India’s aspiration towards Net-Zero Emissions came up at Cop 26. In Nov 2022 it released the Long-Term Low Emissions Development Strategy (LTS) to the UNFCCC. Though India’s contribution towards Global Warming is minimal, we are committing to fight Climate Change with robust action plans. India is taking a pathway of development that addresses the collective problem of climate change in adherence to the international bodies holding the principle of multilateralism and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC)

India’s approach towards low carbon development

India considers four key factors for its low-carbon development strategy.

1. India’s past carbon-emission contribution

The 1850-2019 carbon emissions data places India and other Southern Asian countries at the bottom of the list with just 2% of the total net anthropogenic emission even though the then population of the region was 17% against the total world population combined. North America and Europe’s emissions alone stood at 39%. They had a population of just 13% during that time.

This parity in the emissions acts as one of the bases for India’s argument for seeking more time in achieving net-zero emissions after 2050, which is the time set for the developed counties to achieve zero-carbon emissions through suitable climate finance, technology sharing and capacity building support.

2. India’s current energy needs for development

Energy is everything for a country’s development. The west has had its share of non-renewable energy since the beginning of the first industrial revolution. As per the 2019 annual primary energy consumption report, our per-capita energy consumption was 28.7 gigajoules (GJ), which equals just 0.17 barrels of oil which in turn translates to just 27.027 litres of oil. This is a very minimal amount in comparison to the staggering levels of the west. In fact, India’s per-capita consumption is even lesser than other developing countries of the world. Thus, our dependency on easily available energy is much more than the western counties which are in the process of decoupling energy from growth.

3. India’s commitment to low-carbon strategies

India has realized the need for action toward climate change mitigation and has been taking steps since 2008, with the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPPC). The Action Plan was also set up having consideration of the trade-offs and corresponding costs. Thus, it is clear that India’s effort is not just directed at climate-oriented policies but also allows broader development choices. In fact, India seeks to be at the helm of climate action for all developing nations who aspire to adapt and achieve their climate action targets.

4. Needs to Build climate resilience

Even though India’s responsibilities are minimal, India has always made determined commitments at the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement. India also announced reaching its net zero emissions target by 2070, which is not a long time for a developing country having a huge dependency on fossil fuels for all its energy needs. Our updated Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement submitted to the UNFCCC promises three key targets

  • i) Achieve 50% replacement of cumulative electric power generation capacity from fossil fuel sources to non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.
  • ii) Reduce the emission intensity of GDP to 45% by 2030 which is way below its earlier target of 33-35%, set in 2005.
  • iii) Encourage a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, based on tradition and values of conservation and moderation. Propagate a mass movement for LiFE- Lifestyle for Environment to fight climate change at all levels of the country.


India is taking the stand of a world leader and all its actions stand testimony to its ethos of combined actions for all nations. It is taking a demanding task despite its minimal carbon emission contribution per capita emissions. India wants to set an example and calls for a global effort to be a part of a noble cause of saving the planet from further distress. It hopes to fight climate change world not alone but as one family.