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Updated: Oct 16, 2022

What does it mean to achieve net-zero emission?

To achieve net-zero emissions, we must remove an equivalent amount of CO2 from the atmosphere as we emit it. Despite recent advances in sustainable technology, carbon emissions continue to rise. Current climate change pledges are insufficient to preserve the earth under 1.5°C of pre-industrial temperatures. To fight the rising threat of climate change, urgent and coordinated global action is required within the next decade.

Challenges India has on its road to achieving net-zero emission

At the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) held in the year 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi committed India to a net-zero carbon emissions target by 2070. That puts it two decades behind the more prosperous United States and Europe. It also provides a 10-year buffer between itself and China's 2060 goal. India, the world's third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases and being most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, will continue to rely on coal power for the foreseeable

future as this reliability of coal power is vital for the majority of industries in India and its economy. As a result, the country must prioritize multiple cleaning mechanisms/techniques in order to further reduce carbon emissions. Also, the government must find ways to make economic growth catalysts less carbon-intensive. Trying to reduce emissions more severely sooner could leave millions of Indians without access to necessities, such as more air conditioning in a country that is extremely vulnerable to heat waves.

Without a flood of foreign aid, India will most likely rely on local instruments that have reduced energy usage and the cost of living for millions of its citizens. In this sense, the world's poorest super-emitter might become the role model it never had for the rest of the developing world, testing and honing a playbook for the most cost-effective techniques to gain climate benefits without jeopardizing the core necessity, of overcoming poverty.

Not two and three, but two and three.

In a country where vehicles are still considered a luxury, India's attempt to electrify transportation centered on scooters, powered bicycles, and rickshaws. According to Nitin Gadkari, minister of road transport and roads, by 2030, more than 80% of two-wheelers sold in the country might be battery-powered. According to Rishabh Jain of the New Delhi-based non-profit Council on Energy, Environment, and Water, over half of all three-wheelers sold today are electric. Battery changing for smaller vehicles is becoming more common in Bengaluru, Mumbai, and other congested cities.

Factories that save energy

Instead of a carbon market in which corporations must pay for every tonne of CO2 emitted, such as the one administered by the European Union, India introduced a program in 2008 that drove energy-intensive sectors to become more efficient. Companies that use less energy than required might exchange the savings for credits. Reducing energy use also implies lowering carbon emissions. In 2020, the initiative will have saved 87 million metric tonnes of CO2, almost the same as Bangladesh's yearly footprint, and many daily items will be labelled with energy-efficiency labels indicating how effectively they preserve electricity.

Lightbulbs That Save Money

The Gram Ujala project, called after the Hindi term for "country lights," provides communities with subsidized LED lights. The bulbs, which were supplied in quantities of up to 5 million last year, are many times more efficient than typical incandescent equivalents. According to the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Gram Ujala and other household appliance-focused programs saved $4 billion in power and reduced emissions by 46 million tonnes by 2020.

Better Cooking

According to Global Burden of Disease research, indoor air pollution kills 1.7 million Indians each year and costs the economy $37 billion. The use of firewood for heat and cooking is a major source of noxious air in the house. Since 2016, more than 88 million impoverished households have switched to liquefied petroleum gas, greatly reducing pollution-related health hazards. It has also spared women from spending hours gathering wood. Although the modification boosted India's emissions somewhat, "the development advantages are so significant that it's a no-brainer," says Dubash of the Centre for Policy Research. Similar techniques might eventually be utilized to transition to electricity or a carbon-free gas for cooking.

Wind and solar Boom

Coal accounts for more than 70% of all electrical generation in India. However, solar power, which has become the cheapest source of fresh energy, is rapidly expanding. In 2022, the country plans to build 175 giga tonnes of renewable energy, which is three times the amount already installed in the United Kingdom. While India may fall short of that aim because of the economic impact of the epidemic, Modi is setting his sights even higher. He hopes to have 500GW of green power capacity by the end of the decade. Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani, both billionaires, are aiming to spend $76 billion and $50 billion, respectively, on the business.

The high cost of finance has stymied India's energy revolution, with enterprises frequently finding it more difficult to access foreign financial markets than their Western counterparts. According to Ajay Mathur of the Energy and Resources Institute, there are three remedies to high borrowing costs: The government can get sovereign loans from

international financial organizations such as the World Bank, better manage foreign exchange risks, and strengthen ties with other green markets, which may make it simpler to secure funds for renewables expansion.

However, India can imagine larger. Its cities are expanding, and industrialization is accelerating, presenting the country with a once-in-a-lifetime chance, according to Dubash. Unlike wealthier nations that must gradually replace outdated infrastructure, emerging countries like India may reinvent how cities and industries are built from the ground up. It can avoid committing to an emissions-intensive future.

Economically speaking according to World Economic Forum (WEF) research, India's transition to a net-zero economy may generate more than $1 trillion in economic effect by 2030 and $15 trillion by 2070. Over 50 million new employees will be created as a result of the change.

According to the research, the transition to low-carbon energy represents the greatest substantial economic potential, accounting for $5-$7 trillion of the total $15 trillion in economic opportunity. Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated during the COP26 Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, that India aspires to achieve a net-zero economy by 2070 and has set a target of constructing 500 GW of non-fossil energy capacity by 2030. Following the United States and China, India is the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Energy, agriculture, industry, transportation, and infrastructure account for more than 96 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

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