Effective Climate Action in Cities and States of India

By Soumya Chaturvedula

Effective Climate Action in Cities and States of Indian cooperation between the South Pole, Swiss experts in climate change, energy, water, waste and transport and the cities network ICLEI, Swiss Development and Cooperation (SDC) funded the CapaCITIES project.

Phase-1 (2016 to 2019) of the project built the capacities of 4 Indian cities to integrate climate considerations into urban development processes, prepare climate action plans, implement quick adaptation and mitigation measures and develop large scale financially viable projects that are structured to ensure social equity and other environmental co-benefits. Climate actions worth 736 million CHF (60 billion INR) were identified in all 4 cities and within two municipal budget cycles, the cities already earmarked 84.7 million CHF for implementation of priority actions. In priority sectors of water resource management, clean energy, energy efficiency, waste management, biodiversity enhancement, and public transport, cities implemented test pilots that resulted in a reduction of 6000 tonnes of CO2e emissions annually with 257000 units of renewable energy generated and 102000 m3/ year of biogas generated annually.

Based on these positive experiences of the test pilot, the cities are implementing in cooperation with the Swiss experts large scale projects focusing on waste to energy (bio methanation plant of 250 TPD), renewable energy (10 MW solar plant for municipality own use), e-mobility (Exclusive e-vehicles creating green transit zones in city core areas).

In the current Phase II of this project (2019 -2023), the implementing agency, comprising the South Pole and econcept from Switzerland and ICLEI-South Asia in India, is engaging with the sub-national authorities (state governments) and the national government, specifically the National Institute of Urban Affairs, to contribute significantly to the ongoing programmes enabling accelerated climate action in urban areas.

The National Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has initiated the “Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework” to encourage and support climate action in urban areas and has in several instances drawn from and cited examples from CapaCITIES project outputs as guidance for the other 130+ cities in India, which are participating in this programme. A simplified climate action planning methodology, based on the experiences of the European energy awards is also being designed to encourage first-time cities to embark on a climate-resilient development pathway. Discussions with several financing institutions and engagement with the IIFCL are ongoing to finance at scale climate action as identified in the prepared climate action plans and beyond.