Experts say that the updated NDC is in line with PM Modi’s announcements made at COP26 in Glasgow.

Cabinet approves India’s NDC update; 5 things you need to know

The updated document largely aligns with PM Modi’s announcements made at COP26 in Glasgow, say experts

India’s Cabinet approved an updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement this week. Here are five important points you need to know about the updated NDC and how it aims to advance India’s climate ambitions. 

  • India now stands committed to reduce Emissions Intensity of its GDP by 45% by 2030, from 2005 level. The previous NDC set a target of 33 to 35% compared to 2005 levels.
  • It aims to achieve about 50% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030. This was previously set at 40%. 
  • ‘Lifestyle for Environment’ or LIFE has been added to India’s NDC to further a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, which was first introduced to the world by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at COP26 as a key component in fighting climate change. 
  • The new NDC, according to the press release issued by the government, seeks to capture a “citizen-centric approach to combat climate change.”
  • The updated framework also aims to set a path for the country towards a clean energy transition and provide an opportunity for enhancing India’s renewable manufacturing capabilities and exports. 

What this means

India had submitted its first NDC to the UNFCCC back in 2015. According to experts, the updated NDC is in line with PM Modi’s announcements made at COP26 in Glasgow. “It enhances the ambition and yet puts sustainable development at the centre of the debate. It is clear that India does not envisage sectoral emission reduction obligations as part of its NDC at least till 2030,” said RR Rashmi, Distinguished Fellow, TERI. 

The government, while introducing the updated version, also touched upon the sensitive issue of climate finance. It highlighted how the country had, so far, largely financed its climate ambitions using domestic resources. But it once again urged developed countries to take on the responsibility of “providing new and additional financial resources as well as transfer of technology to  address the global climate change challenge.” 

At COP26, Modi had announced panchamrits (five elements), which focused on getting India to secure a low-carbon future. These included 500GW of non-fossil fuel capacity by 2030, 50% of installed renewables capacity, reducing 1 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions by 2030, 45% emissions intensity reduction over 2005 levels all by 2030, and achieving net-zero emissions by 2070.

Of these, the updated NDC does not include the 500GW non-fossil fuel-based capacity target and the 1 billion tonnes of carbon emission reduction target, which could hinder India’s net-zero by 2070 target, according to some experts. “The current renewable energy target stands at 175GW by 2030. In order to achieve 2070 net zero goals, India needs actionable short-term targets till 2030 that can help the country to achieve its long-term goal,” said Vibhuti Garg, Energy Economist & India Lead, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

Some experts, however, remain hopeful. “The [updated] targets, while lower than the panchamrits, are actionable. A reiteration of the renewables focus would have provided a fresh impetus for the renewables sector. But hopefully, the updated NDC will lay the path for achieving and exceeding PM Modi’s vision,” said Madhura Joshi, Senior Associate, India Energy Transition Lead, E3G.

According to the government’s press release, the NDC does not bind India to any sector-specific mitigation obligation or action. “India’s goal is to reduce overall emission intensity and improve energy efficiency of its economy over time and at the same time protecting the vulnerable sectors of economy and segments of our society,” the press release concluded. 

About The Author