Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

A partnership to carry India into net-zero future


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Commitment to net-zero emission targets

Mains level: Paper 3- Transition towards clean energy


At a time when our planet faces an existential crisis, there is little doubt that we need innovative, scientific and urgent steps to secure humanity’s future.

India’s climate commitment

  • We need to act decisively to reach global net-zero, restricting future cumulative emissions to the remaining carbon budget — as COP26 noted — if the rise in temperature is to remain within the limits of the Paris Agreement.
  • At COP26, India announced its climate commitments — the “Panchamrit”, including a commitment to reach net-zero by 2070.
  • India’s announcement of its net-zero goal is a major step considering that our country is not the cause of global warming.
  • Its historical cumulative emissions are a mere 4.37 per cent of the world’s total. 

India’s steps to achieve the targets

[1] India’s renewable energy targets and achievements

  • India’s renewable energy targets have steadily become more ambitious, from the 175 GW by 2022 declared at Paris, to 450 GW by 2030 at the UN Climate Summit, and now 500 GW by 2030, announced at COP26.
  • India has also announced the target of 50 per cent installed power generation capacity from non-fossil energy sources by 2030, raising the existing target of 40 per cent, which has already been almost achieved.
  • Renewable technologies: India will not lag in terms of new cutting-edge renewable technologies and has already announced a Hydrogen Energy Mission for grey and green hydrogen.
  • In energy efficiency, the market-based scheme of Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) has avoided 92 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions during its first and second cycles.

[2] India’s E-mobility transtion

  • FAME: India is accelerating its e-mobility transition with the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles Scheme to support the electric vehicle market development and enable its manufacturing ecosystem to achieve self-sustenance.
  • Incentives for customers and companies: The government has also announced a slew of incentives for customers and companies to promote e-vehicles.
  • Adoption of BS-VI: India leapfrogged from Bharat Stage-IV (BS-IV) to Bharat Stage-VI (BS-VI) emission norms by April 1, 2020.
  • Scrapping policy: A voluntary vehicle scrapping policy to phase out old and unfit vehicles now complements these schemes.
  • Electrification of railway routes: Indian Railways is charging ahead, targeting the full electrification of all broad-gauge routes by 2023.

[3] Ujjwala Yojana and UJALA

  • The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana has benefitted 88 million households with LPG connections.
  • More than 367 million LED bulbs have been distributed under the UJALA scheme, leading to energy savings of more than 47 billion units of electricity per year and a reduction of 38.6 million tonnes of CO2 per year.
  • With these and many other initiatives, India has already achieved a reduction of 24 per cent in the emission intensity of its GDP between 2005 and 2016, and is on track to meet its target of 33 to 35 per cent by 2030.

Role of private sector

  • Since industries also contribute to GHG emissions, any climate action will need to reduce or offset emissions that emerge from industrial and commercial activity.
  • The public and private sectors in India are already playing a key role in meeting the climate challenge, helped by growing customer and investor awareness, as well as increasing regulatory and disclosure requirements.
  • Enterprises are well-positioned to not just adapt to but also gain from the low-carbon transition.
  • The low-carbon transition challenge is bigger for companies that are largely coal-powered and contribute more than half of our country’s emissions.
  • The business fraternity must make the best possible use of this opportunity to invest in climate technologies and expand the use of renewable energy sources.
  • The Indian cement industry has taken pioneering measures and achieved one of the biggest sectoral low carbon milestones worldwide.

Way forward

  • India’s journey on the low-carbon pathway towards net-zero requires the active participation of all stakeholders.
  • Sustainable lifestyles and climate justice are at the core of this journey.


With cooperation from the private sector, India will be able to responsibly use its fair share of the global carbon space and contribute to reaching the global net-zero goal to build a more environmentally sustainable planet.

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