Developed countries with emission intensitiy much above world average must reduce it: R K Singh – EQ
In Short : The call for emission reductions from developed countries with intensities surpassing the world average reflects an awareness of historical emissions and the associated impact on the environment. This emphasis on accountability represents an essential dimension in international climate negotiations and efforts to establish fair and inclusive frameworks for mitigating global greenhouse gas emissions.
In Detail : Gandhinagar : Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh on Friday said the developed countries whose per capita emission of greenhouse gases is twice or thrice the world average must reduce it, and this should be discussed at the ongoing COP28 or the UN Climate Change Conference.
The issue of phasing out of coal power plants by India was a “diversionary tactic topic” of “anti-development forces”, and the country’s per capita emission is one of the lowest in the world, the minister said, talking to reporters on the sidelines of a conference on ‘Energy Transition in India – Road Travelled and Opportunities Ahead’ here.
“Our emission intensity is 2.19 tonnes per capita per annum which is one of the lowest in the world, while global average is 6.8 tonnes. We are the only country which has achieved our NDCs (nationally determined contributions) nine years in advance. We had pledged that by 2030 we will reduce our emission intensity by 33 per cent (from 2005 levels). We achieved our targets by 2019,” Singh said.
India had pledged that by 2030, 40 percent of its energy generation will be through non-fossil fuels, but it has achieved the target before time as the country’s non-fossil fuel capacity now stands at 43 per cent, he added.
“When discussion will happen in COP28 in Dubai, we want to say that countries who have double or triple emission intensity than the global average… There is a need that those developed countries should reduce this and there should be a debate on it,” Singh said.
Notably, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is currently attending COP28.
“When the global average is 6.8 tonnes, some countries have emission intensity of 15 tonnes,” Singh further pointed out.
To a question on phasing out of coal as a fuel for energy generation in India, the minister said, “It is a diversionary tactic topic floated by anti-development forces. The question is, who is emitting how much? The global rise of temperatures is due to emission of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases. What is important is who is emitting how much.
“India’s emission is one third of global average. The global rise in temperature by 1.1 degree is due to emission by developed countries which is 80 percent of all emissions….India’s contribution of the total world emission is just three per cent while our population in the world is 17 per cent,” he said.
“The need is that those whose emission is twice or thrice of global average should reduce it. If we burn 1 kg of coal and they burn 100 kg of petroleum, who is producing more emission? So we should not talk about coal but discussion should be about who is emitting more,” the minister added.
If the global rise in temperatures over pre-industrial levels is to be limited to 1.5 degrees, the available carbon space is 250 gigatons or six tonnes per capita per annum, Singh said.
“Our emission is 2.19 tonnes (per capita per annum). Emissions of developed countries are 14, 15, 16 tonnes,” he pointed out.
It is crucial to have a high nuclear power generation capacity if India wanted to have round-the-clock supply of clean energy, the minister said, adding that the country has an installed capacity of 7000 mw of nuclear power and another 15,000 mw capacity will be added soon.
“We want to increase it to 50,000 to 60,000 mw or even 1,00,000,” he said.
When India embarked on its nuclear power generation program, several countries did not want it to “go in that direction”, but those challenges were overcome, Singh said, adding that India needs to build “an ecosystem for credible increase in nuclear power generation” and promote the role of private sector.
Indigenous manufacturing of renewable energy components like solar cells, costly storage of renewable energy and distribution of power were among the challenges before India’s energy sector, the minister said.