India hailed at COP22 for commitment to climate change

Marrakech, Nov 10 (IANS) Surprised by India’s initiatives in clean energy and coal dependency reduction, the international climate research organisations at COP22 here said that the country is set to “over-achieve” its emission intensity targets.

According to an analysis, the on-ground actions are more effective than what India has reflected in its Paris Agreement commitments in its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) — a country’s plan to reduce its emissions.

“We expected that the emissions from coal-fired power would increase but we don’t see that. We instead see that there’s a huge renewable energy installations and this is growing rapidly. This is very positive and was surprising for us,” Professor Niklas Hohne from New Climate Institute said at a media briefing at the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22).

About 60 per cent of India’s electricity comes from coal-based power plants. However, India has set a target to increase its clean energy share — solar and wind — by 40 per cent by 2022 to 175 Giga Watts and 100 GW solar alone. India’s solar mission is one of the fastest growing in the world.

“With those targets (175 GW of clean energy), India is already set to over-achieve its emissions intensity target. The likely continued expansion of renewable energy after 2022, for which no targets have been set, would result in India also overshooting its 2030 non-fossil capacity target,” Hohne said.

The information was given by Climate Action Tracker (CAT), a global scientific analysis, produced by three international research organisations.

“With every sign that China is now beginning to reduce its coal and carbon dioxide emissions, development in India are amongst the most important underway globally,” the CAT report highlighted.

CAT pointed out that India’s NDC, however, does not reflect these developments under the Paris Agreement. Which means India’s results are better in field rather than on papers.

As per some UNFCCC experts, the down-toning of India’s actions on its NDC could be a clever step, as reflecting its domestic commitments on its NDC might jeopardise the international financial assistance that India, along with other developing countries, would receive.

Commenting on other countries, the CAT report said: “Neither the NDC commitment nor current policies are ambitious enough to limit global warming to below two degree Celsius, let alone the Paris Agreement’s stronger 1.5 degrees limit, unless other countries make much deeper reduction and comparably greater effort.”

The report also praised China for cutting down coal use for third year in a row and being on track to reduce carbon dioxide reduction. It, however, pointed out the absence of commitments on other greenhouse gases in China, due to which the emissions would continue to increase until at least 2030.

Commenting on the probability that US President-elect Donald Trump might roll back from Paris Climate Change Agreement, Niklas Hohne said, “Global climate leadership is open to China if Trump rolls back.”

“This would change the political dynamics significantly,” Hohne added.

(Kushagra Dixit is at COP22, Marrakech. He can be reached at kushagra.d@ians.in)

–IANS

kd/nir/vt

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