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A bold plan for India

India could cut its carbon output in half, says a new study, dramatically improving the country’s energy security and its people’s quality of life. But it will cost, writes Anna da Costa.

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Growth in India's carbon emissions could be nearly halved by the year 2030 through the use of known practices and technologies, according to a new report from McKinsey & Company.

Through a "step-change in…efforts to lower emissions," India's carbon output could grow from 1.6 billion tonnes in 2005 to only 2.8 billion tonnes in 2030 as the country's population expands and its economy develops, the report said. This is down from a previously projected five to six billion tonnes for 2030.

If achieved, this dynamic shift could significantly enhance India's energy security by reducing energy import requirements and shrinking domestic power demand by a quarter, the report concluded. Such measures would also make India one of the world's most carbon-efficient countries, spawning new high-growth industries, increasing environmental sustainability and improving the quality of life, particularly in rural areas.

"Eighty percent of what India could be in 2030 is yet to be built, providing the country an opportunity to effectively manage the economic and environmental costs of growing energy requirements," said McKinsey & Company director Rajat Gupta, a co-author of the report.

Despite the potential, 90% of the identified emissions-reduction opportunities for India will prove difficult or expensive to achieve, the report said. Just to implement the solutions, the country will require additional investment of between US$869 billion (5.9 trillion yuan) and $1.1 trillion (7.5 trillion yuan) between 2010 and 2030 – roughly 1.8% to 2.3% of India's GDP over this period. The projection also exceeds India's expected energy infrastructure investment needs of $1.3 trillion (8.9 trillion yuan) between 2006 and 2030, according to data from the International Energy Agency.

The McKinsey study analysed more than 200 ways to reduce carbon emissions across 10 major economic sectors, including power generation, industry, agriculture and transport. Clean power and energy-efficiency measures in industry were identified as the largest opportunities for India, with the potential to collectively reduce emissions 28% to 34% by 2030.

Green transportation, sustainable urban and rural dwellings, and improved agriculture and forestry practices, meanwhile, could collectively reduce emissions 22% to 26% by 2030. Thirty-seven percent of these opportunities carry a long-term positive cost, actually saving money in the long run, the report said.

Capturing these opportunities could help India become a global leader in emerging "clean" technologies, the study concluded. With its strong engineering talent and ability to provide low-cost manufacturing, the country could be "at the centre of intellectual property right creation and a leader in manufacturing" in the areas of clean coal, solar energy, smart grids and energy-efficient building technologies. The global market potential for clean technology investment is projected to top US$1.4 trillion (9.6 trillion yuan) between 2010 and 2030.

The anticipated high cost of India's low-carbon transition lends support to the government's insistence on financial help from industrialized countries to help the country combat climate change while also lifting more than 455 million people out of poverty. At the July 2009 G8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy, India joined many other developing nations in resisting proposed mandatory emissions reduction targets in the absence of additional financial support.

The McKinsey analysis broke down the US$869 billion to $1.1 trillion into those solutions that ultimately bring about cost savings even if they are expensive to implement, and those that carry a long-term cost to implement. Putting in place the cost-saving measures would require US$333 billion (2.3 trillion yuan) through 2030, whereas the more-costly measures would require US$535 billion (3.7 trillion yuan) through 2030, as well as some US$38 billion (260 billion yuan) annually in additional financing to support the operational costs of these solutions, the report found.

The study also emphasised the need for a strong national policy push to make such significant change possible, noting that "Long term planning and timely action will be critical."

Other challenges that India would face in such a transition include the need for behavioral change among the population, difficulties in the effective distribution of goods and services, the lack of education and training around new technologies or practices and the need to ready different technologies for mass rollout. Combined, these factors render up to 90% of the opportunities that India faces either difficult or expensive to implement, McKinsey concluded.

"Time is of the essence" said Sahana Sarma, a McKinsey & Company partner and co-author of the report. "Even a five-year delay in making the necessary investments could result in a loss of one-fourth of the identified abatement potential."

The McKinsey report outlines 10 recommendations that India could adopt over the next 18 months to help realise up to three-quarters of the proposed emission reductions. These include a rapid expansion of energy-efficiency programs, massive scale-up of renewable energy implementation (complete with demonstration projects, enabling legislation and incentivising tariffs), accelerated establishment of nuclear and hydropower projects, measures to improve agricultural practices and reforestation initiatives, and the creation of a fund to promote national innovation and research into clean technology solutions.

Notably absent from the report's cost estimates is any modelling of adaptation costs – the costs associated with responding to the impacts of climate change that are already being experienced. McKinsey insiders, when questioned, acknowledged that there is little certainty about the potential scale of adaptation costs, noting that even prominent UK economist Nicholas Stern steered clear of such estimates in his seminal 2007 review of the economics of climate change. Yet these costs could be significant: one report recently estimated the real costs of adaptation worldwide to be 2-3 times greater than the US$40 billion to $170 billion (273 billion to 1.2 trillion yuan) figure calculated by the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Adaptation costs could have a significant impact on India's economic growth – expected to continue at an average annual rate of 7.5% – as well as its emissions growth. National adaptation costs are currently estimated at around 2.6% of India's GDP.

