India-China climate hope

India's and China's pledged actions to curb their greenhouse gas emissions are likely to overcompensate by 2030 the impacts of US President Donald Trump's policies that appear set to flatten America's emissions, European researchers have said.

By Our Special Correspondent
  • Published 23.05.17
  •  

May 22: India's and China's pledged actions to curb their greenhouse gas emissions are likely to overcompensate by 2030 the impacts of US President Donald Trump's policies that appear set to flatten America's emissions, European researchers have said.

An analysis by the Climate Action Tracker, an independent science-based initiative, has predicted that China and India are likely to "overachieve" over the next decade their pledges made ahead of the December 2015 global Paris climate pact.

The emissions trends in China and India are expected to be driven mainly by planned expansions of renewable energy, particularly solar power and wind in India, and reduced dependence on coal, the tracker's report says.

The Paris climate pact required countries to pledge multiple actions, from increasing energy efficiency and expanding renewable energy to growing forestland, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit the average global warming to below 2°C.

"It's difficult to predict America's future emissions trajectory, but our best estimate is that US emissions will flatten out from now to 2030 if Trump's rollback of the US climate plan is implemented," Niklas Hoehne, founding partner at the NewClimate Initiative and professor of climate policy studies at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, told The Telegraph.

"But developments in China and India will overcompensate the impacts of Trump's policies. The sheer size of China and India will ensure this."

China's coal consumption declined over three consecutive years, 2013 through 2016, and a continued slow decline is expected. India has indicated that its planned coal-fired power plants may not be needed and is likely to experience a significant slowdown in its emissions growth.

"Five years ago, the idea of either China or India stopping - or even slowing - coal use was considered an insurmountable hurdle, as coal-fired power plants were thought by many to be necessary to satisfy the (their) energy demands," Bill Hare of Climate Analytics, a non-profit climate policy institute in Berlin, said in a media release.

"Recent observations show that they are now on the way to overcoming this challenge."

The tracker's report cites a draft energy plan released by the Indian government in December 2016 that predicts an electricity capacity as high as 57 per cent from renewable energy by 2027, much higher than the 40 per cent stated by India's climate action pledges in 2015.

A dramatic drop in the price of renewable energy from solar and wind is likely to drive these new targets.