Action on climate change may be the biggest challenge humankind is facing today. The consequences of inaction are escalating and hitting both rich and poor countries alike. It has therefore become imperative to move beyond traditional political and historical structures while deciding responsibilities for climate change action.
On its part, India, which is the fourth-largest global emitter after China, the US and the EU, is taking the lead with a number of initiatives to fight the battle against climate change. Prime among these is its target to install 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, which has recently been scaled up to 450 GW. The country has also been leading the global efforts to enhance solar energy capacity through the International Solar Alliance, with a target of 20-100 GW by 2022.
And, the results are visible. For the first time in history, India has been ranked among the top 10 countries working on the climate protection mission. According to the Climate Change Performance Index presented at the COP25 climate summit, only two G20 countries, the UK and India, are ranked in the “high” category. India is in the ninth spot. This is a positive development after the recent criticism faced by India.
The Global Climate Risk 2020 report released by non-profit Germanwatch identifies India amongst the worst affected by extreme weather events, with floods in Kerala, tropical cyclones such as Gaja and Titli, and a prolonged heatwave in 2018 causing around 2,081 deaths. It also underlines that India ranks second in terms of “economic loss” due to extreme weather conditions, and third in terms of both human fatalities and economic losses when considered for a two-decade period. The World Bank report released in 2018, too, revealed that overall climate change in India would push GDP down by 2.8 per cent. This drop in GDP would cost India $1.1 trillion by 2050. According to a statement issued by the government at the summit, India has been able to reduce the emission intensity of its GDP by 21 per cent and is on track to achieve 35 per cent emission reduction as committed under the Paris Agreement.
Despite an overall high rating for its“Climate Policy” performance, India is yet to develop a successful roadmap, which can facilitate the country’s transition to clean fuels across sectors including mobility, power and industrial heat.