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NEW DELHI: The Union cabinet on Wednesday approved India’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) towards global response to climate change.

The updated NDC will be communicated to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It seeks to enhance India’s contributions towards achievement of the strengthening of global response to the threat of climate change, as agreed under the Paris Agreement, said a statement from the ministry of environment, forest and climate change.

“Such action will also help India usher in low emissions growth pathways. It would protect the interests of the country and safeguard its future development needs based on the principles and provisions of the UNFCCC," it said.

At the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held in Glasgow last November, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced intensifying India’s climate action through five targets termed as “Panchamrit".

The update to India’s existing NDC translates the “Panchamrit" announced at COP26 into enhanced climate targets.

The five elements of India’s efforts to curb climate change include the target to reach non-fossil energy capacity of 500 GW by 2030, and meeting 50% of its energy requirements from renewable energy by 2030.

India also aims to reduce total projected carbon emissions by 1 billion tonne and carbon intensity of the economy to less than 45% by 2030. Further, under the commitment India aims to achieve net zero carbon emission by 2070.

The prime minister had announced that these five steps or the targets will be India’s contribution towards climate action.

In 2015, India had submitted its intended Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to UNFCCC which comprised eight goals, including cumulative installed capacity of renewable power of reach 40% and reducing emissions intensity of GDP by 33-35% by 2030.

The statement said the Cabinet’s approval also takes forward the prime minister’s vision of sustainable lifestyles and climate justice to protect the poor and vulnerable from adverse impacts of climate change.

The updated NDC reads, “to put forward and further propagate a healthy and sustainable way of living based on traditions and values of conservation and moderation, including through a mass movement for ‘LIFE’– ‘Lifestyle for Environment’ as a key to combating climate change".

The updated NDC also captures this citizen centric approach to combat climate change, the ministry said. It also represents the framework for India’s transition to cleaner energy for the period 2021-2030.

Efforts towards curbing climate change and adoption of alternative modes of fuel and power have gained momentum in the country since India’s commitment at COP26 in November.

The Centre has taken a slew of measures and announced sops in the form of production-linked incentive (PLI) schemes for manufacturing of electric vehicles and advanced chemistry cell battery storage and solar modules, among others.

Green hydrogen is another area the government is focussing on. In February, the ministry of new and renewable energy came up with the National Green Hydrogen Policy and a comprehensive green hydrogen mission is in the works.

The government is giving policy push to a variety of renewable energy sources. Apart from the PLI for solar modules, the government has launched the national portal for rooftop solar to enable online tracking of installation of rooftop solar plants. Further, it would come up with bids for 4GW of offshore wind energy, along with providing incentives to attract investors in the segment.

India’s total installed capacity of renewable energy stood at 159.949 GW as of 20 July, which is 39.7% of the country’s total installed capacity of power.

Further, government agencies, public sector undertakings along with private businesses have set their own sustainability and net zero targets, in line with the national goal.

The net zero target by 2030 of Indian Railways alone is expected to reduce emissions by 60 million tonne annually, said the environment ministry in the statement.

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