In the four years since the historic Paris Agreement on climate change came into effect, the spectre of climate change has only loomed larger.
Australia’s debilitating wildfires wildfires The New York Times Climate Change Affected Australia’s Wildfires, Scientists Confirm Read more . India’s regular floods season floods season DownToEarth How climate change has increased flood events in India Read more . Bangladesh’s land erosion-induced migration migration The New Humanitarian Bangladesh’s disappearing river lands Read more . Or melting melting Scientific American A Russian Ice Cap Is Collapsing--It Could Be a Warning Read more ice sheets in Russia. A lot of untold damage can be chalked up to climate change.
Under the Paris Agreement—drafted in 2015 and signed the following year within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change—India and 188 other countries and territories committed to do their bit. To control the rise in global temperature to two degrees Celsius this century. And, if possible, restrict it to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
At first glance, India seems to be well on its way to achieving its targets under the accord. But there is more to it than meets the eye.
India made two key commitments:
- Reduction in the emissions per dollar of GDP to levels 33-35% below that in 2005 by 2030
- At least 40% of all energy capacity in the country should be from renewable sources
On the emissions per dollar front, India is already nearly 14% below 2005 levels, a figure that’s steadily on its way downward.
Meanwhile, while India wants 40% of its energy to come from renewable sources, we’re already almost there with a decade left to go. Renewables make up 37% of the total energy capacity today, thanks to a good chunk of hydroelectricity, which itself had seen a push had seen a push PBS The Damned. Water Wants: A History of India's Dams Read more in post-Independence India. Today, solar holds the hydroelectricity seat.
While it’s commendable that India’s well on its way to meeting its targets, they were never that hard to reach in the first place, notes Aditya Valiathan Pillai, senior researcher at New Delhi-based think tank Centre for Policy Research (CPR).