Planning for energy and climate policies involves complex and varying challenges in India. Policy makers and investors must make strategic, forward-looking decisions that consider new trends and uncertainties in technology, finance, markets and policies along a rapidly increasing urban population.
Growing carbon emissions must also be taken into account. India’s average per capita GHG emissions is equal to just over 2 CO2e, and various modelling studies indicate that this will peak at about 4-5 CO2e. This is comparable to global per capita emissions in 2018. Going forward, India can lead a new model of economic development, one that avoids the carbon-intensive approaches that countries have pursued in the past. The approach is to “decarbonise as it develops” rather than “decarbonising after achieving development” as many developed countries have pursued in the past. The recently falling costs of clean technologies in the country provide immense opportunity to do so and provide a blueprint for developing economies to follow.
But critical issues must be tackled as we embark on this journey. For instance, how will India’s future energy needs be met? What are the implications of the Panchamrit announcement for livelihoods, incomes and investments? How will social and economic aspirations be balanced? What are the key technologies and finance required? And how can we make this transition just and equitable for everyone?
These are some of the questions that need to be explored to understand how India can achieve sustainable development for all. And given that transforming economies is a process that takes time, modelling long-term pathways and scenarios becomes an important policy tool to find the right solutions. Modelling long-term pathways can help understand the opportunities, challenges, synergies and trade-offs of decarbonisation within the context of India’s developmental priorities and climate commitments. Evidence-based analytics and econometric models give useful insights into these issues providing the right policy direction.
Shakti is working through a multi-year program to strengthen macro-economic and energy modelling capacities of select institutions in India. The idea behind this program is to foster robust long-term modelling data, scenarios, tools and results that can deliver enabling, realistic pathways to achieve India’s climate goals.
The program supports the efforts of the NITI Aayog’s India Climate and Energy Modelling Forum that strives to develop a vibrant energy-environment modelling community in India. Shakti is part of a high-level NITI Aayog steering committee through which it collaborates with identified institutions to co-develop the most pressing policy-relevant research questions. Shakti also furthers dialogue and learning and policy engagement with researchers and modelling groups and partners from industry and civil society.