Climate Change: India’s Solution- Part 2 of 2
Published 13th November 2010 - 0 comments - 1230 views -
The previous post on the issue talked about the Indian stance as a developing nation on the variety of issues that takes its attention away from strictly focusing on addressing the global concern of the climate change. The post also put forward the need of seeking a climate change solution due to the high damage potential to the population and the resources that inconsistent climate variability manifests. The two contrasts can be dealt effectively only if the policy makers juxtapose them as the priorities of the national policy framework.
Now Indian administration has started to make amendments in their development criteria and policy routing channels. They need to understand that for sustenance of a high growth rate, apart from increasing the living standards of a vast majority of people, it is now also crucial to reduce their vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.
Apart from affirmation from developed countries to direct the financial resources and the technology transfer to adapt and mitigate the climate change trouble, India needs to leverage its domestic landscape with a credible set of policies and initiatives.
National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC)
NAPCC is one of the appreciable step taken by the Indian government to directly bring the climate change mitigation on the national development agenda. The action plan, stating a political statement that Indian per capita emission will never exceed that of developed nations, proposes “a directional shift in the development pathway” that promotes development objectives while also yielding co-benefits for addressing climate change effectively.
“In charting out a development pathway, which is ecologically sustainable, India has a wider spectrum of choices precisely because it is at an early stage of development. Our vision is to create a prosperous, but not wasteful society, an economy that is self-sustaining in terms of its ability to unleash the creative energies of our people and its mindful of our responsibilities to both present and future generations.” -India's National Action Plan on Climate Change
The action plan which was released by the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in 2008 focuses on harnessing renewable energy (rather than the stringent emission targets) and integrating it as a core element of the development process. It also recognizes the need of acting in multi fronts and putting appropriate institutional mechanisms to deal with the climate change challenge. There are eight national missions that form the core of the plan in integrating strategies and accelerated implementation.
The missions are:
National Solar Mission
- National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency
- National Mission on Sustainable Habitat
- National Water Mission
- National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem
- National Mission for a Green India
- National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture
- National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change
The detailed focus of individual missions and their projected role in the development efforts can be seen here.
The implementation process which institutionalizes the missions to respective ministries also seeks the support of inter sectoral groups and ministries to overcome the issue with a collaborative and cooperative effort.
A Multi-Stakeholder Approach
Talking numbers, the energy sector is a major producer of CO2 in India. Our energy needs are mostly fed by coal (53%) which is abundant, locally available and cheap when compared to alternative fuels.
The source classification of energy in India seeks a serious attention. An analysis of the overall proportion of renewable and other alternate forms of energy shows that the proportion is not on the same trajectory as India's growth. This has led to a piteous emission to generation ratio of 0.82 (tCO2/MWhr) in the year 2008-2009. [source]
Source: Frost and Sullivan
Even though the per capita levels in India are less than the twentieth of that in the US but as per data published by Central Electricity Authority, CO2 emissions in power sector are continuously increasing at the annual rate of 4.43% in all parts of the country. Therefore the key stakeholders in mitigating the national emission levels are Ministry of Power and the Ministry of Renewable Energy among others.
Ministry of Power, which deals with the 60% of India's emissions will be directly affected by the 20-25% emission curbing plan that India currently has. The issues of inadequate generation capacity, high transmission and distribution (T & D) losses etc apart from the high emission to generation ratio seeks the reassessment of the Ministry's action plan. The ministry's objective of “Power to all by 2012” is of no use until they can vouch for its sustenance and maintain the ecological balance.
Ministry of Renewable Energy needs to design appropriate framework to harness the abundant alternative sources that the country has. India receives about 3000 hours of sunshine every day (equivalent to over 5000 trillion kWh. Also India has a potential of about 20 MW per sq. km. Even after being geographically blessed in terms of resources, India's investment in solar energy is very less compared to its growth-confrere China. The share of solar power in total generation is less than 0.1%. The government needs to put forward their sincere support in order to make private institutions pay attention and make a foray into the renewable energy sector. This support can come in the form of subsidies and feed-in tariff as seen in western nations.
As stated by the NAPCC, plan for reducing future emissions and their growth is leveraged by the country's developing status. The focus should be on renewable energy and energy efficiency to keep tab on carbon footprint.
It needs to integrate adaptation to the national development activities. The socio-economic policies, development projects and implementation strategies need to be revisited and reassessed to remove the vulnerabilities that the climate change uncertainty presents. Again I want to emphasize that the time has come when the country's growth level is gauged not only by the people's living standard but also by it's ability to sustain that.
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