India is expected to grow at such a rapid rate over the next two decades that it could build approximately 80 percent of the physical assets—including infrastructure, commercial and residential real estate, vehicle stock, and industrial capacity—that will constitute the India of 2030.
Growth of this magnitude will bring tremendous benefits, but it also poses many challenges, particularly regarding sustainability. Demand for resources will increase dramatically, for example, raising the country’s dependence on imports for commodities such as crude oil and driving commodity prices higher in general. And India will need to expand its capacity to generate electricity to meet increasing industrial and residential demand, which will impel a corresponding increase in greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions.
India has already taken significant steps to curb expected increases in GHG emissions. “India: Taking on the green-growth challenge” argues that the country has the potential to reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions even further without compromising its prospects for growth. An assessment of approximately 200 commercially viable opportunities indicates the country has the technical potential to shrink its projected energy consumption by 22 percent and lower its consequent GHG emissions by an additional 30 to 50 percent.
To set a new standard for sustainability, the article suggests that India focus on four areas: increasing energy efficiency in industry, vehicles, and appliances; accelerating the transformation of its power sector, including the adoption of clean technology; building green infrastructure for urban habitats and transportation; and establishing sustainable agriculture and forestry practices.