India to enforce energy efficiency in climate fight

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India will make energy efficiency ratings a must for electric appliances, including airconditioners and refrigerators, from January, stepping up domestic efforts to fight climate change, officials said.

Jairam Ramesh, India's environment minister, speaks during a news conference in New Delhi July 31, 2009. India will spend some $200 million to protect its forests and will announce how much carbon emission is being captured by its green cover, the environment minister said on Friday. REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli

Power distribution transformers and fluorescent lights will also carry labels that provide information about the energy consumption of a product and enable customers to make an informed choice.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said the efficiency ratings system will extend to all electric motors, color televisions and LPG stoves by June, 2010. Labeling is currently voluntary.

“This will include all appliances in these categories to be sold in India or for export,” Ramesh said.

Energy efficiency is a key focus in India’s national climate change policy, unveiled last year and which lays out a roadmap to a green economy but doesn’t fix a target for carbon emissions.

The government hopes to save 10,000 megawatts of power by efficient use of energy by 2012.

A top climate official said India would unveil a trading scheme centered on energy efficiency certificates that could possibly expand to renewable energy.

The plan involves creating a market-based mechanism that would allow businesses using more energy than stipulated to compensate by buying energy certificates from those using less energy or using renewable energy.

The government is setting up energy benchmarks for each industry sector. Companies that do not meet the benchmarks would have to buy these certificates under a reward and penalty system. “The broad outlines are ready and we should be able to finalize it within a few months,” the official, who asked to remain anonymous, said.

Most firms in India, which is Asia’s third-largest economy and the fourth-largest emitter of planet-warming carbon dioxide, have yet to plan for the impact of climate change and do not measure emissions or have deadlines to curb them, according to studies.

India’s top firms also face little stakeholder pressure to combat climate change with only about 40 percent of major companies setting voluntary carbon emission reduction goals, according to a survey of CEOs by KPMG consultants last year.

Editing by Alistair Scrutton and David Fogarty