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India achieves a 33% cut in greenhouse emissions in 14 years, driven by renewable energy growth and increased forest cover.

India has made impressive strides in combating climate change, as the nation's greenhouse emissions rate dropped by a staggering 33% over 14 years, outpacing earlier forecasts. This significant decrease is largely attributed to increased renewable energy production and a boost in forest coverage, as disclosed by sources familiar with the latest UN-bound assessment.

This development suggests that India is well on its trajectory to achieve its pledge to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The nation had vowed to slash its emissions intensity by 45% from its 2005 benchmark by the year 2030. The metric in focus, emissions intensity, gauges the greenhouse gas emissions produced for each unit growth in the country's GDP. From 2005 to 2019, India saw this intensity dip by one-third, an insight from the Third National Communication (TNC) report reveals.

The global community is currently in the process of crafting their TNC reports to brief the UNFCCC on advancements in emissions mitigation.

Highlighting the increased commitment, India's annual emissions reduction rate leaped to 3% during 2016-2019, up from roughly 1.5% between 2014 and 2016. This unprecedented reduction has been spurred predominantly by India's aggressive pivot toward renewable energy sources, despite the continued dominance of fossil fuels in its energy portfolio.

“There is continuous reduction in the emission intensity of the Indian economy, which shows the country has been able to completely decouple its economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions,” one official, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

An anonymous official conveyed to Reuters that the decreasing emission intensity of the Indian economy signifies a successful disentanglement of economic expansion from greenhouse gas emissions.

The strides made by India could potentially shield it from mounting international pressure to diminish its coal usage. Another official underscored the notable expansion in forested areas and the implementation of initiatives championing non-fossil fuel energy as central to this emissions intensity downturn.

As of two years ago, forests blanketed nearly a quarter of India's land area, approximately 80.73 million hectares. Concurrently, the nation is ardently endorsing green hydrogen, a clean energy source derived from water molecules split using renewable energy.

While this promising report awaits federal cabinet approval, data from the Central Electricity Authority denotes non-fossil fuel energy - which encompasses hydro, nuclear, and renewables - made up 25.3% of the nation's power generation last fiscal year, a slight increase from three years prior. However, thermal power still constitutes a significant 73% of India's electricity consumption.

Eunice is a sustainability writer whose passion is sharing accessible eco-friendly practices with GreenCitizen's global readership. She enjoys birdwatching during her downtime, often deriving inspiration from nature's resilience. An enthusiastic cyclist, she is also an ardent advocate of eco-friendly transport.

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