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Coal Initiative Series: Positioning the Indian Coal-Power Sector for Carbon Mitigation: Key Policy Options
Coal Initiative Series
Positioning the Indian Coal-Power Sector for Carbon Mitigation: Key Policy Options
Prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change
Ananth P. Chikkatur and Ambuj D. Sagar, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Positioning the Indian Coal-Power Sector for Carbon Mitigation: Key Policy Options continues the series of Pew Center papers that explore strategies for addressing CO2 emissions from using coal to provide electricity.
The domestic and international steps outlined in this paper could greatly advance the development and
implementation of a GHG-mitigation strategy in the Indian coal-power sector, while allowing the sector to
contribute suitably to the country’s energy needs. The key to success will be adopting a deliberate approach,
with short- and long-term perspectives in mind, that allows for the development of an integrated energy and
To inform the climate change dialogue, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions has produced a series of brief reports entitled Climate Change 101: Understanding and Responding to Global Climate Change, Updated January 2011.
These reports provide a reliable and understandable introduction to climate change. They cover climate science and impacts, climate adaptation, technological solutions, business solutions, international action, federal action, recent action in the U.S. states, and action taken by local governments. The overview serves as a summary and introduction to the series.
For more information, be sure to listen to our Climate Change 101 podcast series
The complete set of six reports plus the overview in one volume.
This overview summarizes the key points from each of the Climate Change 101 reports.
This report provides an overview of the most up-to-date scientific evidence and also explains the causes and projected impacts of climate change.
This report details how adaptation planning at the local, state and national levels can limit the damage caused by climate change.
This piece discusses the technological solutions both for mitigating its effects and reducing greenhouse gas emissions now and into the future.
This report discusses how corporate leaders are helping to shape solutions.
This report discusses what will be needed for an effective global effort, one calling for commitments from all the world's major economies.
This report discusses federal policy options that can put the country on the path toward a lower-carbon future.
This report highlights states' efforts as they respond to the challenges of implementing solutions to climate change.
This report describes the actions taken by cities and towns.
This report explains the details of cap and trade.
India’s Climate and Energy Policies
C2ES has produced a comprehensive fact sheet of India’s climate and energy policies. The fact sheet examines India’s overarching climate goals, and specific policies and targets within the energy and transportation sectors.
Emissions and Energy
India is the fastest-growing major economy in the world. It is the fourth largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter, accounting for 5.8 percent of global emissions. India’s emissions increased by 67.1 percent between 1990 and 2012, and are projected to grow 85 percent by 2030 under a business-as-usual scenario.
By other measures, India's emissions are relatively low compared to those of other major economies. India accounts for only 4 percent of global cumulative energy-related emissions since 1850, compared to 16 percent and 15 percent for the United States and China.[i] India produces about 2 tons of CO2e per capita, versus 20 tons and 8 tons, respectively, in the United States and China.
Coal accounted for 43.5 percent of the total energy supply in 2011, followed by biofuels and waste (24.7 percent), petroleum (22.1 percent), natural gas (6.7 percent), hydropower (1.5 percent) and nuclear (1.2 percent).[ii] India is working to meet growing energy demand by securing affordable supplies and attracting infrastructure investment in. By 2022, it aims to provide electricity to the 25 percent of the population (more than 300 million people) who don’t have it.[iii]
India pledged under the Copenhagen Accord to reduce its CO2 intensity (emissions per GDP) by 20 to 25 percent by 2020 compared to 2005 levels.[iv] India appears on track to achieve its voluntary pledge, though emissions are not projected to peak until around 2050 or later. On October 1, 2015, India formally submitted its intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) to the climate agreement due in December 2015 in Paris. Among its key elements:
- To reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 level.
- To achieve about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030, with the help of transfer of technology and low cost international finance including from Green Climate Fund (GCF).
