India says it will cut GHGs by 25% by 2020

New Delhi (GLOBE-Net) – India’s current energy and environmental strategy will reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than 25% by 2020, a senior government official has said.

Dr. Pradipto Ghosh, Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, made the statement at a news conference in New Delhi, saying that India is “following a sustainable development path, ensuring energy conservation, improved energy efficiency in various sectors and use of renewable energy.

“Our modelling approaches show the effect of many of our policies taken together that the year 2020 will result in a more than a 25 percent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions,” he added.

India produces around four percent of global anthropogenic GHG emissions, with a population of over one billion – one sixth of the world’s total. In 2001, India ranked fifth in the world in GHG emissions, behind the United States, China, Russia and Japan. India is one of the fastest growing renewable energy markets in the world, attracting huge investment in wind and solar power. Upcoming government budgets provide tax exemptions for wind turbine production, and other legislation includes compulsory renewable obligations which mandate renewable energy investment. According to the Ernst & Young Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index, China and India will become the most attractive countries in the world for renewable energy investment and projects by 2012.

Other government policies to reduce GHG output include energy efficiency measures, power sector reforms, encouragement of alternative transportation fuels such as natural gas, and reforestation, said Ghosh.

India is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, but as a developing country is not bound by any emissions reduction targets. However, expected economic growth and rising emissions have caused other countries, including the United States, to call on India to commit to reductions. A major reason for U.S. rejection of the Kyoto Protocol has been the lack of targets for countries such as India and China.

India’s government believes that developed countries, with much higher per capita GHG emissions, are responsible for the majority of the climate change problem and should therefore take the lead in reducing emissions. India will take action but rejects hard targets, said Ghosh, claiming that “legally mandated measures for reducing greenhouse gas emissions are likely to have significant adverse impacts on GDP growth of developing countries, including India.”

India’s GDP has been growing at a rate of around 8 percent annually, while GHG emissions are estimated to be rising by around 2-3 percent each year. Oil consumption has doubled since 1992, and coal provides around half of India’s energy needs.

But along with other developing countries, India is reluctant to curb economic growth that will lift many out of poverty in order to reduce GHG emissions. The world’s poor will suffer greatly from climate change, and rich nations should assume most of the burden of climate change mitigation, said Ghosh, stating that India spends 2.17 percent of GDP annually on addressing the variability of climate.

Still, India does support Kyoto and is the largest participant in the protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), with more than 600 projects approved to date. The CDM allows industrialized countries to earn carbon credits to be applied against emissions targets by investing in emissions reductions in developing nations.

India is participating at the G8 summit in Germany this week, invited along with Brazil, China, Mexico and South Africa to discuss issues of energy and climate change. Leaders of industrialized nations are currently at odds over the inclusion of climate change on the agenda for an upcoming summit, with the European Union calling for deep cuts and emissions targets under the jurisdiction of the United Nations, an approach that is opposed by the United States. India and China will be key players at the meeting, which is seen as a pivotal event leading up to the negotiation of a new global climate change regime and a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

For More Information: Reuters

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