The report, submitted recently to the UNFCCC, however, underlined that the country would use coal “responsibly” through clean coal initiatives and said its per capita coal consumption was still lower than most developed countries and other emerging economies.
The remarks on coal use in the report, carrying details of India’s climate action , assume significance as there is considerable pressure on India to raise its mitigation (emission reduction) goal by pledging either ‘net-zero’ (emission minus removal amounts to zero) target or ‘peaking year’ of its emission ahead of the 26th session of the UN climate conference (COP26)in November.
Though it is not yet clear whether India will actually deviate from its stated position of not announcing its next climate action target before 2023 when a global stock-take of collective targets of all countries happens, its report to the UN body drops enough hints that it won’t fall in line keeping in view its national circumstances.
The report also shows what it thinks about the role of big historical polluters such as the US, the European Union nations and the UK among others. “Unlike those countries who are proactive in planning phase-out of coal, only to replace them by oil and gas, India is transparent in its need for coal,” India’s third biennial report to the UNFCCC said.
Referring to the necessity of the country’s dependence on coal, it said, “This is in keeping with India’s claim to a fair share of the global carbon budget and India’s significant underutilization of this share thus far.”
But this doesn’t mean any deviation from what India pledged as part of its climate action under the Paris Agreement. As against its target of 40% electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based sources by 2030, the share of non-fossil-fuel-based electricity generation has already reached over 38% in November 2020.
In 2015-16, the India had set a target of achieving 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 which was later enhanced to 450 GW by 2030 – it means nearly five-times increase in next 10 years from 92.97 GW in February this year. Record shows that the power generation capacity share of renewables in India grew from 4.98% as on March 2006 to 23.92% by September last year.