India pledges $4 billion for green energy to cut carbon emissions
Author: T.V. Padma
India’s plan to transition its economy towards green-energy production was a strong focus of this year’s national budget, with the government pledging 350 billion rupees (US$4.25 billion) to aid the transition. Climate-policy researchers say the funding is a welcome first step but that it needs to be followed by long-term commitments. In November 2021, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi set the goal for his country, the world’s third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, to reach net-zero emissions by 2070. Indian policy analysts applauded the target, but said it was unclear how the country would make the steep emissions cuts needed to achieve it. The budget indicates that India is serious about mitigating climate change, says climate scientist Jayaraman Srinivasan at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. “But to meet the goal of net zero by 2070, it will take many decades of consistent policy to transition from coal, oil and gas to renewables,” he says. Senior government scientists say that the announcement will also help to set the country’s future research agenda. Presenting the annual budget in the country’s parliament on 1 February, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the government is implementing programmes to decarbonize many industries, including energy, agriculture and construction. It committed 19.7 billion rupees to make India a global hub of production and an expor of ‘green hydrogen’ — which is produced using renewable energy to break up water into oxygen and hydrogen, rather than made using fossil fuels. The hydrogen can then be used as fuel by other carbon-intensive industries, such as cement and steel production.