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India’s Climate Action Plan 2015



What should be India’s plan to address climate change?
Submit proposals:
Rules: All entrants must agree to the 2015 Contest Rules. and Terms of Use.
Deadline: Monday, August 31 at 23:59:00 PM Eastern Standard Time
Judging Criteria & Prizes: See below.



This contest invites the global community to work together to develop coherent plans for how India as a whole – its government, businesses, other organizations, and citizens – can take effective action to address climate change.

Working as an individual or in a team, you can select plans for each of the five major sectors of the economy and propose them as an effective set of actions that India can take to address climate change.  The five sectors are:  energy supply, transportation, industry, buildings, and all others (which specifically includes agriculture, forestry, and other land use, as well as waste management). With help from the Impact Assessment Fellows, you will be able to see your plan’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emission scenario from 2020 to 2050, and compare that with a business-as-usual emission scenario. You should also select a plan for one other “sector” (called “adaptation”) that includes actions to adapt to changes caused by global climate change such as changing temperatures and rising sea levels.

No single organization–including India's government–could create and implement a complete climate action plan all by itself. Instead, successful action will require work by many different organizations and people.  

Articulating a vision for India as a whole has great potential value, since it can demonstrate that there is a plausible path forward. And such a vision can serve as a roadmap for the many disparate organizations and people whose efforts must be enlisted.

This contest is part of a pilot test of a new initiative in the Climate CoLab to develop integrated proposals for addressing climate change at the regional and global levels. Learn more.  If you have feedback on the approach, please let us know by sending email to

You are invited to discuss about strategies for creating regional and global climate action plans with the Climate CoLab community on the Forum:

Key Issues

Any comprehensive combination of actions to address climate change across a country or region must necessarily involve:

Judging Criteria

Plans will be evaluated based on:

Note: You are welcome to select proposals that did not win prizes or even become semifinalists in other contests.  You may, for instance, find proposals that were overlooked in the original judging of those contests or that have some special relevance when combined with other proposals in your overall plan. 


Judges' Choice and Popular Choice winners will receive a special invitation to attend selected sessions at MIT’s SOLVE conference and showcase their work before key constituents in a workshop the next day. A few select Climate CoLab winners will join distinguished SOLVE attendees in a highly collaborative problem-solving session.

In addition, if your India plan is included in one or more winning global plans, you will receive Climate CoLab Points, and the top point-getters will receive shares of a cash prize of $10,000.

An integrated proposal (such as a regional or global plan) includes ideas from all the people who contributed to the sub-proposals, not just those who created the integrated proposal itself.   To recognize all these contributions, a winning integrated proposal receives CoLab Points that are distributed among all these people.  The top point-getters will receive shares of a cash prize of $10,000.  Read more.

Submission Format

Building the plan. Your plan should consist of a collection of actions, which, when taken together, could effectively address climate change in this region.

You can select actions from:




Your plan should include actions that will impact these six sectors: 

Energy Supply



Buildings (commercial and residential)

Other (including agriculture, forestry, other land use, and waste management)

Adaptation (preparing for the impacts of climate change)


You will also be asked to: 

justify how the actions you selected fit together;

describe the key benefits, costs, challenges and timeline of the plan;

and estimate (working the Impact Assessment Fellows) the emissions that would result from the actions proposed (see below).


Tip:  When editing your proposal, use the proposal icon at the upper right of the toolbar select proposals. You can also use the hyperlink button to link in ideas from websites outside of the Climate CoLab. 


Evaluating impact. A key part of a climate action plan is an overall estimate of the greenhouse gas emissions that would result from the combination of all the actions you propose, decade by decade, from 2020 to 2050.

See your proposal’s impact tab for guidance on how to estimate these emissions.  You can also work with the Climate CoLab Impact Assessment Fellows, who can help you use the impact tools on the platform. 

