Topic-General Studies Paper-3 ; Environmental Pollution and Degradation
- According to IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) India is most vulnerable to the impact of climate change which adversely impacts the health, economic development and food security.
- In order to address this challenge of climate change India has evolved a comprehensive plan ‘India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC): Working towards Climate Justice’ which addresses the elements of adaptation, mitigation, finance, green technology and capacity building. The formation of US Dollar 56 million ‘National Adaptation Fund’ initiates policies towards renewable energy to achieve the target of reducing carbon emissions by 33 to 35 percent by 2030. Despite India’s focus on initiatives to combat Climate Change the International Energy Agency (IEA) found that India’s Carbon Emissions grew by 4.8% in 2018.
- IEA reveals that India’s emissions have grown, but per capita they remain less than 40% of the global average. This means that Indians are not historically responsible for the problem, and it is the rich developed nations led by the U.S. that have pumped in the stock of carbon dioxide which leads to adverse climate change impacts around the world
- Equity among nations is therefore very crucial in reducing carbon emissions globally. This is in sync with the principle within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) i.e. Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR–RC) that acknowledges the different capabilities and differing responsibilities of individual countries in addressing climate change. The universal challenge of climate change has grown to such levels that urgent action to sharply cut carbon emissions is crucial, and all countries, including India, must act quickly.
- Measures like increased usage of renewable energy sources, greening transport, updating building codes and raising energy efficiency — will help meet the national pledge under the Paris Agreement to cut energy intensity of GDP by 33-35% by 2030, over 2005 levels.
- Considering the rise in demand at the global level the renewable sources are not enough to meet the rising demand. China and Europe contributed towards energy efficiency in large measure from solar and wind power, indicating that India too needs to speed up its capacity in this area. In fact, as the founder of the International Solar Alliance, India should lead the effort in the Renewables Sector. The priority areas for India in this regard and their probable solutions are as follows:-
- Unutilised Solar Photovoltaics despite reduced prices and increased efficiency: States Power Utilities should contribute with increased solar rooftop installations.
- Cleaning up of young coal power plants which have decades of use ahead: This process should be aided by the UNFCCC, which can help in transfer of best technologies for carbon capture, use and storage, and provide financial assistance from the $100 billion annual climate fund proposed for 2020. India’s record in promoting green transport has not been inspiring as emissions from fossil fuels and the resulting pollution are rising rapidly.
- Expansion of Electric Mobility: Centre to carry out this Expansion through financial Incentives for buses, taxis and two-wheelers.
India will have to raise its ambition on emissions reduction, and participate in the global stocktaking of country-level action in 2023. It is only through creation of environment and climate literacy that will result in global action of changing the life styles that leads to reduction in the carbon emission and contribute to sustainable development.