Parliament passes bill to promote non-fossil energy sources and carbon credit trading

The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill 2022 was approved in the Rajya Sabha by a voice vote on Monday. The Lok Sabha approved the legislation in the previous session in August this year.

A bill to mandate the use of non-fossil energy sources such as biomass, ethanol and green hydrogen and allow carbon credit trading in the country was passed by Parliament on Monday .

The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill 2022 was approved in the Rajya Sabha by a voice vote on Monday. The Lok Sabha approved the legislation in the previous session in August this year.

The bill provides penalties for violations committed by industrial units or ships, and by manufacturers, if a vehicle fails to meet fuel consumption standards.

The amendments also aim to promote renewable energy and the development of a national carbon market to combat climate change. The bill aims to help the country meet its international climate change commitments.

It aims to introduce new concepts such as carbon trading and mandate the use of non-fossil sources to ensure faster decarbonization of the Indian economy and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in line with the Paris Agreement. .

Responding to a debate on the bill, New and Renewable Energy Minister RK Singh said the bill is environmentally friendly and will enable carbon trading in the country. He noted that the bill is a step towards concrete action to reduce carbon emissions.

“It’s something essential for the planet. We have no alternative. It’s the only planet we have and we have to do our best to save it. We’re doing our best, but if you ask me if the other developed countries are doing their best, I will say I have questions, I have doubts. We hear a lot but see no concrete action,” he said.

Concrete actions are what the country is taking and will continue to take in the future as well, he added.

“For the government, the environment is precious and they will take all measures for that,” he said, adding that India has now become a leader in the energy transition.

Currently, 24% of energy consumption comes from the housing sector and the energy conservation code for buildings will also apply to office and residential buildings with a connected load of 100 kilowatts or more.

However, he added, the state government was allowed to reduce the building’s load by up to 50 kW.

“We are also expanding the concept of green building. We are making it more sustainable. Previously it was energy efficiency and we are also adding the concept of renewable energy to it,” he said.

The country also aims to be a leader in green hydrogen and the ministry has already drafted rules and the industry will invest to set up a capacity of 25 million tons of green hydrogen.

He also said the country would reach over 50% of its electricity generation capacity from non-fossil fuels by 2030.

Singh noted that since the BJP government took office in 2014, nearly 1.73 lakh megawatts of capacity have been added, turning the country from an energy deficit into an energy surplus.

“We have improved the distribution system by investing Rs 2.04 lakh crore over the past five years through distribution companies,” he added.

CPI(M) members John Brittas and V Sivadasan proposed amendments to the bill, but these were defeated by voice vote. The bill was presented to Rajya Sabha for adoption on December 8 by Singh.

During the debate, opposition members punched holes in the bill, saying that it encroached on the jurisdiction of the Department of the Environment and that the government should have introduced the bill after consultation with a standing committee of Parliament.

P Wilson of the DMK said: ‘If observed with precision, the proposed bill primarily concerns those environmental aspects which fall within the expertise of the Department of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.’

Ministry of Energy as a nodal agency, he said the bill “acts without jurisdiction and usurps the power of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change”. AAP’s Sandeep Kumar Pathak also pointed out that although it is a “futuristic bill”, it has many problems that need to be addressed.

Similarly, Manoj Kumar Jha of RJD said there was a domain conflict. The Bill would have been even better than its current form had it been introduced after garnering broader input through consultations in a standing committee of Parliament.

He said it is unclear who will be responsible for the carbon credit certificate and who will regulate it.

Shaktisinh Gohil of Congress said that if the bill had gone to a standing committee, it would have been much better.

CPI’s Binoy Viswam urged the government to refer the bill to a parliamentary panel arguing that it needs to be improved with several necessary changes.

Priyanka Chaturvedi of the Shiv Sena described the proposed legislation as “the need of the hour as we look towards energy conservation and energy efficiency”. However, she suggested that the competence should be exercised by an interdepartmental group.

V Sivadasan CPI (M) alleged that the proposed amendment does not solve the problems of ordinary people but promotes centralization.

He said the methods of carbon trading and energy conservation are different from state to state. The union government must give states the right to manage energy saving methods.

While supporting the bill, S Niranjan Reddy of the YSRCP pointed to the lack of a regulator for carbon trading, warning that it could leave a loophole.

Some other members including Satish Chandra Dubey (BJP), Ashok Bajpai (BJP), Birendra Prasad Baishya (AGP), Ram Chander Jangra (BJP), Maharaja Sanajaoba Leishemba (BJP) supported the bill.


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