- United Nations Climate Action Summit was held in New York. It was convened to identify urgent and concrete solutions to climate change.
Mr. Modi’s speech
It covered four important aspects of India’s climate action — the push for renewable energy, electric mobility, mixing of biofuel to reduce consumption of fossil fuels, and the Jal Jeevan Mission.
- Modi reiterated India’s commitment to the creation of 175 GW renewable energy capacity by 2022 under the Paris Climate Agreement.
- He also said India’s renewable energy target will be increased to 450 GW
- India would spend approximately $50 billion “in the next few years” on the Jal Jeevan Mission to conserve water, harvest rainwater and develop water resources
- He said India had plans to make the transport sector green through the use of electrical vehicles.
- He also spoke of the need for behavioural change. “Need, not greed, is our guiding principle,”
Prime Minister Modi announced two international initiatives.
- First, a platform with Sweden and other countries, for governments and the private sector to work together to develop low carbon pathways for industry.
- Second, a Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure. This initiative was approved by the Union Cabinet and ₹480 crore has been allocated for technical assistance and projects.
- The U.K., Australia and island nations such as Fiji and the Maldives will be part of this coalition.
- To meet its Paris Pact target, India will need to add more than 20 GW of RE installation a year, more than double the rate achieved in the past four years.
- According to the clean energy research outfit, Mercom, the country added 8.3 GW of solar capacity last year. This is a 13 per cent dip from 2017. The fall in pace of adding solar installations has continued this year.
- Land acquisitions are a major worry for large-scale solar projects, the Mercom report noted.
- But policymakers should ill-afford to ignore it given that solar installations constitute nearly 60 per cent of the country’s RE energy mix under its Paris commitments.
What else should the Govt do?
While India is shouldering its share of the climate burden, despite problems in climate finance flow, the government also needs to strengthen its climate adaptation plans.
- The existing internal framework, the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) is more than a decade old. It lacks the legal foundation to incorporate the key national commitment under the Paris Agreement: to reduce the emissions intensity of economic growth by a third, by 2030.
- Without an update to the NAPCC and its mission-mode programmes, and legislation approved by States for new green norms governing buildings, transport, agriculture, water use and so on, it will be impossible to make a case for major climate finance under the UNFCCC.
- It is equally urgent to arrive at a funding plan for all States to help communities adapt to more frequent climate-linked disasters such as cyclones, floods and droughts.
- In this 2019’s Union Budget, Rs 100 crore was allocated to the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC), only a fraction of the total budget of over Rs 2,900 crore allotted to the Union environment ministry. This is 16% lower than the budget allocated to the NAFCC in 2017-18.
- India is correct in arguing that developed countries must do more, but a combination of policy, budgetary support, and a people’s movement is needed to battle the globe’s greatest challenge.