The chapter by Shoibal Chakravarty and E. Somonathan focuses on coal, which accounts for a whopping 64% of India’s CO2 emissions in 2021. Since coal combustion also releases other deadly pollutants and particulates, its elimination would have collateral local environmental benefits. The current tax accounts for 20–40% of the price of coal paid by coal-burning power plants, which the authors consider to be well below the level which would internalise even the local component of the pollution externality. The authors recommend an immediate national ban on new coal plans (extending already-existing bans in several states) combined with a gradual increase in the tax on coal to choke off any expansion in the industrial use of coal released by the decline of the coal-based power generating sector. Revenues from the tax should be used to facilitate the transition to other energy sources as well as to protect laid-off workers and consumers affected by increased prices. They should also be used to improve the reliability and affordability of electricity supply to households to discourage the use of residential cooking fires, an important emitter of black carbon.
Another no brainer is for India to mandate the electrification of two- and three-wheeled vehicle production by 2030.
The three no brainers discussed above are some of the most obvious policies that would have a significant impact on emissions growth. These also have the benefit of being simple to implement because decisions can largely be taken at the federal level. States can add to these policies with local policies to further enhance their implementation.