The year 2015 has been a landmark year for India in terms of climate change initiatives both nationally and internationally, according to the Economic Survey 2015-16 presented in Parliament by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley here on Friday.
According to the Survey, India played a crucial role in the climate change talks and agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate (UNFCCC) in Paris in December 2015, and the launch of International Solar Alliance. India also submitted its ambitious Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) to the UNFCCC on October 2, 2015.
The Survey further states that India played an important role in the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) under the UNFCCC and adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015. The Paris Agreement sets a roadmap for all nations in the world to take actions against climate change in the post-2020 period.
Also, Prime Minister Narendra Modi played a leading role at COP 21 in the launch of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), and volunteered to host its Secretariat. The ISA will provide a special platform for mutual cooperation among 121 solar-resource-rich countries in the world.
The Economic Survey also states that as on January 4, 2016, with 1,593 out of 7,685 projects registered under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the UNFCCC, India has the second highest number of projects registered under the CDM, which shows its commitment to fighting climate change.
The Survey notes that in the domestic front, India has continued to take ambitious targets in its actions against climate change. As a part of its contributions to global climate change mitigation efforts, India announced its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) which, including other efforts, has set itself an ambitious target of reducing its emissions intensity of its GDP by 33-35 per cent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels, and of achieving 40 per cent cumulative electric installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.
Apart from the National Action on Climate Change (NAPCC), a new mission on Climate Change and Health is currently under formulation and a National Expert Group on Climate Change and Health has been constituted. The survey also talks about the National Mission on Coastal Areas (NMCA) for integrated coastal resource management and the proposed waste-to energy mission which are the other major components of India&’s domestic actions against climate change.
The Economic Survey also highlights the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) which has been established with a budget provision of Rs.350 crore for the year 2015-16 and 2016-17, and the National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF) which is supported by the cess on coal. The survey notes that India is one of the few countries around the world to have a carbon tax in the form of a cess on coal.
The Survey 2015-16 further points out the progress on the renewable energy front in India by highlighting the ambitious targets of achieving 40 per cent cumulative electric capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030. Underlining India&’s commitment to clean energy, the first Renewable Energy Global Investment Meet and Expo (RE-INVEST) was organized in Feb 2015 to provide a platform for the global investment community to connect with stakeholders in India.
Another ambitious program of the government is the Development of Solar cities Program under which, 56 solar cities projects have been approved. The Survey further lists the National Offshore Wind Energy Policy 2015 to help in offshore wind energy development, as yet another major renewable energy policy.