India Working Towards A Future Powered By Renewables

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – India is committed to protecting the climate, irrespective of the Paris agreement. That’s what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said last month, at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), just as President Trump pulled America out of the pact. Modi stated, “It is not a question of which way I go. We must leave for our future generations a climate wherein they can breathe clean air and have a healthy life.”

Earlier, at the same event, he stated, “India is a responsible nation with regard to climate change...We can milk the nature... Exploitation of nature is not acceptable to us.” Modi reminded the audience that India had been working to protect the environment even before the Paris deal was reached in 2015. “For the last 5,000 years, even when I was not born, it has been the tradition in India to protect the environment.”

Just a few years ago, India was furiously building coal-fired power plants, more than doubling its capacity. Yet, there’s been a roundabout change, as India says it has no need for new coal-fired plants for at least a decade and has started canceling the building of many plants. The government intends to invest in renewable sources for all its additional power needs. There’s a growing anger in India around air pollution and the economic benefits of cheaper, renewable sources of energy. Together, these factors have inspired Modi's government to be a strong supporter for greener initiatives.

According to the UN climate deal, the US and other countries have committed to keep rising global temperatures “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and “endeavor to limit” them to 1.5 degrees Celsius. India is the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind China and America. Its energy needs are great, as a rapidly developing country, especially as nearly a quarter of its population has no electricity and many others get it only intermittently. Therefore, as this region’s power needs grow because its economy continues to expand, its energy use will heavily influence the world’s chances of containing the greenhouse gases that scientists believe are driving global warming.

The Indian government has long argued that it was hypocritical of Western nations that have burned fossil fuels for centuries to ask India to sacrifice its growth to cope with the effects. However, Modi’s administration has set ambitious targets for a greener Indian future.

This April, the Indian administration announced ambitious plans for the country to take steps to assure that by 2030 only electric cars would be sold. The Indian government’s policy research arm, the National Institution for Transforming India, released a joint report with the Rocky Mountain Institute in Boulder, Colorado, that calculated India could save $60 billion and reduce its projected carbon emissions by 37 percent by 2030 if it adopted widespread use of electric vehicles and more public transportation!

India is working towards a future powered by renewables, aiming to be 40 percent renewables-powered by 2030. In a post-Paris world, this is positive news for the planet. 

Photo Credit: Ministry of New And Renewable Energy