Statsguru: Seven charts explain India's climate change challenge

As the CoP 26 meeting draws near, the global community is calling for India to do more tow­ards green energy. India has made remarkable gains in renewable energy — the share of solar, wind, biomass in total installed power capacity has increased from 1.2 per cent to 24.7 per cent between 2001 and 2021 (chart 1). However, in terms of energy production, the mix is still skewed heavily towards thermal sources. In 2019, thermal energy (coal, natural gas and oil) accounted for 76 per cent of total production. On the other hand, China was producing 68 per cent of its ener.....
As the CoP 26 meeting draws near, the global community is calling for India to do more tow­ards green energy. India has made remarkable gains in renewable energy — the share of solar, wind, biomass in total installed power capacity has increased from 1.2 per cent to 24.7 per cent between 2001 and 2021 (chart 1).

However, in terms of energy production, the mix is still skewed heavily towards thermal sources.

In 2019, thermal energy (coal, natural gas and oil) accounted for 76 per cent of total production. On the other hand, China was producing 68 per cent of its energy from thermal sources. The share of hydro was 17 per cent. Brazil was the greenest of all economies with only 15 per cent share of thermal, while two-thirds of the energy came from hydel sources (chart 2). 

So, compared to global economies, India needs to do more. While 87 countries have revised their nationally determined contributions, India is yet to do so. The country is also yet to announce a net-zero target. The IPCC in its latest report had urged India to decide on a net-zero target (chart 3). 

But there is a silver lining for India as the private sector is taking the lead in green energy. Adani Group recently announced that it would make $20 billion worth of investment in green energy within the next 10 years. Earlier this year, Reliance Industries committed an investment of $10 billion in three years (chart 4).

But, given that India would need nearly $400 billion worth of investment by 2030 the government will have to step up and commit more resources. Besides, it needs to revive the sector, as capacity additions over the last four years have slowed for both wind and solar (chart 5). 

If capa­city additions do not keep pace, India will miss its 2022 target for renewable expansion. A 2019 NBER working paper titled Long-Term Macroeconomic Effects of Climate Change: A Cross-Country Analysis had highlighted that the effects of climate change could be devastating for India. A below 2 degree increase in tempera­tures by 2100 — which now seems likely — would erode 2.6 per cent of India’s GDP; if temperatures rise to 4 degrees Celsius, the GDP reduction would be six times more at 13.4 per cent (chart 6). 

Another report by Deloitte showed that India stands to lose $35 trillion by 2070, if tempera­tures rise by 3 degrees Celsius. A significant damage would be borne by the services sector, which would witness an economic loss of $11 trillion (chart 7).

/> is a weekly feature. Every Monday, Business Standard guides you through the numbers you need to know to make sense of the headlines



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