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India net-zero pathway needs to combine realism with ambition

April 23, 2021

Saur Energy:

With U.S. climate envoy John Kerry’s visit to India a rumour of a potential net zero announcement by India is doing the rounds. A recent flurry of reports and commentary has thrown the spotlight on India’s emerging ‘net zero’ emissions position. Whether net zero is slated for 2050 to beat China by a decade, 2047 to help mark 100 years of Independence, or some other year matters less than the trajectory India follows to achieve it.

In our view, writes Vibhuti Garg, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) Energy Economist, Lead India, that a net zero plan for India that combines credibility and realism with ambition is highly desirable. In framing the whole-of-country policy landscape required, the year in which India can achieve net zero needs to be identified based on a detailed roadmap for all sectors. Until now it was a grey area. But detailed analyses from the CEEW and a joint report by TERI and Shell chart the pathways, providing insights as to what net zero entails in terms of action required.

The author believes that India needs to adopt a sectoral approach for achieving carbon neutrality. In sectors and industries like power, transport, new building construction and energy efficient appliances, where there are cost-competitive clean energy alternatives available, net zero can be achieved much earlier. Furthermore, India needs to establish whether to take a top-down or bottom-up approach. We are already seeing net zero announcements by various companies such as Tata, Reliance, Mahindra, ITC, Adani and Dalmia Cement which are pledging to move voluntarily towards carbon neutrality. 

[Soumya Duggal]

More: Finance Needs to be at the Centre of India’s ‘Net Zero’ Discussion: IEEFA

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