General Studies Paper 2
Context: G7 countries concluded two days of meetings on climate, energy and environmental policy in the northern Japanese city of Sapporo.
- Renewable fuel sources and energy security have taken on a new urgency following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Key Highlights of the Meeting
- Carbon-free electricity production by 2035:
- The Group of Seven (G7) countries are committed to working towards ensuring carbon-free electricity production by 2035 and “accelerating” the phase-out of coal.
- Impetus to Solar Power:
- They agreed to accelerate solar and wind energy investments to produce 1,000 gigawatts (GW) by 2030 from solar power and 150 GW of wind power from off-shore platforms.
- Removal of Fossil Fuel Subsidies:
- They reaffirm the commitment to the elimination of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies by 2025.
- Net zero in energy systems by 2050:
- The members agreed to accelerate “the phase-out of unabated fossil fuels” – the burning of fossil fuels without using technology to capture the resulting C02 emissions – to achieve net zero in energy systems by 2050
Other Key Facts relating to Carbon Emission
- Temperatures have already risen by 1.1C since the pre-industrial era.
- The G-7 nations account for 40% of the world’s economic activity and a quarter of global carbon emissions.
- Emerging markets and developing economies now account for more than two-thirds of global carbon emissions
- Russia is one of the world’s largest suppliers of enriched uranium for civilian nuclear programs, with more than 40 per cent of enrichment capacity globally.
- India and China are significantly dependent on coal for electricity, whereas several developed countries, including the United States, Japan, Canada and Europe are reliant on gas reserves
Challenges in Phasing out coal in India
At the United Nations-Conference of Parties (COP) meeting in Glasgow in 2021, India had objected to language in the agreement to “phase out” and pushed instead for a “phase down” of coal.
- High Energy dependence:Coal is Primary energy contributor with a 57% share of India’s energy mix and Coal demand is expected to not peak until the early?2030s.
- Very high Economic cost in phasing out, for example Germany coal phaseout needs investment of more than 50 billion euros.
- Resources richness:According to the Geological Survey of India, India has 319.02 billion tones(bt) cumulative coal reserves in India and the economy of states like Jharkhand, Orissa depends on coal mining.
- Negative impact on tax:In FY20, the Centre alone collected approximately Rs 29,200 crore in GST compensation cess from coal.
- Job loss:one study has mentioned direct coal jobs at 7,44,984 excluding contract employees.
- Issue of NPA:Economic shifts and policy changes may turn coal-fired power plants into stranded assets (non-performing assets). This will rapidly decrease their value, or they may turn into liabilities. This process is already observed in some G20 countries.
- Revised NDCs:
- India is now committing itself to at least 45% reduction in emissions intensity of GDP by 2030 from 2005 level.
- India is committing to ensure that at least 50% of installed electricity generation capacity in 2030 would be based on non-fossil fuel-based sources
- Increase non-fossil energy capacity to 500 GW (gigawatts) by 2030.
- Reduce the total projected carbon emissions by 1 billion tones (BT) by 2030.
- Achieve net zero carbon by 2070.
- The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana: It helped 88 million households to shift from coal-based cooking fuels to LPG connections.
- Hydrogen Energy Mission: Focus on generation of hydrogen from green power resources.
- E-Vehicle: India is accelerating its e-mobility transition with the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME Scheme).
- Vehicle scrapping policy to phase out old and unfit vehicles complements the existing schemes.
- Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT): It is a market-based mechanism to further accelerate as well as incentivize energy efficiency in the large energy-intensive industries.
- Major Programmes in Renewable Energy Sector
- National Solar Mission (NSM)
- Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM):PM-KUSUM provides farmers with incentives to install solar power pumps and plants in their fields.
- Solar Parks Scheme: To facilitate large scale grid-connected solar power projects.
- Green Energy Corridor (GEC):To facilitate renewable power evacuation and reshaping the grid for future requirements.
- International Solar Alliance (ISA): It has 122 sun-belt countries as its prospective member countries and currently boasts a membership of 86 countries globally.
- It is the largest grouping of states, after the United Nations
- National Action Plan on Climate Change
- National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)
- National Biofuel Policy, etc.