Financial Times in its recent write up ‘India plots tricky path to growth and net zero’ maintains that economic ambition limits New Delhi’s willingness to radically stretch targets and curb growing emissions

India is among a few countries which give importance to economic growth and reducing carbon emissions as well. It aims to become a $20 trillion economy by 2047 by managing to achieve a sustained growth rate of 7 to 7.5 percent for the next 25 years. But all this not at the cost of the country’s environmental health. A reflection to this regard can be seen in India’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) which envisages enhanced contributions towards achievement of the strengthening of global response to the threat of climate change, as agreed under the Paris Agreement.

As per the updated NDC, India stands committed to reduce emissions intensity of the GDP by 45 percent by 2030, from 2005 level and achieve about 50 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy sources by 2030. The updated NDC lays stress on a healthy and sustainable way of living based on traditions and values of conservation and moderation, including through a mass movement for ‘LIFE’— ‘Lifestyle for Environment’ as a key to combating climate change.

The vision of LIFE is to live a lifestyle that is in tune with our planet and does not harm it. India’s updated NDC also captures this citizen centric approach to combat climate change. India’s updated NDC reaffirms its commitment to work towards a low carbon emission pathway, while simultaneously endeavouring to achieve sustainable development goals.

The updated NDC represents the framework for India’s transition to cleaner energy for the period 2021-2030. The updated framework, together with many other initiatives of the Government, including tax concessions and incentives such as Production Linked Incentive scheme for promotion of manufacturing and adoption of renewable energy, will provide an opportunity for enhancing India’s manufacturing capabilities and enhancing exports.

As per statistics of 2020, India was the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide by volume but its per capita emissions were lower than the world average, according to the UN's Emissions Gap Report (EGR). According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), at 2.4 tCO2e (tonne carbon dioxide equivalent), India’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions were far below the world average of 6.3 tCO2e in 2020.

“India remains far below the world average at 2.4 tCO2e. On average, least developed countries emit 2.3 tCO2e per capita annually,” the report said. The report also maintained that India’s contribution to historical cumulative CO2 emissions (excluding LULUCF) is 3 percent, whereas the US and the EU have contributed 25 percent and 17 percent respectively to total fossil CO2 emissions from 1850 to 2019, still only India is being targeted.