From: Anna da Costa, Worldwatch Institute, More from this Affiliate
Published September 10, 2009 07:32 AM

India Could Halve Emissions Growth, at a Cost

Growth in India's carbon emissions could be nearly halved by the year 2030 through the use of known practices and technologies, according to a new report from McKinsey & Company.

Through a "step-change in...efforts to lower emissions," India's carbon output could grow from 1.6 billion tons in 2005 to only 2.8 billion tons in 2030 as the country's population expands and its economy develops, the report said. This is down from a previously projected 5-6 billion tons for 2030.


If achieved, this dynamic shift could significantly enhance India's energy security by reducing energy import requirements and shrinking domestic power demand by a quarter, the report concluded. Such measures would also make India one of the world's most carbon-efficient countries, spawning new high-growth industries, increasing environmental sustainability, and improving the quality of life, particularly in rural areas.

"Eighty percent of what India could be in 2030 is yet to be built, providing the country an opportunity to effectively manage the economic and environmental costs of growing energy requirements," said McKinsey & Company Director Rajat Gupta, a co-author of the report.

Despite the potential, 90 percent of the identified emissions-reduction opportunities for India will prove difficult or expensive to achieve, the report said. Just to implement the solutions, the country will require additional investment of between US$869 billion and $1.1 trillion between 2010 and 2030-roughly 1.8-2.3 percent of India's GDP over this period. The projection also exceeds India's expected energy infrastructure investment needs of $1.3 trillion between 2006 and 2030, according to data from the International Energy Agency. 

McKinsey & Company recommends a rapid expansion of energy-efficiency programs and a massive scale-up of renewable energy implementation in India, such as these wind turbines in the western state of Maharashtra.  Photo courtesy Harshad Sharma.

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