Realising India’s emissions intensity pledge: data needs and short-term actions

As a vulnerable developing country with a low per-capita historical contribution to, climate change, India’s climate commitments are situated within the context of its multiple development objectives, which highlights the need for adopting multiple co-benefits approaches to lowering its emissions trajectory. In line with this, towards supporting international progress on reducing emissions within the framework of the Paris Agreement, at COP 26 Prime Minister Modi announced India’s five ‘Panchamrit’ pledges for enhanced climate action relating to non-fossil and renewable energy (RE) capacity and emissions. Among these, the pledge to achieve emissions intensity reductions of 45% below 2005 levels by 2030 is noteworthy for its economy-wide scope and implications. Since it depends on both total emissions and GDP in 2030, it will reflect progress on overall mitigation actions – including the other ‘Panchamrit’ pledges – as well as India’s growth pathway, and serves as a partial short-term indicator of emissions in the context of India’s macroeconomic and development trajectory. This paper offers suggestions for the data needs and immediate sector actions that can help realise this pledge, within the more comprehensive requirements to realise a longer-term low-carbon development transition.