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Insights Is India on track with the Decarbonising Transport Initiative?

India’s carbon dioxide emissions fell by 30%. Pre-COVID, India has been notorious for dangerous levels of air pollution, however with one of the most stringent lockdowns in the world, the country experienced lower levels of pollution and substantially cleaner air. As expected, however, when lockdowns eased carbon emissions began to rise again.

As we know, high levels of carbon emissions are contributing to irreversible climate change, with rising temperatures, unpredictable weather conditions, drought and flooding becoming increasingly common. Transport currently contributes to around 10% of India’s total fuel combustion emissions, therefore the Decarbonising Transport Initiative has been launched to help provide a roadmap for sustainability in one of the world’s largest emitters of carbon dioxide.

graphic image of the indian flag and energy sources burning fossil fuels

What is the Decarbonising Transport Initiative?

According to the United Nations, India, which is currently home to 1.3 billion people, is expected to overtake China to have the world’s highest population by 2027. With this date fast approaching, the government must act fast to prevent further hazardous impacts to the environment from carbon emissions produced by providing for the growing and ageing population.

Subsequently, in 2020, the International Transport Forum (ITF) and the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) jointly launched a five-year project aimed at helping India develop a route towards a low-carbon transport system. The Decarbonising Transport in Emerging Economies project in India provides practical support for the Indian government in making the right decisions towards a lower CO2 future for transport systems.

India’s carbon emissions are estimated to continue rising as economic growth boosts demand for energy. Yet with various policies and initiatives, the government is driving towards the decarbonisation of road transport, with a major focus on the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog, emphasises that the decarbonisation of the transport sector would create a cleaner, healthier, and more affordable future for everyone.

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The project will help India translate its climate ambitions into actions by providing targeted analytical assistance… and help us draw policies rooted in data analysis and advanced modelling

Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI AAYOG

Is India on track to meet targets?

There is a race against time to reduce carbon emissions to prevent further damage to the earth. Not only is India one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases, but it will also feel the effects of climate change harder than most. With densely populated cities, rising sea levels and flash flooding, India is vulnerable to extreme weather events. Every country, business, and individual, therefore, has a responsibility to play their part in saving the planet, and for India, where carbon emissions are ranked third highest in the world and with an increasing population, it has never been more crucial.

India is one of the few countries on track to meet its Paris Climate Agreement target, achieving 21% of its pledge to reduce emissions intensity of GDP by 33-35% by 2030. Yet according to the Brown to Green 2018 report, India’s individual sector policies are falling short of aligning with Paris targets. It is recommended that government policies for key sectors, including transport, need to be stronger to decarbonise the economy and achieve India’s climate targets.

However, only a year into the Decarbonising Transport Initiative, it may be too early to determine if India is on track to meet targets.

How can you make an impact on the transportation sector in India?

Transportation development activities will continue to increase over the coming years. According to ITF estimates, freight volumes will grow by 6% annually and passenger volumes by 7%. Therefore, it is imperative to build sustainable infrastructure that will offset the rising carbon emissions.

With the implementation of new initiatives comes the opportunities for bright and innovative minds to develop their careers. 3D modelling, for example, has redesigned India’s transportation market and offers a host of new career choices for architects, project designers and civil engineers who are keen to plan, execute and operate sustainable developments.

Join our team and tackle some of the most complex sustainability challenges

Do you want to make a real difference to society and our environment? At Atkins, a member of the AtkinsRéalis Group, we deliver some of the biggest, most complex, and exciting projects and our core focus is on providing a safe and healthy world for future generations. We provide our colleagues with opportunities to make positive change and we’re looking to grow our teams of astute professionals who can help us on our journey to Net Zero Carbon in all industries.

If you are interested in developing a fulfilling career in the transportation sector, whether its highways, railways, aviation, or bridges, browse our latest transportation jobs today.