Co-Authored by Chirag Gajjar and Pankaja Balaji
India is aiming for a 33 to 35 percent reduction in CO2 as compared to 2005 levels. In addition, the country is also planning to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 million tonnes of CO2. This is despite the country current emission intensity is 0.36 kg CO2, which is 60 percent less than developed nations. Why is India so proactive in cutting emissions? India now has the opportunity to develop itself in an environmentally neutral manner, ensuring that growth and development are sustainable over time and in practice.
International agreement on tackling climate change is within reach and the 21st Conference of Parties, in Paris is likely to go down in history books. To be ahead of the curve, domestic players need to bring in change now.
In its climate pledge, the government of India has mentioned initiatives like tax free bonds, the creation of multiple funds such as the National Adaption Fund and the Clean Energy Fund, and incentive schemes at the state and national levels. In addition, mandatory programmes to reduce industrial emissions such as the Perform Achieve Trade (PAT) scheme launched by India’s Bureau of Energy Efficiency, and voluntary initiatives such as the India GHG Program towards measurement and management of emissions have been acknowledged in India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) as well.
The PAT scheme is the government’s initiative towards improving energy efficiency. In its first phase, spanning three years, eight energy intensive sectors were selected and given targets in order to reduce energy consumption and increase energy efficiency.
The India GHG Program led by WRI India, Confederation of India Industry (CII) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) is an industry-driven voluntary platform to measure and manage organizational greenhouse gas emissions. The programme builds comprehensive measurement and management strategies to reduce emissions and drives more profitable, competitive and sustainable businesses and organisations in India.
The PAT scheme and the India GHG Program are complementary initiatives on multiple levels with the potential to bring cohesive development that could help businesses decrease their emissions and increase their efficiency. By increasing energy efficiency it is possible to reduce CO2 emissions, and vice versa.
Targeting Efficiency, Cohesively
Both initiatives approach target setting from opposite ends. With the PAT scheme, a sectoral top down approach is used to determine targets for the sector. This target is then conveyed as a percentage reduction in ‘specific energy consumption’ from a baseline consumption, to be achieved over a three year cycle. The government has revealed that there has been a 4 to 5 percent reduction in energy consumption of these sectors in 2015, as compared to 2012.
For the India GHG Program, the first step is measurement. The tools help businesses understand the on-ground scenario and identify specific areas within which emissions reduction can be achieved using any of the following - offsetting, replace, redesign, using alternate energy sources, and resource efficiency.
For instance, JSW Steel who is targeting a 5 percent reduction by 2015, or for Godrej and Boyce who are targeting 100 percent carbon neutrality by 2021, identifying specific areas within which emissions can be reduced, can help achieve these targets in the long term.
Similarly, for industries under PAT, the India GHG Program’s approach can help strategize how to meet their energy reduction targets, and help them come up with their own targets, keeping in mind that each company has its own specific constraints. This means that facilities under the PAT scheme can better strategize how to achieve their given three year target, by setting shorter specific targets that can act as checkpoints of on-ground change.
Measure, Report and Verify
A major part of schemes and initiatives that involve target achievement necessarily include measurement, reporting and verification (MRV). The PAT scheme does this on an annual basis with designated energy auditors conducting assessments so that industries have unbiased data to show their progress. These external audits are mandatory in order to ensure transparency and accountability.
In addition to MRV, the India GHG Program conducts capacity building workshops and trainings that build expertise for businesses to conduct their own audits. This allows for flexibility and creates investment among employees as they feel more accountable. Periodic internal audits aid management to quickly confirm whether newer methods are working or not. The Program identifies reduction opportunities, helps set short-term and long-term reduction goals, and enables industries to track their progress for more efficient and effective emissions management.
Industries must take the lead to support India in meeting its international commitment for 2030. While the PAT scheme sets reduction targets, the India GHG Program offers internationally recognised and locally relevant greenhouse gas measurement and accounting tools to build inventories, reduce emissions, and drive more efficient, resilient, and prosperous businesses and organisations. Together, the PAT scheme and India GHG Program can help Indian businesses improve sustainability and push the country closer to its promised targets.