In August 2022, India officially submitted its updated Paris Agreement targets, having first announced new targets at COP26 in November 2021. It strengthened both the value of its 2030 emissions intensity target and the share of electricity that will come from non-fossil fuel-based sources, compared to its first NDC.
While stronger on paper, India will already achieve these targets with its current level of climate action and the new targets will not drive further emissions reductions. India’s overall CAT rating remains unchanged at ‘Highly insufficient’, but the rating of its NDC against its fair contribution to the Paris Agreement has improved by one category to ‘Insufficient’.
At COP26, Prime Minister Modi also announced a 500 GW non-fossil capacity target. This target has not been included in the NDC update. At most, it could drive minor reductions in real world emissions, given the 500 GW does not go beyond current government plans.
In essence, India has replaced its first NDC targets (that would have been overachieved) with targets close to its current level of climate action. India needs to propose further cuts in 2030 emissions, conditional to international finance, to put India on a 1.5°C pathway.
We have updated our Targets and Net Zero assessments to reflect the NDC submission. Our analysis is based on updated emissions data and projections for India; however, we have not yet updated our Policies and Action tab. We will update the entire assessment prior to COP27. The text below is largely our assessment from September 2021.
India was severely impacted by COVID 19 during the second wave in the first half of 2021, which has further reduced the resilience of climate change vulnerable populations already at risk of displacement by storms, floods, extreme heat, droughts and other climate related disasters.
The Indian government has responded to the economic crisis by unveiling one of the largest stimulus packages in the world, equating to a share of around 11% of the country’s GDP in 2019. India’s overall COVID recovery stimulus package mainly supports activities related to industries likely to have a large negative impact on the environment by, for example, increasing the use of fossil fuels, and unsustainable land use.
However, India’s most recent stimulus (2021) is more climate-friendly, with two-thirds of the resources targeted towards a green recovery, including roughly USD 3bn in battery development and solar PV. While the additional stimulus is a positive step, India continues to support coal, with fresh loans to several thermal power projects, undermining a green recovery.
CAT analysis shows emissions to 2030 will rise less than in pre-COVID 19 projections, mainly because of the pandemic’s impact on the economy. India is continuing to expand its coal capacity, as a number of projects are under construction and several others have been announced, despite the utilisation rate of coal power plants falling. This risks profitability and stranded assets.
Based on current coal expansion plans, India’s coal capacity would increase from current levels of over 200 GW to almost 266 GW by 2029-2030, with 35 GW expected to come online in the next five years: an increase of 17.5% in coal capacity. India’s coal-fired power plant pipeline is the second largest in the world and is one of the few to have increased since 2015. A recent move to increase domestic coal production has opened coal mining to private investors, risking a fossil fuel lock-in as well as harm to areas of ecological significance. To get on a 1.5°C emissions pathway, it is important for India to phase out old, high-capacity power plants with lower efficiency and higher emissions and stop any new coal capacity additions.
India provides subsidies for both fossil fuels and renewable energy, including direct subsidies, fiscal incentives, price regulation and other government support. While coal subsidies in absolute terms have remained largely unchanged since 2017, they are still approximately 35% higher than subsidies for renewables. India needs to provide price support, in the form of feed-in-tariffs, and the transfer of subsidies from fossil to non-fossil sources could be an important driver of higher penetration of renewables in energy mix.
The CAT rates India’s climate targets and policies as “Highly insufficient”, indicating that India’s climate policies and commitments are not consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit.
Its updated NDC strengthened its targets on paper, but will not drive real world emission reductions beyond its current level of climate action. Its updated emissions intensity target is ‘Insufficient’ when compared to India’s fair share contribution, an improvement of one category.
India’s conditional NDC target is still ‘Critically insufficient’ when compared to a modelled 1.5°C emissions pathway for the country. India’s projected emissions in 2030 under its current level of climate action are higher than our last assessment, largely due to higher historical emissions, and, as a result, now fall under the ‘Insufficient’ range.
India should adopt targets that will drive actual emissions reductions and accelerate climate policy implementation. The country will need international support to get onto a 1.5°C pathway.
India’s 2030 emissions will reach around 4.1-4.3 GtCO2e (excluding LULUCF) in 2030 under current policies, which the CAT rates as ‘Insufficient’. Emissions are higher than our previous estimate, largely due to higher historical emissions caused by a stronger-than-expected rebound of emissions after COVID19.
Our full policy assessment will be available before COP27.
India’s first NDC has three main elements:
- An emissions-intensity target of 45% below 2005 levels by 2030;
- A target of achieving 50% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030; and
- Creation of a carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 GtCO2e through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
While India indicated in its updated NDC that achieving its 50% non-fossil capacity target would require international support, it is already on track to achieve 60-67% non-fossil capacity by 2030 under current policies.
We rate this target as ‘Critically insufficient’ when compared to the level of reductions needed on India’s territory to be 1.5°C compatible. Substantial improvement is needed in this target and India will need international support to get onto a 1.5°C pathway.
We interpret India’s emissions-intensity target as being its unconditional contribution to meeting the Paris Agreement. We rate this target against what India’s fair share contribution under the Agreement should be and find it to be “Insufficient.”
The “Insufficient” rating indicates that India’s emissions in 2030 needs substantial improvements to be consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit. India’s target is at the least stringent end of what would be a fair share of global effort and is not consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit unless other countries make much deeper reductions and comparably greater effort. If all countries were to follow similar approach, warming would reach over 2°C and up to 3°C.
With its updated NDC, India’s fair share rating improved by one category from ‘Highly insufficient’ to ‘Insufficient’, but a stronger target is needed if India is to contribute its fair share.
Indian Prime Minister Modi announced a 2070 net zero target at the World Leaders Summit at COP26 in Glasgow. Reference to the target was also made in India’s updated NDC submission; however, few details about the target are available. We evaluate the net zero target as "Target information incomplete".
The full net zero target analysis can be found here.