In the previous post on this sensitive issue, we analysed how the vulnerability of climate has jeopardised human sustainability. The Greenhouse gas emissions especially those of carbon dioxide (the most significant and potent of all these gases) are a consequence of the continuing dependence of humanity on fossil fuels and their derivatives. Though technology has scaled new horizons, renewable energy for non-industrial uses has certainly come of age in many respects.
In attempts of rectification, member nations of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change have submitted their INDC documents to it. A considerable uncertainty attaches to the cost of the climate change mitigation and all nations developed and developing are cautious of these, now and in the future. Developing countries are in a double bind. Already crippling under the burden of growth to erase their development deficiencies, they must achieve this under constraints on fossil fuel use that have no parallel in the global history of industrial growth and development.
India is one of the few significant developing nations, because of its vast potential in both environment and economic development. Despite being a signatory country to Kyoto Protocol, and thus not being under any international obligation to pledge stricter actions, Indian Government has set ambitious targets to achieve for ensuring a healthier land for its citizens to dwell in.
Major Goals Of India On Climate Change And Actions To Fulfill Them:
- To reduce by 2030, the emission intensity of GDP by 32 to 35 per cent from 2005 level.
- Generate about 40 per cent of electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030.
Human activities since 1950(s) have produced a 40 per cent increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, rising from 280 ppm then to 400 ppm today. This has occurred despite the uptake of a large portion of the emissions by various natural ‘sinks’ involved in the carbon cycle.
With eyes glued on witnessing reduction in the emission of Carbon dioxide, a budget detailing and limiting the carbon emission on an equity basis has been laid. This method of providing equitable share of the global carbon budget fundamentally relies on the principle of treating the earth as a global commons at least in terms of carbon. Since all developmental activities correspond directly to carbon emission, this is by far the best strategy to restrain nations from burdening the nature anymore.
This budget of 992 or 1212 Gigaton Carbon (GtC) represents the physical limit on emission for the world as a whole. It is estimated that about 445 to 585 GtC has already been emitted. Once the carbon budget is used by a country or group of countries, it is not available to others. Thus, the nations are compelled to look for alternate greener sources of energy; for once their fair share of Carbon budget is utilised, they can not use conventional sources of energy to fuel their development process. There however, is a serious trouble for India. Since developed countries have already used more than their fair share of the carbon budget in the past; if India does not declare a long term goal now, it is endangered of being left with no carbon budget by the time our energy and developmental future in terms of emission becomes clearer.
So, when the government sets this highly ambitious target of reducing the GDP emission intensity by 33-35 per cent in juxtaposition to the promising campaigns like Make In India, pushing development; it is both hail-worthy and scary. For, the development projects shall not bear the requisite fruits if either a long term is declared soon or the second target of generating 40 per cent electric power from non-fossil fuel based energy resources is accomplished.
In order to accomplish the second target, a National Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE) under the National Action Plan on Climate Change has set focus on improving energy efficiency across the sectors. In fossil fuel based power plants, use of super critical and ultra super critical boilers which reduce the demand on fuel and and the GHG emissions has been encouraged.
The transport sector has promised to reduce fuel consumption by 15 per cent by 2021-22. Initiatives like search of alternate fuels (CNG, LPG etc.) and electric vehicles are steps leading the same path. In the building sector too, ambitious projects are being undertaken. The famous ‘Smart Cities Project’ vowing to create 100 cities with energy efficient transport and energy networks needs many small-scale steps to be undertaken by the people in particular. Use of energy efficient home appliances like light emitting diode lights (LED lights) and saving fuel by covering the utensil while cooking, are simple steps any individual can take to contribute to the cause. The current share of renewable energy capacity is 13 per cent of total generations in India. Effective implementation of National Solar Mission Target can help us achieve as much as 175 GW of energy by 2022!
The targets set as repeatedly emphasised are ambitious, but achievable. Terms and Conditions Apply*: Citizens have to take a greater role in realising the vision imparted by our elected representatives. It is only through the healthy cooperation of the government, market and the general public can the ink transform into reality. The next post on this series will bring to you, the initiatives we can all take to progress together.
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