- To create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
Policies Contributing to Climate Mitigation
India has a number of policies that contribute to climate mitigation by reducing or avoiding GHG emissions. In June 2008, the Prime Minister released India’s first National Action Plan on Climate Change, which identified eight core “national missions” running through 2017. A C2ES summary of the National Action Plan is available here. India’s current Five-Year Plan (2012-2017), which guides overall economic policy, includes goals to:
- Achieve average 8 percent annual GDP growth;
- Reduce emissions intensity in line with India’s Copenhagen pledge; and
- Add 300,000 MW of renewable energy capacity.[v]
Since taking office in May 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken steps to scale up clean energy production and has initiated a shift in India’s stance in international climate negotiations. One of his first acts was to rename the environment ministry the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. In January, the newly reconstituted Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change launched new initiatives on wind energy, coastal zone management, health and waste-to-energy.
Renewable energy – At the federal level, India has implemented two major renewable energy-related policies: the Strategic Plan for New and Renewable Energy,[vi] which provides a broad framework, and the National Solar Mission, which sets capacity targets for renewables.[vii] The original Solar Mission includes the following targets for 2017: 27.3 GW wind, 4 GW solar, 5 GW biomass and 5 GW other renewables. For 2022, these targets increase to: 20 GW solar, 7.3 GW biomass and 6.6 GW other renewables.
Solar – In November 2014, the Indian government announced that it would increase the solar ambition of its National Solar Mission to 100 GW installed capacity by 2022, a five-time increase and over 30 times more solar than it currently has installed. To this end, the government also announced its intention to bring solar power to every home by 2019 and invested in 25 solar parks, which have the potential to increase India’s total installed solar capacity almost tenfold.
Wind – The Twelfth Five Year Plan proposes a National Wind Energy Mission, similar to the National Solar Mission, and the Indian government recently announced plans to boost wind energy production to 50,000 to 60,000 MW by 2022. It is also planning to promote an offshore wind energy market.
Coal – A tax on coal has raised $2.85 billion for India’s clean energy fund. The tax rose in July 2014 from Rs. 50 ($.80) to Rs. 100 ($1.60) per ton, and doubled again in March 2015 to Rs 200 ($3.20) per ton. The Indian coal-power sector has numerous
Energy Efficiency and Conservation – India’s National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency[viii] implements the Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) Mechanism, covering the country’s largest industrial and power generation facilities.[ix] PAT covers more than 50 percent of fossil fuel use and set a target to reduce energy consumption at participating facilities 4-5 percent in 2015 compared to 2010 levels.
Transportation -- In early 2014, India announced new vehicle fuel-economy standards (Indian Corporate Average Fuel Consumption standard) of 4.8 liters per 100 kilometers (49 MPG) by 2021-2022, a 15 percent improvement. Biofuel legislation has set a target of 20 percent blending of ethanol and biodiesel in 2017.[x]
Smart Cities – Prime Minister Modi has launched an initiative to create 100 “smart cities” with better transport systems, utilities, and energy networks to address the challenges of urban growth.[xi] India’s National Mission on Sustainable Habitat also includes initiatives such as the Energy Conservation Building Code, mandated for commercial buildings in eight states, and actions to support recycling, waste management, and improved urban planning.[xii]
India Releases Climate Change Plan
Read our summary on India's National Action Plan on Climate Change.
On June 30, 2008, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh released India’s first National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) outlining existing and future policies and programs addressing climate mitigation and adaptation. The plan identifies eight core “national missions” running through 2017 and directs ministries to submit detailed implementation plans to the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change by December 2008.
C2ES Report: Market-Based Climate Mitigation Policies in Emerging Economies
Used by governments for decades, market-based policies are mechanisms to control environmental pollution at various leverage points. This brief provides an overview of market-based policies aimed at reducing GHG emissions in several major emerging economies: Brazil, China, India, South Africa and South Korea. By implementing regulatory and market-based policy instruments across their economies, these countries are seeking to promote cleaner technologies and behavior change while also promoting economic development and growth.
