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India could reduce the growth of carbon emissions by up to 35 percent by 2020 says government panel

Renewable Energy is at an interesting stage in India where the question is now on how best we can tap the potential and convert the opportunity available into actual projects being developed and scaled on the ground.

Earlier this year we had noted that, Dr. Manmohan Singh- Prime Minister-India has said that the Twelfth Five Year Plan will give energy efficiency and renewable energy special emphasis. The Plan will focus on specific initiatives needed to put our development on a path consistent with low carbon growth. Energy efficiency and exploitation of renewable energy sources will receive a special emphasis.

According to reports, India could reduce the growth of carbon emissions by up to 35 percent by 2020 over 2005 levels — if it gets international finance and technology, a government panel for low-carbon strategy said on Monday.

Asia’s third-largest economy set a goal for slowing the growth of its emissions in 2009, saying it will try to rein in its “carbon intensity” — the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of economic output — by between 20 and 25 percent by 2020, from 2005 levels.

But in the world’s third-largest carbon emitter any talk of a low-carbon economy has been seen as politically very risky, given the economic costs involved.

The government panel provided a menu of options to reduce the growth in India’s carbon emissions in an interim report on Monday.

“Aggressive efforts” could help the country better its current intensity target,” it said.

“As much as 33 to 35 percent emission intensity reduction could be achieved over 2005 levels, provided adequate international help was worthcoming, bot in terms of technology and finance,” the report said.

The panel said it would calculate the economic costs of a transition to a greener economy in its final report in January.

It outlined strategies to limit emissions growth in highly polluting sectors such as power, buildings, transport and industry. It recommended promotion of technological innovations and incentives for green investments, among other policies.

For example, in the power sector, the panel recommended that the government should cut excessive dependence on coal-based power produciton and boost renewable energy sources.

“Reducing electricity demand by use of efficient appliances, introduction of more fuel efficient power plants and changes in the mix of power plants needs to be considered,” Kirit Parikh, the head of the panel, said.

Parikh said fuel efficiency in transport sector including the railways, emssion cut in industries like steel, cement, oil and gas via adaptation of new technologies will be part of a low carbon strategy for inclusive growth.

India is under pressure to cut pollution in the fight against climate change. While per-capita emissions are still low, demand for electricity and fossil fuels is increasing as the middle class clamours for more cars, TVs and better housing.

The panel’s green prescriptions will form part of a 12th Five Year Plan (2012/17).

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