Photo: The Conversation

India scores high on climate change performance, medium on RE

The country is also on track to meet its 2030 emissions target, according to the annual Climate Change Performance Index, which rates the climate efforts of 60 countries and the EU

India retained its 10th position on the annual climate change performance index for the third consecutive year. The Climate Change Performance Index 2022, released by Germanwatch, NewClimate Institute & Climate Action Network, monitored the climate mitigation efforts of 60 countries plus the EU—covering 92% of the global greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Rankings were based on four categories, including GHG emissions, energy use, renewables, and climate policy. India was preceded by six other countries—Chile, Morocco, UK, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. The first three places remained empty.

India ranked “medium” in RE

India’s performance was rated high in the GHG emissions, energy use, and climate policy categories, and medium in renewable energy.  India was on track to meet its 2030 emissions target (which is compatible with a well-below-2°C scenario), close to achieving its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) target of a 40% share for non-fossil fuel installed power capacity by 2030, and on course for a targeted 33–35% reduction in energy intensity by the same year, the report stated. The study also highlighted India’s ambitious targets of renewable electricity capacity of 450 GW and a 30% electric vehicle share by 2030. 

The report said some policies are “disjointed and missing detail on implementation and long-term targets”. The report said considerably more can be done to promote growth of solar (renewable energy was the only category not rated high). India got an overall “medium” rank of 24 with 9.10 score in the renewables performance index. It was rated “high” in the current RE trend, excluding hydropower, but received a “low” rating in the share of RE in energy use (total primary energy supply), including hydro, compared to a well-below-2°C benchmark and a “medium” rating in the category of RE 2030 target, including hydropower compared to a well-below-2C benchmark. 

Need to phase-out coal, expand EV infrastructure

The report pointed out that no Indian states have announced a clear coal phase-out. The report said India’s pipeline of proposed coal power plant development is the world’s second-largest and one of the few that have increased since 2015. India was ranked “very low” in the current trend of energy use (TPES) per capita. The report stated India should expand and improve EV infrastructure.

The report added India could do more to strengthen policies on climate vulnerability, adaptation, and resilience building. Equity and social development should also feature more strongly in the energy transition, it highlighted.

India’s overall performance on GHG emissions index received a “high” score of 30.42, but its GHG per capita–current trend, excluding land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF), received a “very low”.

China is ranked higher at 23 in RE. It received a “very high” rating in RE current trend, excluding hydro, but was rated “very low” on the share of RE in energy use (total primary energy supply), including hydro, compared to a well-below-2°C benchmark. The country received a low rating overall, but with mixed ratings across categories: very low for GHG emissions and energy use, medium for renewable energy, and high for climate policy. China is the world’s largest territorial emitter, but the CCPI country experts regard its climate policy as ambitious, with clear policies and timelines.

China drops four places on GHG index

China lost four places ranked “low” at 37 in the GHG index. The US climbed 6 places, but remained in the red zone of “very low” at rank 55. The EU block of 27 countries, as a whole, lost six places, and was ranked at the “medium” 22. Among the EU countries that received a very low score for their performance are Czech Republic, Poland, Ireland, and Slovenia. Japan remained in the “low” 45th place, registering no improvement in rank. Saudia Arabia was ranked “very low” at 63 losing six places, and was adjudged the worst performer, just above Kazakhstan, which ranked 64, losing nine places, compared to the 2019 index.

Seven G20 countries received a very low rating for their performance, including the Russian Federation, Australia, the United States, and Canada. All other G20 countries generally were equally divided into medium and low ratings. Like last year, Saudi Arabia remained the worst-performing G20 country. Australia failed to reduce its coal share, and remained the biggest coal exporters, gaining zero points in national and international policy. They are also blocking a lot of important decisions at the COP26, said Jan Burck, the lead author of the study.