According to reports, this is one battle where India has an upper hand over China. India was responsible for only eight per cent increase of the global energy-related carbon dioxide emission in 2000-10, while China represented 68 per cent, according to a Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) report.
“Though India is better placed, it needs some real policy level intervention from the government. It should focus more on renewable space,” said David Nelson, senior director, CPI. However, the report adds that in India, as with China, most new power generation since 2000 came from conventional sources, though the past decade saw exponential growth in renewable energy generation. During the 10 years from 2000, India’s wind energy capacity grew by 1,250 per cent.
Even though renewable electricity in China grew 661 per cent from 2000 to 2010, these sources still only produced the equivalent of 0.68 per cent of electricity from conventional sources by the end of that period. India is planning to double its renewable energy capacity from 25,000 Megawatt (Mw) in 2012 to 55,000 Mw by 2017. “With more units in place, sources like solar energy would become more cost-effective. India can surely reap long-term economic benefits of low-carbon development, without sacrificing short-term growth,” believes Nelson.
The report suggests that though India has aggressive renewable energy targets and industry energy efficiency policies, it faces significant infrastructure challenges. In the US and India, renewable energy targets have been given to the states, even as the national governments develop policies to incentivise it. Europe experiments with a range of interconnected national and EU level policies, which are often further targeted by economic sector, while China experiments with special economic zones, incentives, and regulation for its low carbon cities and low carbon provinces.
From 2005 to 2010, Indian states phased in renewables portfolio obligations for their electricity markets. As of 2010, these statewide targets translated to around 5.5 per cent nationwide target for renewable energy in China, the CPI report adds. The report looks into three decades of evidence from five key economies – India, China, Brazil, the EU, and the US – which together contain slightly more than half of the world’s population and account for nearly two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions.