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Is India pulling its weight? India’s nationally determined contribution and future energy plans in global climate policy

Aniruddh Mohan and Timon Wehnert

Climate Policy, 2019, vol. 19, issue 3, 275-282

Abstract: Ahead of the Conference of Parties (COP) 24 where countries will first take stock of climate action post Paris, this paper assesses India’s progress on its nationally determined contribution (NDC) targets and future energy plans. We find that, although India is well on track to meet its NDC pledges, these targets were extremely modest given previous context. Furthermore, there is considerable uncertainty around India’s energy policy post 2030 and if current plans for energy futures materialise, the Paris Agreement’s 2 degrees goal will be almost certainly unachievable. India’s role in international climate politics has shifted from obstructionism to leadership particularly following the announcement of withdrawal by the United States from the Paris Agreement, but analysis reveals that India’s ‘hard’ actions on the domestic front are inconsistent with its ‘soft’ actions in the international climate policy arena. Going forward, India is likely to face increasing calls for stronger mitigation action and we suggest that this gap can be bridged by strengthening the links between India’s foreign policy ambitions, international climate commitments, and domestic energy realities.Key policy insights India’s NDC pledges on carbon intensity and share of non-fossil fuel capacity are relatively modest given domestic context and offer plenty of room to increase ambition of action.India’s ‘soft’ leadership in global climate policy can be matched by ‘hard’ commitments by bringing NDC pledges in line with domestic policy realities.There is significant uncertainty around future plans for coal power in India which have the potential to exceed the remaining global carbon budget for 2 degrees.

Date: 2019
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