Christian Aid hails India's decision on cleaner energy

(Photo: WCC / Peter Williams)A community of young Christians, Muslims and Jews working for climate justice in Switzerland on August 18, 2014 at the Ecumenical Institute, Château de Bossey, near Geneva.

Christian Aid has welcomed as bold India's decision to include 40 per cent renewables in its electricity mix by 2030 saying it is "leapfrogging" dirty energy.

India has also agreed to reduce its emissions intensity by 33-35 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, but it said it needs help to do this.

These moves make up a part of India's contribution to the global climate agreement to be struck at December's United Nations' climate conference in Paris.

Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid's Senior Climate Change Adviser, said: "For a country with little historical responsibility for climate change this is a hugely welcome move.

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"It demonstrates a genuine intention to develop in a clean and sustainable manner and moves us a step closer to getting a successful outcome in Paris."

Adow said, "Not only does it kill the idea spread by climate change deniers that India and China don't want a deal in Paris, it also shows that developing nations are able to leapfrog dirty energy."

More than 140 countries have submitted pledges known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions or INDcs to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

They account for some 90 percent of global emissions.

Climate Interactive, a nonprofit group tracking the global climate change movement, has said if countries follow through on the pledges they've submitted, it will limit warming to 3.5 degrees Celsius, The Australian Business Review reported.

India trails only China and the United States in carbon dioxide emissions, but it is a still-developing nation with significant energy needs that are not being met.

An estimated 300 million people in India lack access to electricity.

India's commitment to reducing its carbon footprint is crucial to ensuring a successful climate treaty at the end of the year in Paris, so its actions have been closely watched by the international community.

"The commitment to reduce its emissions intensity is a good step in the road to decarbonisation, but on its own it will not be enough and needs to be increased to keep temperature rises within safe levels," said Christian Aid's Adow.

Coal is India's major source of power, accounting for some 44 per cent of its energy mix. Nuclear power, hydroelectric and renewable energy combined make up about five per cent of its energy use.

"There is big potential for India to go further to cut its carbon emissions if it can be assured access to finance, technology and international collaboration coming out of the Paris deal.

"Hopefully India will now support the inclusion of regular review cycles every five years in the Paris agreement, to allow all countries to increase ambition to keep the world on a safe track."

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