GS Paper - 3 (Environment)

The commitments on emission control made by India at the recent Glasgow COP26 summit are expected to benefit the country in the long-term with new technologies in energy efficiency, carbon reduction and green fuels, rating agency ICRA said adding this is likely to attract investment in billions across sectors. ICRA, in its recent research report, has analysed India’s commitment in two phases – up to 2030, and the net-zero target for 2070.

What

  1. The nation’s per capita energy consumption is expected to surge 3x-4x over the long term.
  2. Parallel to this, India has also committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 1 bn MT by 2030.
  3. The country has additionally committed to a net-zero carbon emission target by the year 2070, by when the per capita energy consumption would have surged multifold from current levels.
  4. In order to achieve the net-zero target by 2070, a focused roadmap would be required. It calls for timely interventions by the government and large capex/investments in GHG emitting sectors like power, industry, and transport.
  5. These sectors together emit 90% of CO2 as per 2019 data of the International Energy Agency. Ambitious targets for COP26 open massive investment opportunities across segments stemming from 500 GW renewables by 2030, higher EV penetration (10% by 2025), 20% ethanol blending for petrol (3x increase from current levels), improvement in energy efficiencies (battery storage, smart cities, etc.) and improvement in carbon capture from enhancing green cover and use of advanced technologies.
  6. This would be a daunting task, and would need massive policy interventions to ensure investments across aforementioned sectors remain profitable enough to sustain well beyond 2030.
  7. The five-pronged strategy presented during the COP26 summit includes higher generation and use of renewable energy sources for incremental energy needs, limiting and then reducing emissions from conventional sources of energy.
  8. This makes strategic sense considering recent success in capacity additions (>150 GW capacities commissioned), and coal power generation being the largest contributor to carbon emissions.