India has taken a diametrically different view on climate change for the external world - and the internal. For the larger world, there has been a tough as titanium stand that those who polluted for decades via massive industrialisation of their economies have no right to preach from the pulpit when India needs to industrialise rapidly. We shall be the masters of our destiny. Instead, the world must measure per capita emission rather than absolute carbon footprint - an area where West still outdoes India on emissions. That stance, though, is vastly different from the aggressive green efforts at home to live in harmony with nature. The nation has set and achieved some tough targets.
In the third Biennial Report to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) submitted in February 2021, India disclosed that the country's emission intensity of gross domestic product has been cut by 24 per cent during 2005-16, well within and before the target of 20-25 per cent by 2020. Its share of non-fossil energy as a percentage of power produced is already 38 per cent against a target of 40 per cent by 2030.
The spotlight is now on the big emitters to get India to the goal of zero carbon by 2050. Some of the country's largest business houses are aligning themselves with the nation's commitment to the Paris Agreement. Tatas, Reliance Industries, Aditya Birla Group, Mahindras, ITC, Larsen and Toubro, Adani, JSW, Essar, Vedanta, ACC and others have already articulated their intention to achieve "net zero emission" by slashing greenhouse gases. Read Nevin John's account of how they are matching their ambitions with India's green targets.
Next, power sector takes the maximum blame for carbon emissions. It could get acute as India's energy demand is projected to shoot up from 170 GW in FY20 to 430 GW by FY 2037, due to growing industrialisation, rising population and better economic growth. Power generators have to make the dramatic transition to green energy rapidly. Between 2010-15, while the coal-based capacity addition was 82,000 MW, solar capacity addition was just 3,000 MW. In the next five years, while 58,000 MW of coal capacity was added, the solar capacity addition was an impressive 34,000 MW. In the period 2020-25, it's projected to reverse with projected solar capacity addition of 62,000 MW outweighing coal's 32,000 MW. The next five years are set to be even more dramatic, says International Energy Agency: solar addition will be 1,18,000 MW, while coal would be just 1,000 MW. P.B. Jayakumar takes you through how India's biggest power producers are keeping pace with this change.
In this power-packed issue, you will discover how oil companies are transforming themselves for a fossil-fuel free world. Why vehicle scrappage policy disappoints and green investing has a long, arduous road ahead.
Don't miss Jayakumar's story on Alang's metamorphosis into a climate-friendly ship-breaking ecosystem in less than 10 years and Ashutosh Kumar's fascinating account of how India's biggest transporter - the massive Indian Railways that moves 24 million passengers and 3.3 million tonnes of freight daily - aims to be net zero by 2030.