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RELEASE: India Can Achieve Its Climate Goals While Maintaining Strong Economic Growth

NEW DELHI (DECEMBER 20, 2017) – India can meet and potentially exceed its national climate change goals, finds a new working paper by World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Open Climate Network (OCN). The paper, Pathways For Meeting India’s Climate Goals, shows that India can maintain an annual GDP growth of 6 to 7 percent while taking action on climate.

India’s climate goals, adopted under the Paris Agreement, include reducing the emissions intensity of the country's GDP by 33 to 35 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The new study finds that India can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 43 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 by effectively implementing and further enhancing five current climate and energy policies that the study analyzed.

“This study shows that India can meet both its climate and development goals without compromising one for the other,” said Apurba Mitra, lead author and policy lead for WRI India’s Climate and Energy Programs. “India is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts, and whether they are heatwaves or floods, the poorest are often the most affected. Economic development and climate action need to go hand in hand.”

The five ambitious policies analyzed in the study include: the Perform, Achieve, and Trade (PAT) scheme; dedicated freight corridor networks; a clean environment “cess” or tax; renewable power by 2022; and the Energy Conservation Building Code.

● The PAT scheme is a domestic cap-and-trade scheme that was set up in March 2012. It incentivizes energy efficiency measures in the most energy intensive sectors of the economy.

● The government is also developing dedicated railway freight corridors to meet future freight demand. Trains are a low-carbon mode of transport and dedicated freight corridors would move freight off India’s roads, thereby reducing air pollution from the tail pipes of trucks.

● The government has a clean environment tax of INR 400 ($6.17) per tonne on coal, lignite, and peat with proceeds directed toward innovative projects that promote clean energy technologies (now expanded to other initiatives as well).

● India also plans to install 175 gigawatts of renewable power capacity by 2022, including a target to ramp up solar installed capacity to 100 gigawatts. Overall, the country also plans to increase the share of non-fossil fuel based capacity in its energy mix to 40 percent by 2030.

● Finally, the Energy Conservation Building Code, launched in 2007, provides guidelines setting minimum energy standards in new commercial buildings.

Pankaj Bhatia, Deputy Director of WRI’s Climate Program, said, “India is being a leader on the world stage by stepping up its climate commitments. Despite having one of the lowest per capita emissions and significant development challenges, India is setting an example for others to follow.”

The study finds these policies would not adversely impact economic growth, as India could maintain annual GDP growth of 6 to 7 percent while taking strong action on climate. The climate and energy policies can also deliver significant development benefits, including reduced air pollution, a modest increase in jobs and bolstered investment in environmental initiatives. The policies could increase average household income by 3 to 5 percent by 2030.

“These ambitious policies show that India is taking its climate change commitments seriously and embarking on concrete actions to address this planetary problem,” said Dr. OP Agarwal, Chief Executive Officer of WRI India. “India can tackle climate change, even while growing its economy and improving the environment. This is a win-win.”


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