India is planning to tackle climate change through the promotion of solar energy and clean coal technology, according to the nation’s first National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC).

The new policy, unveiled in late June by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, outlines eight core “national missions” aimed at addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation, but does not set out specific targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The aim of the NAPCC is to promote sustainable development through the use of clean technologies. Included in the national missions are solar energy, enhanced energy efficiency and strategic knowledge on climate change. It also mandates the retirement of inefficient coal-fired power plants and supports development of IGCC and supercritical technologies.

“Without a careful long-term strategy, climate change may undermine our development efforts, with adverse consequences, across the board, on our people’s livelihood, the environment in which they live and work and their personal health and welfare,” said the Prime Minister. “The National Action Plan really incorporates India’s vision of sustainable development and the steps we must take to implement it.”

The NAPCC aims to promote the development and use of solar energy for power generation and other uses with the ultimate objective of making solar competitive with fossil-based energy options. It also aims to build further on current energy efficiency initiatives, which are expected to yield savings of 10 000 MW by 2012.

Other elements of the NAPCC include missions on water, afforestation and sustainable agriculture. The government has asked its ministries to submit detailed implementation plans for the missions – which will run to 2017 – by the end of the year.

The NAPCC includes specific goals for increasing the use of solar thermal technologies, and establishes a goal of 1000 MW of photovoltaic installed capacity. It also calls for the establishment of a solar research center, increased international collaboration on technology development, strengthening of manufacturing capacity and increased government funding.

The energy efficiency mission recommends mandating specific energy consumption decreases in energy-intensive industries and a trading system for energy-saving certificates. It also recommends the provision of fiscal incentives for energy efficient technology.