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  • Author: Patrick Suckling
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: China’s recent commitment to reach carbon neutrality before 2060 means that for the first time ever, India is on track to become the world’s largest emitter. At a time that demands urgent action if we are to stay within the goals of the Paris Agreement, this brings into contrast India’s traditionally bifurcated approach that it has used to guard against taking greater action in light of the responsibility of the developed world to lead the way. Nevertheless, in recent decades, a political appetite for climate action has been growing in India, including reinforcing its global leadership credentials at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Climate-related disasters have also driven public support for more constructive engagement by Delhi. However, this appetite does not yet match growing international expectations for Indian action, as momentum for global climate action and ambition accelerates rapidly around the world in the lead-up to the COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow in November 2021. The election of U.S. President Joe Biden and recent commitments to net-zero by other Asian economies such as Japan and Korea underscore the weight of growing expectations on India. A sophisticated and holistic strategy to catalyze climate ambition from India is needed if the world is to succeed and help the country navigate a new low-carbon development model. India’s recent establishment of an Apex Committee on the Implementation of the Paris Agreement and its commitment to produce a long-term strategy to reduce emissions provide two particular openings for this even if signals elsewhere are mooted, including the impact of India’s economic response to COVID-19. And at a geopolitical level, India’s relations with China can help reinforce the need for action, and so too can India’s shifting relations with the G77 group of developing nations. This strategy must involve a mix of both greater political and policy engagement and deeper technical and financial support to help accelerate action — including through helping unlock greater private finance domestically. The recently announced U.S.-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership is an excellent first step in this regard. This Asia Society Policy Institute issue paper, Catalyzing India's Climate Ambition, authored by Senior Fellow and former Australian High Commissioner to India and Ambassador for the Environment Patrick Suckling, sets out how the wider international community should sensitively, constructively, and intelligently now work with India to catalyze greater climate ambition in the lead-up to COP26 and beyond.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, Carbon Emissions, Decarbonization
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, India
  • Author: Olaf Weber, Vasundhara Saravade
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Emerging economies, such as India, will need significant international investment in climate action in order to transition toward a future that is low-carbon and climate-resilient. India needs fossil fuels at an affordable price and needs to protect itself against price fluctuations. It can meet these needs by investing in Canadian oil companies, given the country’s political stability and rule of law. As an emerging economy, India could attract greater foreign direct investment into its economy through green bonds, a climate finance debt instrument that addresses environmental and climate-related challenges. Not only are green bond issuances linearly increasing over the years, but they also seem to be driven by institutional pressure, provided in part by the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s regulation, as well as by the informal advocacy efforts of market stakeholders. These findings are consistent with institutional theory and contribute to it by introducing the regulatory perspective of the green bond market.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Green Technology, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Olaf Weber, Vasundhara Saravade
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
  • Abstract: India’s energy future needs to be low-carbon, climate-resilient and protected against price fluctuation. It can meet these needs by investing in Canadian oil companies, given the country’s political stability and rule of law. India can also attract greater foreign direct investment at home through the issuance of green bonds, a climate finance debt instrument that addresses environmental and climate-related challenges. This paper explores the regulatory perspective of the green bond market.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Foreign Direct Investment, Rule of Law, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Canada, India, North America
  • Author: Alan Gelb, Anit Mukherjee
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Reforming inefficient and inequitable energy subsidies continues to be an important priority for policymakers as does instituting “green taxes” to reduce carbon emissions. Simply increasing energy prices will have adverse impact on poorer consumers, who may spend substantial budget shares on energy and energy-intensive products even though the rich typically appropriate more of the price subsidy. Equitable pricing reforms therefore need to be accompanied by programs to transfer compensation: depending on the situation, this can be targeted or universal. Successful reforms require measures to raise awareness-of the subsidies and the problems they cause, effective dissemination of the reform to the population, and rapid feedback loops to facilitate mid-course corrections. Digital technology, including for unique identification and payments, as well as general communications, can help build government capacity to undertake such reforms and respond to changes in fuel markets. The paper outlines the use of digital technology, drawing on four country cases. The technology is only a mechanism; it does not, in itself, create the political drive and constituency to push reform forward. However, it can be employed in a number of ways to increase the prospects for successful and sustainable reform.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Science and Technology, Reform, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, India, Latin America
  • Author: Chaitanya Giri
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
  • Abstract: The United Nations’ 2015 Paris Agreement called for the immediate sequestration of atmospheric anthropogenic greenhouse gases to help avert serious environmental degradation. India can take the lead in this because it is the second largest emitter of methane. Of all the natural greenhouse gases, methane is the hardiest. Technological advances are making it possible to crack methane into gaseous hydrogen and solid carbon on a commercial scale. Methane cracking can provide a steady supply of hydrogen for futuristic transportation and solid carbon materials — graphene, carbon nanotubes, synthetic diamonds — which are integral to the marine, aerospace and space industries. The commercial benefits apart, methane cracking will also go a long way in meeting the Paris Agreement’s climate change mitigation objectives. This paper offers some concrete recommendations that can help the government of India shape national legislation and global geoeconomic strategies.
