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Issue Brief

India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions

Renewable Energy and Pathway to Paris

Sudatta Ray, Vaibhav Chaturvedi, Karthik Ganesan, Arunabha Ghosh
February 2015 | Low-Carbon Pathways

Suggested Citation: Ray, Sudatta, Vaibhav Chaturvedi, Karthik Ganesan, and Arunabha Ghosh. 2015. India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions: Renewable Energy and Pathway to Paris. New Delhi: Council on Energy, Environment and Water.

Overview

This issue brief outlines one component of India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The focus is on India’s renewable energy contribution to its future electricity mix. It assesses the actions and intended contributions of other major emitters and analyses the carbon space that remains for the rest of the world, including India. It also compares India’s and China’s climate actions at various levels of development. Further, it illustrates the issue of electricity affordability. It provides recommendations on how India could ensure that its climate actions are in line with its development needs

Cumulative and Per Capita Emissions of the EU, the US, China and India in 2030

Cumulative and Per Capita Emissions of the EU, the US, China and India in 2030
36 Gt of CO2 emissions has been assumed to be the annual emissions budget for 2030
Source: CEEW Analysis

Key Findings

  • India could push its ambition towards a target of 1,041 Billion Units (BU) of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030.
  • A cumulative amount of 3.4 Gt of CO2 eq. and 2.25 metric tonnes of CO2 eq. in terms of per capita emissions is projected to be emitted by India in 2030.
  • According to the current pledges of the European Union, the United States and China, less than half the total carbon emissions permissible in 2030 and 2050 would be available for the rest of the world.
  • India’s per capita GDP (PPP) grew by 121 per cent between 2000 and 2010 with a concomitant growth in absolute emissions of 69 per cent. China grew at almost twice India’s growth rate at 216 per cent but registered more than double the growth rate in emissions (143 per cent).
  • As per GCAM projections, in 2020, renewable energy will make up 13.8 per cent of India’s energy mix as compared to 3 per cent in China.
  • Although currently at a much lower level, the future rate of growth in emissions may be significantly more for India than China.
  • Bottom-up calculations reflect an annual addition of approximately 12 GW of solar until 2020 and 6 GW thereafter until 2030 in India.
  • India could be expected to add 1 GW hydropower on an annual basis in the next 15 years.
  • The wind industry in India is expected to fulfil its potential by 2018 or even exceed it.
  • Under both a Business As Usual (BAU) scenario as well as a global 2 degrees Celsius scenario, renewable energy contribution to electricity will be extremely low in 2030 in India. Coupled with an increase in the average electricity price, an annual threshold household consumption of 2,000 kWh becomes unaffordable for the bottom 30 per cent of households under the BAU scenario and bottom 50% in the global 2 degrees Celsius scenario.
  • An incremental burden of INR 24,842 billion would be imposed during 2015-30 to make electricity prices close to those in BAU.
  • Were India to reach the announced solar target of 100 GW by 2022 and continue to build upon it to reach 150 GW of solar, together with 170 GW of wind by 2030, an incremental amount of INR 39,320 billion could be needed.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop a strategy on two formats: pressing major emitters to increase their mitigation targets; and ramping up India’s own ambition to reduce the vulnerability of its own population to climate risks.
  • Formulate a comprehensive framework to assess the capacity of developing countries to commit to peaking targets and similar climate commitments.
A cumulative amount of 3.4 Gt of CO2 eq. and 2.25 metric tonnes of CO2 eq. in terms of per capita emissions is projected to be emitted by India in 2030.

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