India: Second Biennial Update Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change


Since India has ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC; 1994), it is required to report to the UNFCCC progress on actions taken to address climate change. India presented its Initial National Communication (INC) to the UNFCCC on June 22, 2004, and its Second National Communication (SNC) on May 4, 2012. It is also required to submit Biennial Update Reports (BURs) – the First BUR was submitted on January 22, 2016, and the Second BUR) on December 31, 2018.

Over 100 scientists, 16 institutions and 21 studies guided the preparation of the Second BUR, including experts from governmental and private institutions. Additionally, academic and research institutions, non-governmental and non-profit organisations, and representatives from the private sector reviewed the report. 

The Second BUR updates the information provided by the First BUR on India’s climate, forests, land use, economy, energy, demographics, greenhouse gases emissions and climate change mitigation. It discusses the domestic measurement, reporting and verification of mitigation efforts and the country’s financial and technological needs for this purpose.

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is responsible for India’s National Communications and BURs. The Second BUR was prepared by the National Steering Committee, chaired by C.K. Mishra, Secretary, MoEFCC. Its members were from various ministries and departments, and the Technical Advisory Committee, which consisted of government officials, academics and members of society, also provided technical guidance.


  1. In 2016-17, India’s per capita energy consumption was 22,351 megajoules, one-third of the world average. Between 2005-06 and 2016-17, the country’s per capita energy consumption grew by 56.4 per cent, at an annual growth rate of 3.8 per cent.

  2. As per India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) submitted to the UNFCCC in 2015 – NDCs present a country’s plans to address climate change – the government is committed to reducing the ‘emissions intensity’ of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 33-35 per cent by 2030 from i2005 levels. (Emissions intensity is defined as the emission rate of a pollutant relative to the intensity of a specific activity or industrial process.)

  3. In 2014, the energy sector’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were 73.2 per cent of the country’s total GHG emissions, the agriculture sector’s were 16 per cent, the industrial processes and products sector’s were 7.8 per cent, and the waste sector’s were 3 per cent. Carbon dioxide formed 76.6 per cent of all GHG emissions, methane 16.1 per cent, and nitrous oxide 5.7 per cent.

  4. India released 2,306 million tonnes of COequivalent in 2014, and its per capita GHG emissions were 1.80 tonnes of COequivalent.

  5. India’s solar power generation capacity multiplied nine times between 2014 and 2018, from 2.63 gigawatts (GW) to 23.28 GW. Its target for 2022 is 100 GW.

  6. The Government of India has set a target of 175 GW for its renewable energy capacity by 2022 – 100 GW from solar power, 60 GW from wind power, 10 GW for bioenergy, and 5 GW from 'small hydropower'.

  7. As of September 2018, the installed renewable power capacity (excluding hydropower above 25 megawatts) exceeded 72 GW, contributing around 21 per cent of the country’s total installed electricity capacity.

  8. Between 2005 and 2018, coal-based electricity generation grew by 9 per cent per year, while the renewable energy capacity grew by 29 per cent per year.

  9. Under the Unnat Jyoti programme (launched on May 1, 2015), over 312 million LED bulbs had been distributed by October 2018, which will contribute to a reduction of around 33 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year. 

  10. As per India’s 2014-15 Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), the country will need US$ 206 billion between 2015 and 2030 to implement adaptation actions in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, infrastructure, water resources and ecosystems. It will also need additional funds to strengthen climate resistance and disaster management.

  11. A 2017 report by the International Finance Corporation (a member of the World Bank) estimates that India will need an investment of US$ 3.1 trillion in key sectors between 2018 and 2030 to fully meet its NDCs.

  12. India’s First BUR for the UNFCCC presented a detailed list of technology needs in the renewable, power and transport sectors. However, most of these needs remained unfulfilled.

    Focus and Factoids by Abizar Shaikh.


National Steering Committee for ‘India’s Third National Communication and Other New Information to the UNFCCC’. The Committee was chaired by C.K. Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.


Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, New Delhi


31 Dec, 2018