EU-India: Cooperation on climate

EU-India: Cooperation on climate

The European Parliament Research Services have produced a briefing on EU-India :Cooperation on climate as an update for Members of the European Parliament.

The EU and India are respectively the third and the fourth largest emitters of atmosphere-warming greenhouse gases. Meanwhile, India’s per-capita emissions are much lower than those of other major economies.

India is acutely affected by climate change and is strongly dependent on coal as a source of primary energy. Nevertheless, it is now a leader in the promotion of renewable energy and has fixed ambitious targets in terms of electricity-generation capacity from renewables. Along these lines, Delhi is a major promoter of the International Solar Alliance and, alongside other partners, the founder of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.

The EU and India have assumed a leading role in fighting climate change and have been increasingly cooperating with each other in this field, at both public- and private-sector levels. They have agreed partnerships on sectoral issues such as clean energy, water and urban development. The EU is supporting several Indian projects on climate action, sustainability and clean energy.

At their 15th summit, held in July 2020, the EU and India placed a strong focus on climate change and reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate for the implementation of the Paris Agreement and to engage constructively in its first global stocktaking in 2023.

In October 2015, ahead of the conference that culminated in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, Delhi submitted its nationally determined contribution (NDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It committed to a 33-35 % reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2030 compared to their 2005 levels. It furthermore committed to creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through increased forest and tree cover by 2030.

The Indian government reaffirmed its commitment even after the United States’ withdrawal from the agreement.

India is also a leader in the promotion of renewable energy: in March 2018, Prime Minister NarendraModi, together with French President Emmanuel Macron, co-chaired the founding conference of the International Solar Alliance (ISA). The ISA secretariat is in India and its director-general is UpendraTripathy from India. At the September 2019 UN Climate Action Summit, Modi launched the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), a global partnership aiming to promote resilience of new and existing infrastructure systems to climate and disaster risks, whose secretariat will be in Delhi.

In 2008, the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change (PMCCC) released the first national plan on climate change (NAPCC), outlining eight national missions running up to 2017, when three more were added. The NAPCC acknowledged that climate change and energy security were two sides of the same coin. Furthermore, each state had to submit its own action plan on climate change (SAPCC).

Since then, India has made substantial progress in scaling up clean cooking, one of its initiatives in this regard being the Pradhan Mantri Ujwala Yojana (PMUY) scheme that connected 80 million women living in poor households to cooking gas (LPG) free of charge. A plan to end stubble burning in order to cut air pollution in some northern states has not been equally successful, but efforts continue.

As regards water, in 2019 India launched the Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA) campaign in order to implement a long-term water conservation strategy. In the domain of transport, the government has fixed a target of 30 % of electric vehicles by 2030, alongside a target of 100 % of electric three- wheelers by 2023 and electric two-wheelers by 2025. India has yet to adopt legislation on a net-zero emission target.

After fixing a target of 175 gigawatts (GW) in electricity generation capacity from renewables by 2022, (including 100GW of solar power), Delhi’s national electricity plan (NEP), adopted in January 2018, raised this target to 275 GW by 2027, giving a clear boost to renewables and reducing fossil fuels in the country’s energy mix. In January 2019, the government announced a more ambitious target of 500 GW of renewables by 2028, to achieve a target of 40 % of the country’s electricity generated from non-fossil fuels by 2030 (350 GW would come from solar and 140 GW from wind).

The full report from the EPRS is available:

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