Oxfam reaction to India's proposed emissions reduction target

Published: 2nd October 2015

The India climate action plan for Paris announced today contains the headline pledge to cut the carbon intensity of its economy by 33-35% by 2030. 

Nisha Agrawal, Oxfam India Executive Director, said: 

“Though this falls shy of India’s “fair share” to stay below 2 degrees it does show that India is better at pulling its weight than many developed countries, whose own commitments so far have been woefully inadequate and will put the world on track for a 3 degrees climate agreement in Paris. This would spell catastrophic impacts for all people, but especially the poorest. 

India has also pledged to take additional action, enabled in part by international support, to increase its renewable energy portfolio. Its ambition here is staggering – India aims to increase its current renewable capacity five times over by 2022. And the government has said it would keep going further to reach 40% non-fossil fuel usage by 2030. This would help India leap-frog fossil fuel development. It would be good news for hundreds of millions of Indians who now live without access to energy, because solar is more likely to power their lights tomorrow than expensive fossil-fuel plants. 

A third of the world’s poorest people live in India. Poor people are the first to bear the brunt of climate impacts despite being the last and least contributors to the problem. We welcome the fact that the Indian government has put it efforts to help people to cope with climate change as central to its Paris plan. India faces a big challenge in helping coastal communities prepare for sea-level rises, and particularly in supporting its farmers become more resilient to extreme weather, while needing to feed a growing population. 

Notes to editors

India’s INDC addresses adaptation and mitigation as well as the finance and technologies required to meet its targets. India has pledged to reduce carbon intensity per unit of GDP by 33-35 per cent, on 2005 levels by 2030. Oxfam’s “fair share” calculations indicate that a reasonable expectation of India’s fair share of global effort to stay within 2 degrees would be to reduce emissions intensity by about 45% on 2005 levels by 2030. This is just one way of looking at relative effort-sharing, taking into account India’s relative responsibility for cumulative emissions since 1990; as well as an income threshold which exempts those who have not fully escaped poverty from contributing. The INDC includes an additional pledge to expand non-fossil fuel electricity to reach 40% of total capacity, with the help of technology transfer and low-cost finance from the international community. this builds on India’s already-ambitious renewable target to increase renewable capacity to 175GW 2022, including 100GW solar, which was pledged earlier this year. Other key policy measures include a target for afforestation, and a four-fold increase in the coal tax. The government sets out the measures it is already putting in place to help communities adapt to climate change. Yet total needs are much greater – the government estimates that the adaptation cost for key sectors like agriculture and forestry - on which many livelihoods depend  - is estimated to reach over $200bn between now and 2030.

Contact information

Matt Grainger, Head of Media, +44-1865-339128 (office) +44-7730680837 (mobile) matt.grainger@oxfaminternational.org

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