India shows strong climate leadership


India is the world’s most populated country and still relatively poor. As thus, its energy choices will influence in a major way our common future.

Lucky for us, the much heralded grid parity has reached the country as the local energy minister stated recently that solar is now cheaper than coal there.

As a result, solar is booming in the world’s largest democracy. Currently the country has only seven gigawatts of capacity. But this is only the beginning as the solar PV capacity is due to reach 100 GW by 2022. This solar boom is only a part of a larger picture.

Energy efficiency is also being pushed forward a lot by the government. A hundred million LED bulbs have been distributed in the country. 100,000,000 ! Imagine if all G20 Nations were this enthusiastic at promoting energy efficiency… Meanwhile, the country is also doing its best to ditch coal.

To the local Power Minister, India is committed to cut its emissions by 30-35 per cent as The Financial Express reported earlier this year. To another source, the country is also boosting other renewable energy sources within the Paris Agreement. To myIndMakers:

On April 23, 2016, India signed the Paris Climate Act and announced plans to increase renewable power capacity to 175 gigawatts (4 times current capacity) by 2022 as part of the government’s plan to supply electricity to every household.

India seeks to add 100 gigawatts (GWs) of solar (photovoltaic) capacity, 60 GWs of wind power, 10 GWs of biomass and five GWs of hydro projects.

India hopes to source around two-fifths of its electricity from renewable and low-carbon energy sources and to reduce its emissions intensity, i.e. ratio of carbon emissions per unit of GDP, by around a third by 2030.

An example of how India is promoting solar is their 40 GW rooftop solar program. Not bad for a : developping ” country…

 

All these massive initiatives are taking place as frightening air pollution levels kill as many as 670,000 Indian people every year and is costing the country hundreds of billions of dollars as reported by the Washington Post.

The warming temperatures are having a toll on the population has well. As Climate Progress reported:

The drought and blistering heat, some 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, has claimed 300 lives since early April.

Towns on India’s eastern side have been hit with record-setting temperatures — 119.3 degrees in the town of Titlagarh, Orissa, which is the highest temperature ever recorded in that state during April.

The Guardian also reported of armed guards keeping dams as 330 million people were suffering from water shortages. This is more than the US population.

 

To conclude, neighboring Bangladesh has 15 million solar households as the New York Times reported recently. This is particularly astounding when one knows how poor the country is and how fast this solar boom has taken place. Still recently the country was just counting one then three million solar households.

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