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PROJECT: Towards a sustainable development-based Indian INDC


Project Reference: RSGL-1102

In 2015, ahead of the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the UNFCCC, countries were required to submit their intended contribution to preventing dangerous climate change, known as an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC). There is currently no formal, standard template for INDCs, and therefore countries have been able to tailor their approach to the national context. In accordance with India’s priority of maintaining high economic growth rates and raising living standards, the country has adopted a co-benefits approach to addressing climate change mitigation, as set out in India’s first National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). This means that India is pursuing mitigation measures which also promote national development objectives, for example improved local air pollution or energy security.

The INDC provides an opportunity for examining and enhancing such approaches toward a climate compatible development transition in India. This research, carried out by the Centre for Policy Research, Energy Research Centre and International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, investigated how India’s INDC can meet its sustainable development objectives while meaningfully contributing to climate change mitigation. It developed the analytical basis for India’s INDC, with an emphasis on evaluating and operationalising sectoral co-benefits, and examined the notion that an INDC based on co-benefits is a viable and useful approach. The aim was to stimulate a broader discussion around, and serve as an input to, India’s formal INDC preparations and to inform longer-term approaches to energy and climate planning.

Focusing on India, there were three core strands of the research: 1) synthesis of the results of national and international modelling studies of Indian energy and emissions futures, which provide a basis for approaching an INDC; 2) developing approaches and frameworks for conceptualising and operationalising co-benefits approaches in the context of low carbon planning; and 3) building and enhancing the work of existing low carbon planning processes, such as the Long Term Mitigation Scenarios (LTMS) undertaken by South Africa, the subsequent Mitigation Action Plans and Scenarios (MAPS) process in a number of developing countries, and the LEDS network.

This research project is one of ten to receive funding from the CDKN Climate Compatible Development Impact Research Fund. While the research proposal therefore originated from the project team, led by CPR, this work built on CDKN’s support to the Mitigation Action Plans and Scenarios (MAPS) Programme and LEDS Global Partnership, and is one of several CDKN projects which worked on INDCs in the 2015-16 period. In April 2014, CDKN also published a Guide for the Least Developed Countries in navigating this process.

Updates and resources

A workshop held in May 2015 suggested potential ways forward and a framework to operationalize co-benefits. The discussion was informed by two detailed cases studies, in the cooking and buildings sector (drawing on the Indian Energy Security Scenarios 2047). More details are available on the CPR website.

WORKING PAPER: Elaborating the INDC Context. Over the past year, countries have been negotiating to iron out differences on issues like differentiation, legal nature, scope, form and review of contributions with varying levels of success on each front. This working paper discusses these issues in greater detail.

REPORT: Informing India’s Energy and Climate Debate: Policy lessons from modelling studies. In April 2015, the project team released a report outlining the results and key messages emerging from the first research strand. The report is intended primarily for researchers, but is also relevant to practitioners and decision-makers with interest in modelling Indian energy and emissions futures to 2030. Also available on the CPR website.

POLICY BRIEF: An Approach to Sustainable Development Based Energy and Climate Policy: This brief focuses on multi criteria decision analysis in planning for India’s energy future with a focus on the buildings and cooking sectors.

POLICY BRIEF: Development and Climate Policy Synergies: This brief focuses on the summary of global models to amplify synergies between sustainable development and climate outcomes.

POLICY BRIEF: India’s Energy and Climate Policy – Lessons from Modelling Studies: This brief focuses on the review of seven national energy and climate modelling studies for development and climate policy.

POLICY BRIEF: India’s Sustainable Development Led Approach to Climate Mitigation for Paris: This brief talks about India’s dual interests in climate negotiations: safeguarding adequate energy for development, and promoting an effective international agreement to limit its climate vulnerability.

JOURNAL ARTICLE: Neither brake nor accelerator: Assessing India’s climate contribution, in Economic & Political Weekly Vol. 1 No. 42.

JOURNAL ARTICLE: Towards Methodologies for Multiple Objective-Based Energy and Climate Policy, in Economic & Political Weekly Vol. L No. 49.

In December 2015, the team held a roundtable discussion in the build up to Paris, examining India’s domestic interests and the resultant strategic implications for the country’s negotiating approach to the Paris Agreement.

The team have also published numerous media articles, and been quoted in the press.

International press

Indian press

More information regarding this project and CPR’s related work can be found on the CPR website.

CDKN funding: £160,000

CDKN project manager: Aditi Paul (aditi.paul@cdkn.org)

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