key to combating climate change.”

The statement adds that India’s updated NDC has been prepared after carefully considering national circumstances and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC). The updated NDC also reaffirms India’s commitment to work towards a low-carbon emission pathway, while simultaneously endeavouring to achieve sustainable goals. The CBDR-RC acknowledges the different capabilities and differing responsibilities of individual countries in addressing climate change. The statement pointed out that the Indian railways’ net zero target by 2030 alone will lead to a reduction of emissions by 60 million tonnes annually. In the same way, India’s massive LED bulb campaign is also reducing emissions by 40 million tonnes annually.

This update to India’s existing NDC translates the ‘Panchamrit’ (five nectar elements) announced at COP 26 into enhanced climate targets. It is also a step towards achieving India’s long-term goal of reaching net-zero by 2070, the ministry statement added.

India has committed to reducing the emissions intensity of its GDP by 45% by 2030 from 2005 levels and achieving about 50% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030. India last submitted its NDC to UNFCCC in 2015.

The updated NDC also represents the framework for India’s transition to cleaner energy for the period 2021-2030. “The updated framework, together with many other initiatives of the Government, including tax concessions and incentives such as Production Linked Incentive scheme for promotion of manufacturing and adoption of renewable energy, will provide an opportunity for enhancing India’s manufacturing capabilities and enhancing exports,” the statement said.

It added it will lead to an overall increase in green jobs such as in renewable energy, clean energy industries, manufacturing of low emissions products like Electric Vehicles and super-efficient appliances, and innovative technologies such as green hydrogen, etc. “India’s updated NDC will be implemented over the period 2021-2030 through programs and schemes of relevant Ministries /departments and with due support from States and Union Territories.”

The government statement said India’s climate actions have so far been largely financed from domestic resources and India will also require its due share from such international financial resources and technological support.

However, a recent study, as reported by Mongabay-India, has spotlighted the inadequate discourse on climate change in the Indian Parliament: as many as 895 unique parliamentary questions (PQs) on climate change were raised by 1019 ministers, forming only a fraction (0.3%) of the total PQs asked from 1999 to 2019. Although the numbers posed on climate change went up over the two decades, the percentage of questions did not reflect the growing vulnerability of India to climate change, according to the study led by the Azim Premji University.

The researchers sifted through questions using eight relevant keywords: ‘climate,’ ‘adapt’, ‘carbon’, ‘fossil fuel’, ‘green power’, ‘IPCC’, ‘Kyoto’ and ‘warm’. The questions did not come from states vulnerable to climate change, and they did not represent socially vulnerable groups. The PQs were mostly concerned about the impacts (27.6%) and mitigation (23.4%) of climate change.

The study finds that members of Parliament received most of their information on climate change from studies and reports and newspaper articles. The legislators were most concerned about the impacts of climate change on agriculture, the coast and health. PQs on climate change mitigation were focused on energy, agriculture and aviation sectors. Scientists do engage with Indian legislators in curated meetings and workshops to discuss local impacts of climate change, policy mechanisms to address impacts and offer clarity on the attribution of events to climate change. Media coverage of scientific research also drives engagement between scientists and legislators. However, climate change is not a top election agenda. Interest in climate change topics may not always lead to improved funding for research on those subjects.

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