India should secure its development at the earliest and remain committed to the goals of climate change, former Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) chairman Anil Kakodkar said.
Terming management of climate change a globally shared responsibility, he said it could succeed only if development aspirations of countries remain “guaranteed”.
“India should secure her development as early as possible while remaining responsible on the climate front and not allow development to slow down while pursuing climate-related actions,” Kakodkar said.
The former AEC chairman was speaking at the release of policy think-tank CEEW’s report on sustainable development and India’s climate policy.
Detailing India’s energy needs, he pointed out that to reach a Human Development Index comparable to that of developed nations, the country would need around four billion tons of oil equivalent of total energy supply annually.
“Electricity will constitute around 20 per cent of the total energy supply. It is my assessment that we are likely to reach this level by around 2040-50. India’s total energy consumption by that time will correspond to 20-25 per cent of the current global energy consumption,” Kakodkar said.
He said as per the draft national electricity plan, electricity required at the end of 2021-22 is projected at 1,600 billion units, after considering demands and management measures.
Kakodkar said a significant part, around 20 per cent, of domestic energy needs was met by the use of biomass, primarily for cooking in rural areas.
“Biomass represents a significant energy source to meet at least the present requirement. Technologies are nearly ready for conversion of biomass into liquid and gaseous hydrocarbon fuels,” he said.
The increasing energy requirements coupled with slower than expected increase in domestic fuel production has meant that the extent of imports in energy mix is rising very rapidly, Kakodkar said.
“This should be a matter of concern considering volatility in hydrocarbon prices and national energy security,” he said.
Given our burgeoning energy import bill, use of domestically available primary energy resources like coal, solar, biomass and nuclear for production of hydrocarbon fuels, for current and future energy assets, needs serious consideration, Kakodkar said.