India Joins Paris Climate Change Agreement

India formally joined the Paris Climate Change Agreement by submitting its instrument of ratification at UN Headquarters in New York on 2nd October, 2016. The instrument of ratification was deposited by India’s permanent representative to the UN, Syed Akbaruddin.

Consumerism, which is the key driver of global warming, was the underlined by Indian Prime Minister. Mr. Narendra Modi retariated, India will now urge the global community to adopt ‘Gandhian way of life’ by overcoming extravagant lifestyles, thereby reducing their carbon footprints and protect the environment from the adverse impact of climate change.

India has now become the 62nd country to ratify the Paris Agreement. Before India signing the agreement, 61 countries, accounting for 47.79 per cent of the total global emission, have submitted their instruments of ratification of the agreement, which was adopted by 195 countries in Paris last December.

With India on board now, the total emission shares of these countries reached 51.89% mark – which is just 3.11% less than the emission threshold to bring the Agreement into force. Once EU, accounting for 12.1% of the total global emission, joins it, the deal will enter into force after 30 days.

India’s plan as stated during the Agreement, considering India accounts for about 4.5% of global GHG emissions and third largest carbon-emitting country:

  • To reduce emissions intensity level by at least 33% by 2030
  • To generate at least 40% of electricity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030
  • To create an additional carbon sink of about 2.5-3billion tonnes

Impacts on India post entering the Paris Agreement:

  1. Solar & Wind Energy: India plans to install as much as 100GW of electricity generation capacity through solar energy by 2022, of which 40 GW would be through individual rooftop systems. India had initially announced plans for setting up 60 GW of wind energy by 2022.
  2. Home Appliances: So far, more than 3 Crores households have switched over to energy efficient LED bulbs, according to government figures. More than 16.5 crore LED bulbs are in use in these houses.
  3. More Trees: India has promised to create an additional carbon sink — system capable of absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere — of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2-equivalent through forest and tree cover by 2030.
  4. Smarter Building: Projections show that 70 per cent of the infrastructure that India will have in 2030 is still to be built, including new cities and buildings. “Smart” and “net zero” buildings are beginning to get better recognition in recent times. In addition, the rating of buildings on green parameters, with incentives or penalties on electricity or water bills is also coming up. The Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA), endorsed by the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), a third-party certification programme, which is one of the most popular green building certification programs used worldwide are getting well established in the country.
  5. Water: For a water-stressed country, climate change is an additional urgent reason to reform the way in which water is managed and utilised. Free water is likely to be rationed in future and water for all uses is likely to be priced. There will be no unrestricted rights over groundwater below the land one owns and industries will be mandated to use only treated water.
  6. The agreement will help India bring in bigger financing and capacity building for a renewable energy transition and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
  7. Having ratified the Paris Agreement, a greater push for materializing the climate finance through varieties of public and private based channels could be on its agenda.

Money however will be a big challenge for India. It is believed that India will require over USD2.5 trillion (EUR1.9 trillion) to meet all its targets & will be in a position to achieve the targets only if other countries funds and discounts on new technology.

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