Road to net-zero status
- November 17, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Road to net-zero status
India’s strategy for achieving Net-Zero status-
- A year after announcing its intention to achieve a net-zero emission status by 2070, India on Monday told the world how it was going to reach there.
- In a 121-page document, India listed some of the measures — decarbonising of electricity and transport sectors, redesigning of urban spaces, increase in energy and material efficiency, revitalisation of forests, and a push for climate-oriented research and development — it planned to take in the coming decades to achieve the net-zero status.
- The context Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries have to prepare and submit two kinds of climate action plans— one for the short term, and another for the long- term.
Short-term climate- action plans (NDCs)-
- Also called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)
- Have to be submitted every five years, with specific actions being taken over 5- or 10-year periods.
- The NDCs are meant to be acheived till 2030.
- For developed countries, NDCs must include specific emission reduction targets for the year 2030.
- Every subsequent NDC— the next one is due in 2025 — must be a progression from the existing NDC.
- In its NDC, India has promised three main targets for 2030-
- a 45 per cent reduction in emission intensity (emission per unit of GDP) from 2005 levels,
- a 50 percent share of renewables in electricity generation,
- creation of5 to 3 billion tonnes of additional carbon sink through forests.
Long Term Low Emissions Development Strategies (LT-LEDS)-
- There is no particular time frame for which these long-term strategies have to be prepared.
- At COP26 held in Glasgow, countries announced target years for achieving net-zero status.
- Most of the developed countries set the target year for Net-Zero status2050.China has set 2060 as its target year, while India set it as 2070.
- India’s strategy To reach the net-zero destination-
- India is planning large-scale interventions in five sectors— energy and electricity, transport, urban design, industries, and forestry.
- The long-term strategy document lists key focus areas and specific interventions that India is already taking or has planned to initiate, in each of these priority sectors.
- In the energy sector, for example, decarbonisation would come mainly through expanding the share of renewable energy, rationalising the utilisation of fossil fuels, and focusing on demand-side management.
- Low carbon development in the transport sector would be driven mainly by the electrification of both public and private vehicles,phased transition to cleaner fuels, and introduction of intelligent traffic systems.
- There are no mid-term goals or indicative pathways.
- Most of the 60-odd countries that have submitted their long-term strategies have not offered mid-term targets or pathways, but some, including the UK and the US, have provided a few sectoral projections with expected milestones they hope to reach.
- One of the sectors India has not mentioned in its long-term strategy is agriculture, which is mainly responsible for methane emissions.
- Methane is the second most common greenhouse gas in the atmosphere after carbon dioxide.
- That is because methane is far more dangerous than carbon dioxide in its potential to cause global warming.
- That also means that from molecule to molecule, the reduction of methane offers far greater benefits than carbon dioxide.
- Unlike carbon dioxide, methane is largely a sectoral gas, so its reduction does not have economy-wide repercussions the way carbon dioxide has.
Carbon removal technologies-
- The net-zero status can be achieved only when the emissions are offset either by the absorption of greenhouse gases by forests or the physical removal of these gases through futuristic technologies.
- Emissions can be reduced significantly but not brought down to zero.
- The balance would have to be offset through various kinds of carbon capture, and storage technologies (CCS).
- India will be heavily reliant on CCS and negative emissions technologies to achieve this goal, and in particular, to offset emissions from challenging and hard-to-abate sectors.
- R&D Accordingly, India has identified several climate- specific technologies in CCS, biofuels, smart grids, solar photovoltaics, energy storage, and others.