India was at the forefront of the COP21 negotiations in Paris in 2015. In 2018, it became part of the India-initiated International Solar Alliance (ISA), an endeavour that India has worked closely with France to harness the rich potential of solar energy and bring together all nations that have solar power. ISA is now a conglomeration of 124 countries.
India has been progressively decoupling economic growth from greenhouse gas emission. It is ‘overachieving’ its pre-2020 commitment of reducing mission intensity of GDP from 20% to 25% by 2020 over 2005 levels, thereby achieving its pre-2020 voluntary target. Current reports show a reduction of 24% already. In the past six years, India’s installed renewable energy (RE) capacity has increased by two-and-a-half times, and its installed solar energy capacity has increased 13 times. The government is also supporting adaptation actions of states and Union territories through the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change. Importantly, India has become the only G20 nation on track to meet its climate commitments.
Domestic actions have helped India build its reputation as a responsible global partner for climate action. The Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) is another partnership of governments, UN agencies and programmes, multilateral development banks and financing mechanisms, the private sector, and knowledge institutions. CDRI aims to promote the resilience of new and existing infrastructure systems to climate and disaster risks in support of sustainable development. Launched at the UN Climate Action Summit in 2019, CDRI now has 25 countries and seven international organisations as its members.
India is a member country of the Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI), a multi-government policy forum dedicated to accelerating the introduction and adoption of EVs worldwide. In partnership with Sweden, India launched the ‘leadership group in industry transition’ track at the UN Climate Action Summit in September 2019 in New York.
India has entered into bilateral engagements with countries in the energy sector in the European region. These engagements have helped many significant achievements in the area of sustainable and green technologies, establishing the role of India as a responsible partner in combating climate change. The biggest takeaway from these multilateral and bilateral agreements has been jointly developing sustainable technologies across different sectors at an affordable cost. The presence of a highly skilled workforce in India, and a well-established R&D infrastructure from Europe, could well be harnessed productively for this purpose.
India has been successful in establishing diplomatic ties, as well as being the voice of developing nations by underlining the fact that the developed nations have been historical polluters and must, therefore, finance and provide technologies for climate adaptation. Ahead of the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November, world leaders have acknowledged the fact that India is well-positioned to lead as an example in the sphere of climate change.