Enhanced Climate Action
TerraGreen|February 2021
Neha Pahuja and Mekhala Sastry analyse the possibilities in India vis-á-vis enhanced climate action. They conclude that while India is committed to NDC till 2030, a sectoral approach is necessary to reduce emissions and broaden the ambit of climate action in the country. However, it is important to note that success of this strategy requires coordinated effort not just in sectors but across scales as well.
Neha Pahuja and Mekhala Sastry 

India’s climate action is embedded in its developmental policy and local environmental benefits. The development pathway of India is marked by the dependence on climate-sensitive sectors—agriculture, water, health, infrastructure, natural ecosystems, and forestry and energy. This makes the socio-economic system of the country highly vulnerable to climate change and its impacts. India ranks 14 on the Climate Risk Index 2020 released by Germanwatch. Each year, weather-related extreme events lead to the loss of life in the thousands and economic losses in the billions. These risks have, especially in recent times, accumulated and intensified further straining the limited resources that are available for management and recovery. Scientific evidence further suggests that this trend of compounded risks shall also continue, and as a consequence, this will have a cascading effect across all sectors. In light of a significant developmental deficit in the country—addressing the challenges of increasing frequency of disasters, inadequate infrastructure, and climate change impacts necessitate building resilience in the long run.

As a Party to the Paris Agreement, India is well on track to meet (and exceed) two out of three of its quantified Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) targets by 2030, namely: (i) reducing the emissions intensity of GDP by 33–35 per cent from 2005 levels; (ii) 40 per cent non-fossil fuel electric installed capacity in 2030. Its progress in respect of the third target involving 2.5–3GtCO 2 e additional carbon sinks is mixed. India is the only G20 country whose Paris pledges for 2030 are compliant with a 2°C pathway. India has also been at the forefront of renewable energy growth and electricity sector decarbonization. The country has also shown its willingness to lead on climate action internationally with initiatives, such as the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).

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