The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modhi, became the first world leader to make an individual national pledge at COP26, when he committed India to meeting Net Zero emissions by 2070.
Euphemistically coined by Modhi as the "panchamrita" (a 5-ingredient offering used in Hindu religious worship), India's five points to achieving net zero are as follows:
- Increasing its non-fossil energy capacity to 500GW by 2030
- Fulfilling 50% of its energy requirements from renewable energy resources by 2030
- Reducing the total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes from now till 2030
- Reducing the carbon intensity of its economy to less than 45% by 2030 and
- Achieving the target of Net Zero by 2070.
In 2020, India's Central Electricity Authority (CEA) produced a report, which gave certain projections on the country's energy mix in 2029-30. The report revealed that India's current installed non-fossil energy capacity – made up of hydro (45.4GW), renewables (82.6GW), and nuclear (6.8GW) – was 134.8 GW and is projected to be 535 GW (out of a total installed capacity of 817 GW 2030). Under this scenario India will be able to achieve its first aim of increasing its non-fossil energy capacity to 500GW by 2030.
India's remaining targets are certainly more ambitious. According to the CEA report, India's second aim is based on the projection that by 2030, Coal (+ lignite) will constitute 266 GW of the country's energy mix – an increase of just 63 GW from 2019. However, while India must abruptly end its investment in coal if it is to achieve these goals, with over 35 GW of coal plants under construction and an energy system that continues to be heavily reliant on thermal power, this is easier said than done.
India's five-point plan to achieving Net Zero by 2070 is nevertheless a determined and ambitious target. It has been reported that, taken with other recent pledges on emissions made in Glasgow, India's new targets could be enough to bring the world's emissions trajectory on a pathway below 2oc for the first time (subject to corresponding commitments materialising). However, this figure has been disputed by some and still remains greater than the preferable 1.5oc target outlined in the Paris Agreement.