As an emerging economy, a major part of India’s nationally determined contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement is an emissions intensity target. With its current policies, India is on track to achieve its climate targets under the Agreement. However, the Indian government is balancing a complicated set of domestic priorities and constraints against its wish to be seen as a global leader on climate change. This paper, based on field research in India, outlines the key findings from a set of interviews regarding the implementation and enhancement of India’s NDC:
- Coal is still the cheapest source of baseload electricity in India and will continue to be its main fuel source for electricity.
- India is constrained in its ability to prioritize climate change objectives by the need to expand energy access and for low-cost energy.
- India would like to be seen as a leader on climate change, particularly when compared to other emerging economies such as China, whose targets are treated as a benchmark. This wish is balanced against its need to continue its economic expansion.
- India tends to take a conservative approach to international commitments.
- The Prime Minister of India has the final say on climate policy matters, but consults with and is advised by a small number of actors in his Council on Climate Change. Think tanks play a major supporting role in climate policymaking.