  • Topic: Climate Change, United Nations, Methane, Carbon Emissions, Paris Agreement
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Ankit Bhardwaj, Federico De Lorenzo, Marie-Hélène Zérah
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Despite the potential of cities to foster a low-carbon energy transition, the governance of energy in India broadly remains within the purview of central and state governments. However, the Smart Cities Mission, a new urban scheme launched in 2015, gives Indian cities new powers to govern energy, a surprising departure from previous urban and energy policies. We argue that this shift is significant and we therefore raise three questions: 1) what kind of energy projects are planned and what does it reveal about the cities’ vision towards energy? 2) does the Smart Cities Mission foster a low-carbon energy transition and if so, how is this transition envisaged? 3) and finally, what are the rationale and the drivers behind this apparent shift? To address these questions, we build on a database of projects and financing plans submitted by the first 60 cities selected in the Smart Cities Mission. We find that cities have earmarked an immense 13,161 INR crore (~1.4 billion GBP) for energy projects, with most funds dedicated to basic infrastructure, primarily focused on enhancing the grid and supply. Cities also proposed projects in solar energy, electric vehicles, waste to energy and LED lighting, indicating their appetite for low-carbon projects. While cities were given institutional space to prioritise certain technologies, their interventions were conditioned by centrally sources of financing which were limited to certain mandated technologies. A focus on technology, rather than planning, undermined the role of cities as strategic decision-makers. What emerges is a dual faced reading of the Smart Cities Mission, indicating the potential and pitfalls of contemporary decentralized energy governance in the Global South.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Social Policy, Urban
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Gwynne Taraska, Henry Kellison
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for American Progress - CAP
  • Abstract: The G-20—a forum of 20 of the world’s largest economies—has a record of ambivalence on the topic of climate change. One case in point is the disconnect between the group’s efforts to address climate risks and its efforts to reduce the shortfall in global infrastructure investment. On one hand, the G-20 is aware that investing in projects that are high-carbon or vulnerable to the physical effects of rising temperatures carries risks that could have a destabilizing influence on the global economy. On the other hand, the G-20 is seeking to narrow the infrastructure gap in the absence of a guiding principle that infrastructure investments must be climate-compatible. Members of the G-20 Argentina Australia Brazil Canada China European Union France Germany India Indonesia Italy Japan Korea Mexico Russia Saudi Arabia South Africa Turkey United Kingdom United States In September 2016, world leaders will convene for the G-20 summit in Hangzhou, China. One focus of the climate agenda will be ensuring that the Paris Agreement takes effect in the near term. Negotiated by more than 190 nations and finalized in December 2015, the agreement set many collective goals, including limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels and ensuring that global financial flows are compatible with low-greenhouse gas development.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Japan, China, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Turkey, India, South Korea, France, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Italy, Mexico
  • Author: Megha Kaladharan
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: India emerged as a key player in the recent international climate talks in Paris. On the global stage, India reiterated its commitment towards clean energy and reducing carbon emissions.1 India’s increased thrust on renewable energy is outlined in the 2015 national budget, which set a five-fold increase in renewable energy targets to achieve 175 GW by 2022. This comprises 100 GW solar, 60 GW wind, 10 GW biomass and 5 GW small hydropower capacity, supported by a substantial budgetary allocation. The existing generation capacity is dominated by conventional coal-fired thermal power (211 GW as of May, 2016, 70% of total capacity). State distribution companies (Discoms) are by far the largest purchaser of electricity, including that from renewable energy sources. Therefore, the ability of the Discoms to purchase such power lies at the heart of the success of the national level directional shift from conventional to renewable power. However, presently, Discoms are reeling under massive debts and their actions are often dictated by local political factors rather than the achievement of operational and technical efficiency. Working towards the ambitious national renewable energy targets necessarily requires a revamp of the electricity distribution sector. Major legislative amendments and policy changes have been made and are underway at the central level to create an enabling environment for the nationwide growth of renewable energy. This paper proposes to analyse the existing constitutional and regulatory framework within which Discoms and other key stakeholders in the renewable power sector operate. The implications of the recently proposed amendments to the Electricity Act, 2003 (Electricity Act), the National Tariff Policy and provisions of the Draft Renewable Energy Act will be discussed in detail. A discussion on renewable energy is incomplete without an understanding of the legislative and judicial trends that govern the Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) imposed on Discoms. The paper offers an insight into the perspectives of Discoms, regulators and governments on RPO compliance. Further, the larger debate surrounding electricity sector reform and its implications for the renewable power sector have been analysed.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Regulation, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Shibani Ghosh
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: In October 2015, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change released a Draft Environment Laws (Amendment) Bill 2015 proposing amendments to the Environment (Protection) Act 1986 and the National Green Tribunal Act 2010. The stated objective of the Bill is to provide ‘effective deterrent penal provisions’ and to introduce the concept of monetary penalty. It also aims ‘to minimise the exercise of discretion and make an unambiguous framework’. This paper summarises the text of the Bill and analyses whether it will complement the environmental objectives the parent laws espouse. It discusses some of the major concerns relating to the proposed amendments under three broad themes: environmental damage and penalties, adjudicating authorities and rule making powers. It concludes that although penalties that effectively deter violators are certainly the need of the hour, the proposed amendments are unlikely to achieve this objective.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Law Enforcement, Law, Legislation, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia