India pledges to cut carbon intensity by 35%

India has completed the line up of major economies that have submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to the UN ahead of the Paris climate talks in December.

The country – the world’s third largest carbon emitter – has pledged to reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33-35% by 2030, from 2005 levels. India also aims to get 40% of electricity from ‘non fossil fuel’ sources by 2030.

The INDC submission also includes a plan to create carbon sinks of 2.5 to three billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030, through additional forest and tree cover.

India estimated these programmes would cost approximately $2.5trn over the next 15 years, although it expects to receive some funding from the Green Climate Fund.


Even before these new commitments, Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi has been transitioning the country towards cleaner energy, aiming to install 175GW of renewable energy by 2022, and installing 20 million LED streetlights across the country.

The INDC has had a positive reception among green campaigners across the world. Germana Canzi, a climate change analyst at the ECIU, said: “This commitment by India – the world’s third largest emitter and the world’s fifth largest coal reserves, but also a country with low per capita use of energy and emissions – is significant.

“Issued on the day Indians celebrate the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, it shows the country takes climate change increasingly seriously and knows it is possible to move towards a low carbon economy while eliminating poverty.

“In parallel, India is making major efforts to promote decentralised clean energy solutions – particularly solar – to reach 300 million people currently without any electricity, as well as investments in energy efficiency and public transport.

Gravity shift

The Climate Group’s chief executive Mark Kenber hailed the new targets as a sign that “the centre of gravity has fundamentally and irreversibly shifted”.

Kenber added: “All the world’s major economies have now presented their contributions for COP21. India’s INDC follows a week where climate has dominated headlines for all the right reasons.

“We’ve seen Brazil and South Africa make commitments, states, regions and cities set new carbon targets, and organizations representing no fewer than 6 million companies say they all back a deal in Paris. This is a world apart from where we were going into Copenhagen.

“The wind is clearly in our sails. But we now need to turn this momentum into a ratcheting up of ambition and confidence that a strong deal will have significant economic and financial benefits.”

More than 30 climate pledges have now been submitted to the UN in the last three days, taking the total to 140 countries out of 196, and covering more than 75% of global emissions.

Brad Allen

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie