The Narendra Modi government in India plans to bring an umbrella legislation on climate change before ratifying the Paris climate agreement, a legacy that US President Barrack Obama wants to leave before the end of his tenure.
During Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Washington earlier in June, India and the US issued a joint statement, saying that the two countries would try to achieve shared goal of enabling entry into force of the Paris Agreement as soon as possible. According to sources close to the Indian government, the Executive Committee on Climate Change, formed by the Indian PM, held a meeting in May and decided to bring in the umbrella legislation through the Environment Ministry. A senior Indian official has said that the main aim of the proposed move was to incorporate many targets from across ministries and sectors.
To meet the climate action targets, India has decided to take a number of time-bound actions in different sectors, such as power, transport, agriculture and animal husbandry. The official, who wished to remain anonymous, explained that India would try to cut emissions through a string of legislation piloted independently by each ministry. The ministries have been asked to assess feasibility of the project through consultations with various stakeholders.
Meanwhile, experts are of the opinion that the legislative route will not be an easy one considering the numbers of ruling party members in the Upper House of the Indian Parliament. It is also important that the first of the legislations or the Compensatory Afforestation Funds Bill (CAMPA) should meet India’s climate targets. As per the draft bill, the legislation will try to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent by unlocking significant funds. Although the Lower House has cleared the bill, it awaits Upper House approval.
In its National Climate Action plan submitted to the UN in October 2015, India mentioned that it would try to cut emissions intensity of its economy by 33-35% (by 2030) compared to 2005 levels. It has also been mentioned in the plan that meeting the target will allow the South Asian country’s overall emissions to continue to rise. Observers believe that the plan is a “strong” commitment that will ultimately expand India’s wind, solar and energy efficiency sectors.