The McKinsey study is the latest installment in an expanding portfolio of so-called "cost curve analyses" that examine the most promising technology-based solutions for reducing carbon emissions economy-wide. The analyses map the potential impacts of these measures against their associated financial costs, whether positive or negative.


Anna da Costa is a Worldwatch Institute fellow based in New Delhi.

Translated and republished with permission from Worldwatch Institute, Eye on Earth, www.worldwatch.org

Homepage image from DWIA and GWEC, Keenpress Publishing/Sisse Brimberg & Cotton Coulson
 

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评论通过管理员审核后翻译成中文或英文。 最大字符 1200。

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评论 comments

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

碳排放

我觉得,比起中国来,由于印度在服务业,尤其是软件外包方面做得较好,而在制造业方面较弱,这样一来,印度的碳排放量应该不是特别大。有人了解印度的情况吗?

Carbon Emissions

In my understanding, India is compared to China better in service industry, especially the software outsourcing service, while worse in manufacturing industry. As a result, India should not have massive carbon emissions, does anyone know the situation of India?

(translated by Fangfang CHEN)

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

印度的努力

可以理解,处于经济增长的考虑,印度坚决不愿意承担碳减排的义务。我更关心的是,与它在国际上的强硬态度相比,另一方面,印度在国内为减排已经做了哪些实实在在的行动,毕竟从地图上,我们就能很容易看出气候变化对南亚大陆的影响很大。

Effort of India

It’s understandable that India will be never willing to take the obligation of emissions-reduction considering the economy development requirements. What concerns me more is, which actions India has implemented domestically for emission-reduction, compared to the solid attitude it holds internationally. After all, we can tell easily from the map that climate change has great impact on South Asia continent.

(translated by Fangfang CHEN)

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

没戏

这就是我的担忧。我很悲观的认为,气候谈判没戏了。

发达国家不愿意给钱给技术,发展中国家不可能为减排要经济让步。各自打着自家的如意算盘,如何谈得拢?

说到底,气候谈判能不能成功,关键看发达国家愿意出多少钱,多少力。靠各国保护地球的良知?做梦去吧。

No way

That's exactly what I am concerned. Pessimistically, I think there is no good result in climate negotiation. Developped countries are reluctant to give money or technology whist developping countries also do not want to compromise economic growth for emission reduction. How to realize trade-off if every country just thinks about their own interest? In the end, whether climate negotiation can be successfully achieved depends on how much money developped countries are willing to give. It is just a dream that only counting on their conscience of environment protection.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

气候变化为中印两国工程师提供了巨大的机会

假如在逆向知识工程方面,中印能为其数量庞大的大学毕业生提供激励性措施以加强在该方面的研究,那么这将能够促使中印在发展绿色技术方面领先世界并因此受惠。相比于许多其他较大行业,能源行业只需将很小一部分收入投入到研发之中。担作为既得利益的石油输出国组织和世界最大的石油公司阻碍了绿色能源技术的发展。中印两国受此影响较小,因而不需要坐等减少碳排放(及其他污染)的技术通过复制和黏贴交到他们手里,坐享其成。当然在保护知识产权方面政府职能的失败也是绿色能源技术发展的巨大阻碍。

(翻译/于良杰)

Climate change offers huge opportunity for engineers in China and India

Given their expertise in reverse-engineering - surely China and India can offer incentives to the very large number of university graduates to carry out research which would enable their countries to take a world-beating (and lucrative) lead in developing green technologies.

The energy industry devotes a much smaller proportion of its revenues to research than many other major industries. The vested interests of OPEC and the world's largest oil companies hinder the development of green alternatives.

China and India are free of such influence - and really do not need to wait in the hope that technologies which reduce carbon (and other pollution) will be handed to them on a proverbial plate to copy and install.

The failure of governments to ensure that intellectual property rights are respected is of course a major handicap.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

气候变化重在适应

哥本哈根是不会达成什么协议的,即便是达成了协议,执行起来又能如何呢?看看各签约国按照京都议定书的要求交的答卷,大家不应该能明白,美好的愿望往往不能够达到预期的效果。现在采取行动,恐怕也不能阻止气候的加速变化。现在做什么都晚了,还是琢磨琢磨如何应对吧,可能更实际些。

Focus of Adaptation to Climate Change

It is unlikely that Copenhagen will be able to strike up any agreements, and even if an agreement can be reached, how will it be implemented? Take a look at the signatories in accordance with the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol, everyone needs to understand good wishes are not capable of achieving results. Taking action now I am afraid would not stop the acceleration of climate change. What we do now is too late, however pondering how to respond and adapt to climate change is perhaps the most practical thing to do.