The Cabinet, on Wednesday, approved India’s updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), in which it targets achieving about 50 per cent of cumulative power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030. The update will be formally conveyed to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The Cabinet approval, in fact, has been made to the ‘Panchamrit’ strategy, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Glasgow conference last November. At the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) of the UNFCCC in 2021, Modi had announced that India’s non-fossil energy capacity would reach 500 GW by 2030. He had said that India would fulfil half of its energy requirements from renewable energy sources by 2030.

As announced by Modi earlier, the Cabinet also approved the revised emissions intensity of gross domestic product (GDP) by 45 per cent from 2005 levels, whereas the earlier target was to reduce it by 33-35 per cent. In February last year, India had announced that it had achieved 24 per cent reduction from the 2005 levels in emissions intensity of GDP by 2016.

NDCs mean national plans and pledges made by a country to meet the goal of maintaining global temperature increases to well below 2 degree Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels, while aiming for 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

“The updated NDC seeks to enhance India’s contributions towards the achievement of the strengthening of global response to the threat of climate change as agreed under the Paris Agreement. Such action will also help India usher in low emissions growth pathways. It would protect the interests of the country and safeguard its future development needs based on the principles and provisions of the UNFCCC,” said the government in a statement. The update is also a step towards achieving India’s long term goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2070, it added.

Net zero means achieving a balance between the greenhouse gases put into the atmosphere and those taken out. The government has already said that carbon emissions will be cut by 1 billion tonnes by 2030.

India had submitted its NDCs to the UNFCCC on October 2, 2015, comprising eight goals, including reduction in cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil sources, cut emissions intensity of GDP from 2005 levels, and creation of additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover which have deadline of 2030.

The approval also takes forward the PM’s vision of sustainable lifestyles and climate justice to protect the poor and vulnerable from adverse impacts of climate change.

The updated NDC reads: “To put forward and further propagate a healthy and sustainable way of living based on traditions and values of conservation and moderation, including through a mass movement for ‘LIFE’ - ‘Lifestyle for Environment’ as a key to combating climate change”.