India, the world’s second-most populous country, is presently the fifth-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. As a fast-growing nation still struggling to address pervasive poverty, India’s primary national goal is to provide its 1 billion citizens with an improved standard of living and access to basic needs such as electricity and clean water.
Despite being a leading source of global carbon emissions, India has very low per capita energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. At 1.2 metric tons of CO2 emissions per person each year—compared with the world average of 4.5 metric tons (and over 20 tons for U.S. residents)—India ranks 139th in the world in per capita emissions.
But India is expected to experience explosive economic and population growth: In two decades it will likely be home to some 1.5 billion people and surpass China as the world’s most populous country. To accommodate this growth and meet its aggressive goals for poverty alleviation and human development, India needs to significantly increase its power generation capacity. Unless its leaders choose clean energy technologies and encourage investments in energy efficiency, India’s CO2 emissions are projected to increase dramatically over the next decade.
India’s leaders are acutely conscious of the need to provide a more reliable—and climate-friendly—energy system to grow the economy and spread prosperity. They have already enacted a comprehensive National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) that includes mitigation and adaptation measures. The plan consists of eight national missions, including targets for solar energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable cities. The NAPCC has generated significant domestic momentum toward low-carbon growth. Additionally, India is engaging other countries in collaborative research, development, demonstration, and dissemination of clean technologies.
India’s opportunities for low-carbon growth are plentiful (see cost curve, at right). For example, improving the energy efficiency of industrial processes such as cement production offers significant CO2 reductions that actually save money. Modernizing India’s power sector by expanding solar and wind capacity can also slash emissions. According to some analyses, carbon-reduction measures in India have the potential to account for 8 percent of the worldwide reductions needed to limit annual global greenhouse gas emissions to 35 billion metric tons by 2030.
Created in 2008, the Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation’s mission is to build a sustainable and secure future for India’s citizens by supporting policies that promote energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, and renewable energy. Shakti, ClimateWorks’ Regional Climate Foundation for India, supports development and implementation of several key policies highlighted by India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change—especially those relating to solar power, energy efficiency, green buildings, sustainable transportation, and rural energy services. Shakti and its grantees work with public officials, NGOs, and private companies to help secure reliable, efficient, and low-carbon development.
News & Reports
An assessment of wind energy in India by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found that the potential for on-shore wind energy deployment is far higher than the earlier estimates. The new research shows that the potential is about 20 times--and, in places, up to 30 times--greater than the current estimate of 102 gigawatts.
This paper provides an overview of India’s energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, its drivers, and a future outlook.
With the launch of its bus corridor in April 2008, Delhi took the first step toward developing a sustainable transport network for the city.