India has ranked seventh in the Climate Change Performance Index 2024, moving up one spot from the previous year and maintaining its position of being among the highest performers, according to the report released during the COP28. Like last year, India received a high ranking in Global Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and Energy Use categories.
"While India is the world’s most populous country, it has relatively low per capita emissions. Our data shows that in the per capita GHG category, the country is on track to meet a benchmark of well below 2 degrees Celsius," the CCPI report said. However, it also noted that India's slightly positive trend in renewable energy share was advancing too slowly.
India still reliant on coal, oil and gas
CCPI experts noted that India is trying to meet its National Determined Contribution (NDC), with clear long-term policies in place that focus on promoting renewable energy and providing financial support for domestic manufacturing of renewable energy components.
"Despite that, India’s growing energy needs are still being met by its heavy reliance on coal, along with oil and gas. This dependence is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and causes severe air pollution, especially in the cities," the report said.
It also said that the impact of 'carbon taxes' in India remains disputed among experts. Some described them as an effective tool to reduce the consumption of petrol and diesel, while others pointed towards the high dependence of the government on these tax revenues.
India, along with China and other countries, had changed the wording of the COP27 referendum for 'phase down' of coal usage, rather than 'phase out', with Prime Minister Narendra Modi setting a target of the year 2070 for net-zero emissions.
CCPI experts also recommended that India's large-scale renewable energy project should be focused on transformative adaptation and disaster risk management and called for more effective policy implementation that takes a more bottom-up approach.
India's ambitious targets
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the high-level COP28 World Climate Action Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday proposed to host the COP33 Summit in India in 2028 and pledged to reduce emissions intensity by 45 per cent till 2030. He announced the increase in the share of non-fossil fuels to 50 per cent as part of India's net-zero emission target by 2070.
"Today, India has presented an excellent example of the balance between ecology and economy before the world. Despite India being home to 17 per cent of the population of the world, its contribution to Global Carbon Emissions is less than 4 per cent. India is one of those few economies of the world that is on the path to meet NDC targets," he said in his opening remarks.
The Prime Minister also underscored that nations from the Global South expected developed countries to help them as much as possible, which was "natural and justified". He also reiterated that climate finance worth trillions of dollars is required for "available, accessible and affordable" climate action and hoped that the COP28 provides an impetus in that direction.
The first week of the COP28 global climate talks concluded with a significant milestone with the operationalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund, pledges of over USD 83 billion and the draft text for Global Stocktake mentioning phasing out of all fossil fuels for the first time in years.
(with inputs from PTI)