ENVIRONMENT | Contributed Content, India
Pallavee Khanna

The role of NAMAs in achieving low carbon growth in India


In recent years, remarkable economic growth in developing countries has caused a rapid increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in addition to the increased energy demands.

In the milieu of such prevalent situations, Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) (which had emerged in the Bali Action Plan) prove to very assuring in terms of abating the GHG emissions and keeping a check on the surge of global average temperature above 2°C. 

NAMAs contribute to the transformation of an economy towards low-carbon growth, combining development and climate change mitigation. They emphasize national ownership while responding to climate change under the unique conditions of each country by being reactive to national and local circumstances. 

NAMAs are becoming the climate finance vehicle of choice with their different types like Unilateral, Supported and Credited (segregated into categories like goals, strategies, projects, policy and programme) through which the entire mechanism is being operationalized. 

They are carried out on a voluntary basis by both developed and developing countries. They can be formulated/ proposed for any sector like energy, transport, waste, agriculture, buildings, industries, etc.

For example, with a maximum proportion of emissions coming from the energy sector in India, meeting the basic needs of access to energy and at the same time addressing the growing concerns of climate change are a challenge for India. So, NAMAs having focus on enhancing energy supply and access to energy would serve to be very useful in this context.

NAMAs could set India on a path of adopting stronger domestic action, although they would need to be accompanied by more stringent commitments from developed countries in the form of finance, technology and capacity building support. India has taken up a resolution to reduce its emission intensity by 20-25 per cent by the year 2020 as compared to 2005 levels. 

To achieve this target it’s imperative to look beyond project-based mechanisms like Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) etc and focus on a programmatic approach for combating increasing GHG emissions.

Based on the conviction that countries can learn from each other when designing and implementing NAMAs, understanding the experiences from other countries would prove to be essential in formulating India’s NAMAs. 

A number of NAMAs have been submitted by developing countries all over the world in various sectors which are different stages of their development whose details have been documented on the UNFCCC website, NAMAdatabase, etc.

Therefore, a meticulous analysis has to be done for the NAMAs so as to understand number of NAMAs that have been submitted so far and their stages of development (i.e., feasibility study, proposal, implementation etc) along with their regional and sectoral distribution. 

This analysis would therefore, help in bringing to table a global perspective of the concept and a succinct description of the issues w.r.t to preparation (knowledge, awareness, skill etc) and implementation of NAMAs (finance, technology, policy intervention, capacity building requirement). Lessons drawn from such analysis would comprehensively be helpful in enhancing India’s preparedness towards implementation of NAMAs. 

Hence, it would become both possible to design and implement NAMAs unilaterally (“unilateral NAMAs”) or to rely on financial or technical support (“supported NAMAs”). All that is currently required is to explore potential NAMA concepts for India which shall be ‘appropriate’ to the national circumstances of the country and in synergy with the development objectives. 

This can be accomplished by a thorough comparison of the capacities that would be required for implementation of NAMAs against the benchmarked capacities. 

NAMAs can provide a bolster to the Indian government in mobilizing support (through international climate finance, technology transfer and capacity building) for moving away from unsustainable carbon pathways towards low-carbon development.

Till date there is information available (in NAMAdatabase) on only one feasibility study with reference to NAMAs in India (i.e. on improvement of energy efficiency in the steel industry) and so impetus on introducing new concepts and designing their implementation and MRV framework is required.

A roadmap is consequently required which can mark the beginning of a way forward to NAMA development in India.

The roadmap should elucidate the various stages and activities which should be there in a NAMA and the capacities which are required at the knowledge, process and institutional level accomplishing which will allow India to successfully access finance, technology and capacity building support from international sources, and allow it to establish further linkages for cooperation with upcoming institutions such as the Climate Technology Centre and Network, the Green Climate Fund etc.

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Asian Power. The author was not remunerated for this article.

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Pallavee Khanna

Pallavee Khanna

Pallavee Khanna joined Emergent Ventures India (EVI) as Associate Consultant in Policy and Climate  Change  team. She  completed  her  M.Sc.  in  Water  Resources  Management  from  TERI in  May  2013.  In  EVI, she is working  on  multitudes  of  diversified  themes  viz  NAMAs,  MRV,  Climate Finance, Biofuels, State Action Plans etc.

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