White Paper: Positioning the Indian Coal-Power Sector for Carbon Mitigation: Key Policy Options
The domestic and international steps outlined in this paper could greatly advance the development and implementation of a GHG-mitigation strategy in the Indian coal-power sector, while allowing the sector to contribute suitably to the country’s energy needs. The key to success will be adopting a deliberate approach, with short- and long-term perspectives in mind, that allows for the development of an integrated energy and climate policy.
White Paper: A Resource and Technology Assessment of Coal Utilization in India
Electricity production in India is projected to expand dramatically in the near term to energize new industrial development, while also easing the energy shortages throughout the country. Much of the new growth in electricity production will be fueled by domestic coal resources; however, there is worldwide concern about increased coal use, as greater carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal combustion will exacerbate climate change. At the same time, there are now a number of different existing and emerging technological options for coal conversion and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction worldwide that could potentially be useful for the Indian coal-power sector. This paper reviews coal utilization in India and examines current and emerging coal power technologies with near- and long-term potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from coal power generation.
Climate Change Mitigation Measures in India: September 2008
Read the India Fact Sheet.
India is the world’s fourth largest economy and fifth largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter, accounting for about 5% of global emissions. India’s emissions increased 65% between 1990 and 2005 and are projected to grow another 70% by 2020.
By other measures, India’s emissions are low compared to those of other major economies. India accounts for only 2% of cumulative energy-related emissions since 1850. On a per capita basis, India’s emissions are 70% below the world average and 93% below those of the United States
[i] Data from WRI, 2011. “6 Graphs Explain the World’s Top 10 Emitters,” available at www.wri.org/blog/2014/11/6-graphs-explain-world%E2%80%99s-top-10-emitters
[ii] Data from US EIA. 2013. “India,” available at http://www.eia.gov/countries/analysisbriefs/India/india.pdf.
[iii] Data from World Bank, 2014. “Access to electricity (% of population),” available at http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EG.ELC.ACCS.ZS/countries.
[iv] Government of India, 2010. Copenhagen pledge, available at http://unfccc.int/files/meetings/cop_15/copenhagen_accord/application/pd...
[vi] Government of India, 2011. “Strategic Plan for New and Renewable Energy Sector for the Period 2011-17,” available at http://mnre.gov.in/file-manager/UserFiles/strategic_plan_mnre_2011_17.pdf
[vii] Government of India. “JNN Solar Mission,” available at http://www.mnre.gov.in/solar-mission/jnnsm/introduction-2/
[ix] Government of India. “Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT),” available at http://www.beeindia.in/content.php?page=schemes/schemes.php?id=9
[x] Data from IEA, 2014. “World Energy Outlook 2014.”
[xi] Data from New Climate Economy, 2014. “India: Pathways to Sustaining Rapid Development in a New Climate Economy (Conference Draft),” available at http://newclimateeconomy.report/india/#section-2784-content-2828
[xii] Government of India. “National Missions On Sustainable Habitat,” available at http://moud.gov.in/sites/upload_files/moud/files/NMSH_0.pdf
Statement of Eileen Claussen
President, Pew Center on Global Climate Change
December 16, 2008
Governments resolved in Poznan to shift into “full negotiating mode” in hopes of delivering a comprehensive new climate change agreement a year from now in Copenhagen. What we need is a ratifiable treaty with fair, effective, and verifiable commitments for all major economies, and it is critical that Copenhagen bring us as close as possible to that goal. If Congress moves quickly on mandatory legislation to reduce U.S. emissions, and other countries are open to taking on reasonable commitments, Copenhagen can at a minimum produce a solid framework agreement. That would be a major step forward, and would put us within striking distance of a ratifiable treaty.
By Elliot Diringer
December 12, 2008
This article originally appeared in The Huffington Post.
Many thanks to the Huffington Post and Betsy Taylor for helping to advance an absolutely critical debate on the urgent need for a strong, effective international climate change agreement. In that same spirit, I’d like to clarify for HP readers the views of my organization, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, which I’m afraid Betsy didn’t get quite right. (Click here to access the post by Betsy Taylor.)
