India to 'hike green energy targets' to combat climate change
India promises to hike renewable energy targets to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, in long-awaited pledges to be announced next week for upcoming UN climate change talks, a newspaper report said Thursday.
India, a major CO2 polluter, will increase solar and wind energy capacity but it's unclear whether it will commit to a timeline for reducing its overall carbon emissions blamed for climate change, the report said.
India will aim to reduce its "carbon intensity"—the ratio of emissions to economic output—by 35 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, according to the Hindustan Times daily.
An environment ministry official told AFP that the pledges would be announced next week to "align" with the national holiday for Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary on Friday.
He gave not details of the pledges known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs, that will form the backbone of a universal climate pact to be forged at the talks.
India, the country with the highest emissions after the US and China, relies on polluting coal for 60 percent of its electricity but has come under international pressure to commit to cutting emissions.
But Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has pointed the finger of blame at developed countries for causing global warming.
Cabinet has cleared the pledges that commit India to generating 40 to 45 percent of electricity from green sources by the end of 2030, the newspaper said.
As a result, India's capacity for renewable energy would be more than double that of Modi's current ambitious target of 175,000 megawatts by 2022.
The country will attempt to reduce its carbon intensity by increasing the efficiency of its thermal power plants, the report quoted an unnamed official as saying.
Modi's government has already announced plans to double coal production to help meet its economic needs, and to bring power to some 300 million Indians living without electricity.
France, which is hosting the talks, this month urged nations to submit their carbon-cutting targets without delay ahead of the conference starting on November 30.
© 2015 AFP