India Needs to invest $830 Billion in ‘Low Carbon Strategies’ by 2030
Harshal Desai

The total CO2 emissions will increase much more moderately to 3,830 Mt and per capita emissions to 2.6 tonnes by the year 2030. The decline in emissions intensity of GDP nearly doubles to 42 per cent, over 2007 levels, by 2030, states the report.

India, despite being among the lowest emitters of greenhouse gases (GHGs), in per capita terms, is highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change, and the country needs to invest as much as USD 830 Billion in ‘Low Carbon Strategies’ by 2030, revealed a new report prepared by an Expert Group set up by the Planning Commission of India.

The report states that though India is one of the lowest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world, yet it is threatened by the impact of global warming and climate change. “And this impact is not just a concern of the distant future! An increased frequency and intensity of extreme natural conditions such as storms, cyclones, longer dry spells, erratic rainfall, etc. is already perceptible today,” the report reads further. All the projection in the report has been made on the bases of the official greenhouse gas inventory available for the year 2007, and makes projections going forward up to the year 2030.

Highlighting the contribution of different sectors in the report, the expert group headed by Kirit Parikh, a former member of the Planning Commission (Energy) suggests that as accelerating urbanisation takes urban population to 600 million plus by 2030, demand for electricity will rise, and the country will need to invest in regulatory standards, and also formulates promotional schemes, which encourage the use of efficient lighting, heating, ventilation, air-conditioning (HVAC), and electric motor based appliances in the residential and commercial establishments across the country. Pointing out construction activity as the second largest economic activity in India, one of the analysis in the report estimates carbon abatement potential, by appropriating ‘Energy Conservation Building Code’ into the proposed construction of buildings, to help reduce the need for lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning. The Expert Group emphasises the importance of creating a policy environment that incentivises builders and owners alike, to opt for energy efficient options in their buildings.

Further, the report highlights the importance of efficient coal power plants in future and use of renewable energy resources. It also states, “Integration of large scale wind and solar power requires additional technologies, which can ensure smooth grid operation.”

The report includes analysis of options and outcomes in a macroeconomic model that combines bottom-up and top-down approaches gauging different policy options, and explore individual policy options, and the scope of reducing energy use and emissions in households, buildings, industry and transport sectors respectively. It also explores the problems of expanding capacities of renewable power based on solar and wind energy.

The Model output is summarized through two endpoint scenarios: the BIG (Baseline, Inclusive Growth) and the LCIG (Low Carbon, Inclusive Growth). While inclusive actions remain unchanged between the two scenarios, low carbon strategies span the vector space between them. Pursuit of Low Carbon Strategies brings down the average GDP growth rate by 0.15 percentage points, while per capita CO2 emissions (in 2030) fall from 3.6 tonnes per person in the BIG scenario to 2.6 tonnes per person in the LCIG scenario. However, in both the scenarios, the total carbon emissions continue to rise up to the year 2030, states the report. Have a look at some of the charts presented in the report on the next page. The entire report is available at http://planningcommission.nic.in/.