First, the Pew Center “press release” that Betsy links to is not a press release, but rather an Associated Press story that quotes the Pew Center’s president, Eileen Claussen. Betsy also links to a Washington Post story quoting me. The stories quote us accurately but, as is invariably the case with daily dispatches, only partially capture the views and intent of the individuals quoted. So please allow me to elaborate.
The Pew Center believes that, for the sake of the planet and future generations, our goal must be a ratifiable treaty establishing fair and effective commitments for all major economies. We also believe it is critical that the UN climate conference in December 2009 in Copenhagen produce an agreement that moves us as close as possible to that goal. How far we can get between now and Copenhagen will depend primarily on two things: how quickly Congress gets on with the job of enacting mandatory legislation to cap and reduce U.S. emissions; and how prepared other countries are to scale up their national climate efforts and translate them into international commitments.
The election of Barack Obama presents an historic opportunity to confront climate change at home and abroad. We must do everything in our power to seize that opportunity. But we also must be realistic. If we set unrealistically high expectations – if we insist that the only “successful” outcome for Copenhagen is a full, final, ratifiable treaty – then we heighten the risk of a major failure that will serve only to set back the process and the politics.
Rather, we must allow for the possibility of an agreement in Copenhagen that, while short of a ratifiable treaty, can capture all the momentum that builds over the coming year and generate further momentum in the months beyond. One possibility is an agreement that lays out the basic architecture of a post-2012 framework, the level of emission reductions to be achieved by developed countries collectively, the types of mitigation action to be undertaken by developing countries, and the types and level of support they can expect to receive. Some might characterize this as pessimism. In our view, it would in fact be a very ambitious outcome putting us within striking distance of a ratifiable treaty. Far from a failure, it would be a striking success.
For those interested in more on the Pew Center’s perspective on this and other climate issues, please visit us at www.c2es.org. We look forward to continuing this dialogue, and to a successful outcome next year in Copenhagen.
Elliot Diringer is Vice President for International Strategies at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.
Click here and scroll down to read the side event summary in Earth Negotiations Bulletin.
The event featured perspectives from senior U.S. policymakers and business and NGO representatives on the prospects for stronger domestic climate action in the United States and the implications for negotiating a post-2012 agreement.
- Manik Roy, Vice President for Federal Government Outreach, Pew Center
- Doug Scott, Director, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
- Meg McDonald, Director of Global Issues, Alcoa
- Senior Congressional Staff
- Pew Center Q&A: UN Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland
- The Road To Copenhagen: A brief article by Elliot Diringer
- Elliot Diringer discusses the Poznan talks on NPR's Science Friday (December 5, 2008)
- Key Poznan Resources and Links
- Background Briefing on UN Climate Change Conference in Poznan
- Article: Climate Policy & A New US President
- Chapter: Key Elements of a Post-2012 Agreement
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change's (UNFCCC) 14th annual Conference of the Parties (COP 14) takes place in Poznan, Poland December 1-12.
Find out more about the conference and UNFCCC negotiations in our Q&A below:
What is the focus of the Poznan conference?
The Bali Action Plan, adopted by more than 180 countries in December 2007, set an ambitious goal of achieving a new global climate agreement in December 2009 in Copenhagen. The Poznan conference represents the midpoint between Bali and Copenhagen. Governments are taking stock of the progress made since Bali, discussing the proposals that have come forward this year, and adopting a work plan for the coming year. No major formal outcomes are expected. On a more political level, Poznan is a final round of positioning by governments before heading into what is expected to be a period of intense negotiations. Governments will be setting their expectations for what needs to happen next year in Copenhagen.
What are the major issues under discussion?
The Bali Action Plan lays out the key issues to be addressed in a new agreement: mitigation (reducing emissions), adaptation, technology, and finance. Among these, some of the most central issues include: the emission reduction targets to be adopted by developed countries; the types of mitigation actions to be undertaken by developing countries, particularly China, India and other major emerging economies; and the types and level of support to be provided to developing countries for both mitigation and adaptation.
