Home / Politics / News /  How India fares on climate action, in charts

How India fares on climate action, in charts

While the risk for coastal cities such as Chennai and Mumbai are well-known, this report also highlights the risks confronting cities like Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Patna, and quantifies the potential economic losses from sea-level rise and intense heat waves  (Photo: Mint)Premium
While the risk for coastal cities such as Chennai and Mumbai are well-known, this report also highlights the risks confronting cities like Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Patna, and quantifies the potential economic losses from sea-level rise and intense heat waves  (Photo: Mint)

Another global report released last week highlighted the perils of climate change and the need for action. Meanwhile, among Indian states, there are large differences with respect to climate change mitigation and adaptation

Last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the second part of its Sixth Assessment Report. The implications for India are dire. While the risk for coastal cities such as Chennai and Mumbai are well-known, this report also highlights the risks confronting cities like Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Patna, and quantifies the potential economic losses from sea-level rise and intense heat waves.

This serves as a further reminder of the importance of collective action—not just at the national level but also by states—to counter the worst outcomes of climate change. Large differences exist among Indian states in their climate change mitigation (shifting to cleaner fuels) and adaptation (disaster preparedness), multiple data points show.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel combustion are the leading cause of human-induced climate change. In 2015, the Paris Climate Accord had called for a global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions, including CO2. Concurrently, a framework of 17 interlinked Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to be realized by 2030, was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly to accomplish climate-resilient development.

India is well on track to achieve SDG goal 13, which considers reduction in per-capita greenhouse gas emissions. Per-capita CO2 emissions peaked in India in 2019, and are on a downward trend, even as global emissions are still rising. But there is scope to do more. India is not faring well in other dimensions of SDGs, which range from poverty reduction and education to sustainable cities and conserving biodiversity.

State Picture

Beyond countries, local and regional governments have a large role to play in achieving the SDGs. The United Nations has advocated localizing the SDGs, as well as collecting data at a sub-national scale to capture regional disparities in climate action. For India, the ministry of statistics and programme implementation (MoSPI) in collaboration with the UN Resident Coordinator Office (UNRCO) in India has compiled a unified data repository on SDG indicators across states.

SDG 13 on climate action includes metrics such as installed renewable energy capacity, CO2 reduction due to LED bulbs, disaster preparedness, human lives lost due to extreme weather events, and disability-adjusted life years (DALY) due to pollution. A consolidated score on climate actions based on the above parameters is computed for individual states. Odisha, Kerala and Gujarat rank highest among the large states, mostly on account of their higher disaster preparedness scores, while Bihar and Jharkhand are at the bottom.

Renewable Transitions

Renewable energy is key to reducing the long-term reliance on fossil fuel burning. As of January 2022, among the 10 states with the largest installed power capacity, the share of renewables varied from 12% to 52%. Six states had a renewable component above 25%, data from the Central Electricity Authority showed.

Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan are frontrunners, with over 40% of their installed capacity accruing from renewable sources. While Karnataka and Rajasthan have significant solar power generation, Tamil Nadu leads in wind energy. However, there remains vast untapped potential for renewable energy in several other states, including Jammu and Kashmir.

This analysis is based on renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind, biomass and small hydropower. Large hydroelectric power projects are included in the MoSPI index, but have been excluded from this analysis because they have a massive adverse impact on lives and livelihoods.

Disproportionate impact

There are also large disparities among states in fossil fuel consumption. Only Tripura and Bihar meet the Niti Aayog’s target of 64.1 kg fossil fuel consumption per capita. The all-India average is 157.3 kg, but about two-thirds of states consume more. Among larger states, Haryana (415 kg), Gujarat (351 kg) and Punjab (255 kg) consume significantly more.

However, it is the less-industrialized states like Bihar and Odisha that bear the brunt of the adverse effects due to climate change such as flooding and cyclones. The way forward would be to have a ‘carbon pricing’, effectively penalizing large fossil fuel consumers. While India does not have an explicit carbon price, excise duties serve as an implicit form of carbon pricing. Carbon pricing would account for negative externalities from fossil fuel consumption and enable the redistribution of resources to strengthen adaptation options in states most vulnerable to climate change.

www.howindialives.com is a database and search engine for public data

Catch all the Politics News and Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.
More Less

Recommended For You

Trending Stocks

×
Get alerts on WhatsApp
Set Preferences My ReadsWatchlistFeedbackRedeem a Gift CardLogout