How will the election of a new U.S. president affect the negotiations?
Without the United States at the table and prepared to negotiate, a new international agreement is very unlikely. President-elect Obama has said that when he takes office “the United States will once again engage vigorously in these negotiations, and help lead the world toward a new era of global cooperation on climate change.” The new administration’s ability to negotiate an agreement will depend heavily, however, on how quickly the new President and Congress can enact legislation to reduce U.S. emissions. President-elect Obama is calling for a federal cap-and-trade system to reduce emissions to 1990 levels in 2020 and another 80% by 2050.
What role will the U.S. Congress play in reaching a new global agreement?
Congress plays two critical roles. Congress must enact the mandatory climate legislation that will enable the United States to commit to an international emissions target. And any binding new international agreement must be ratified by the Senate. For those reasons, it will be important for the new Administration to consult closely with the Congress in shaping its negotiating positions.
What are realistic expectations for Copenhagen in 2009?
While there is a strong chance that climate legislation will begin moving through Congress in 2009, final enactment is not likely, which would make it difficult for the new Administration to commit to a specific emissions target in Copenhagen. In that case, Copenhagen is unlikely to produce a full and final agreement that could be submitted to governments for ratification. A more realistic outcome may be an agreement on the basic architecture of the post-2012 climate framework -- for instance, binding economy-wide targets for developed countries, policy commitments for the major emerging economies, and support mechanisms for technology, finance, and adaptation in developing countries. This intermediary agreement could then serve as the basis for further negotiations in 2010 on specific commitments in a full and final agreement.
Key Resources for COP 14
Ad Hoc Working Group on Long Term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
- Expectations of the Chair (Scenario Note) http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2008/awglca4/eng/15.pdf
- As requested by the AWG-LCA, the Chair has prepared a document assembling the ideas and proposals presented by Parties on the elements contained in paragraph 1 of the Bali Action Plan. http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2008/awglca4/eng/16.pdf
- For individual submissions by Parties http://unfccc.int/meetings/ad_hoc_working_groups/lca/items/4578.php
Ad Hoc Working Group – Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP)
- Expectations of the Chair (Scenario Note) http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2008/awg6/eng/07.pdf
Earth Negotiations Bulletin – Resource for daily updates on COP 14
UNFCCC Secretariat Press Page for COP 14
- Poznan-COP 14 Main Page
- COP 14 Summary
- E&E TV: From Poznan to Copenhagen
- Road to Copenhagen Article
- Q&A: Poznan-COP 14
- Elliot Diringer on NPR's Science Friday
- Key Poznan Resources
- Background Briefing PDF
By Elliot Diringer
This article was first published by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Transatlantic Climate Policy Group.
After years of stalemate in the international climate negotiations, the inauguration of a new U.S. president presents an opportunity for a genuine breakthrough. Both John McCain and Barack Obama support mandatory limits on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and both favor renewed international engagement. But unrealistic expectations about how quickly the United States will move – and how far – could severely damage prospects for any sort of agreement next year in Copenhagen.
An effective post-2012 climate agreement is impossible without the United States, the world’s largest economy and largest historic emitter. Europe was able to persuade other developed countries to push ahead with initial commitments under the Kyoto Protocol despite the U.S. withdrawal. But there appears very little appetite among those countries to take on new, stronger commitments without the United States, and even less prospect of commitments by the major developing countries.
Fortunately, there is at long last real momentum for stronger efforts to reduce U.S. emissions. While skeptics remain, the political establishment has largely accepted the scientific consensus that human-induced warming is underway and must be addressed. Many states are taking mandatory steps to reduce emissions; 24 states have entered into regional initiatives to establish cap-and-trade systems. Many corporate leaders are calling for mandatory federal action, and Congress is seriously debating the establishment of an economy-wide cap-and-trade system more than twice the size of Europe’s Emissions Trading Scheme.