Resources for Proposal Authors

India National Plan

The National Action Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC) announced by the Government of India in June 2008 forms the climate policy agenda for India. The eight national missions under NPACC that target climate change challenges seek to balance the country’s climate mitigation and adaptation initiatives with long-term economic targets. As poverty alleviation and employment generation are notable national priorities for the country, balancing these with climate targets often presents enormous challenges. 

Despite these concerns, various missions under the NAPCC have made remarkable progress in areas including energy efficiency, emission reduction, renewable energy generation, etc. The Government has been reviewing various institutional structures and laid special plan for energy access to India’s 300 million people who lack access to energy, and has called for US$250 billion investments in the next five years of which US$100 billion to be in renewable energy (Sitsabeshan, 2014).  

Assessing the progress made on India’s climate agenda and the sector-wide emission reduction strategies will present an opportunity to see a possible trajectory for the overall progress in climate mitigation and adaptation in the country. This call for proposals seeks ideas from across the world on the actions and strategies India could adopt to meet the climate mitigation goals. 

Key questions to consider: 

How efficiently can India balance its mitigation goals and development objectives? 

What additional domestic actions can enhance India’s climate mitigation efforts, and how can they be implemented?

Industry Sector Plan

Industry is one of the major energy consuming segments in India and accounts for a notable share of fossil fuel consumption. Apart from heavy industries, micro, small and medium enterprises also account for large-scale energy consumption. Industrial sector accounted for 35-44% share of the final energy demand in India (Dhubash, 2015). Specific policy measures such as Perform, Achieve and Trade (the PAT mechanism) are helping the industrial sector meet energy efficiency targets. Similarly, the Labeling and Standards measures used by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (under the Ministry of Power) have been made compulsory for many industrial and household appliances, which in turn contribute to enhancing energy efficiency. However, considering the fact that industry is one of the major energy consumers, much more needs to be done to achieve climate mitigation goals for this sector. There is opportunity policies to support the use of clean energy in the industrial sector at a large scale. The best practice models in energy efficiency, clean energy, and public-private partnership in the industrial sector also need to get more attention in policy-making.  

Key question to consider: 

What new measures and policies in the industrial sector could contribute to India’s climate change mitigation efforts?

Building sector Plan

As the demand for residential and commercial buildings are growing tremendously in India, the energy demand in the building sector is also increasing. The building sector consumed 39% of the total energy pie of India, which is slightly less than the industrial sector (Dhubash, 2015). Though the government of India has developed a ‘National Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency’ and ‘National Mission on Urban Habitat’ under the NAPCC, the need for implementation strategies to address the energy efficiency concerns in the building sector is significant. Innovative policy measures to enhance green building through the application of building codes and incentive mechanisms at the local and sub-national level may help enhance energy efficiency in the building sector. Ideas to enhance the overall role of the building sector in addressing climate change mitigation and improving energy efficiency deserves greater attention.  

Key question to consider: 

What policy actions can help enhance energy efficiency in the building sector?

Transportation Sector Plan

The freight and passenger traffic in India is set to increase in the coming years due to the anticipated economic and population growth. According to the report ‘Low Carbon Strategies for Inclusive Growth’ by Planning Commission (Currently renamed as NITI Aayog), ‘the total freight traffic in the country is expected to grow at 9.7 per cent per annum, and total passenger traffic is expected to grow at about 15 per cent per annum between the 2011-12 period to the 2031-32 period. Consequently, energy demand by the transport sector is projected to increase from 13-18% in 2010 to 22-27% in 2030’ Government of India (2014)

Similar to the other developing countries, the overall dependence on petroleum fuels (coupled with the inefficiency of transportation systems) is already burdening the environment and economy in India. There is great opportunity for climate mitigation efforts to be carefully built into transportation sector policies to ensure fuel usage and infrastructure expansion are in tune with the emission reduction objectives.

The key question that surges here is:

What strategies in the transportation sector can minimize energy related emissions and contribute to India’s climate action plans?

Energy Sector Plan

India depends heavily on fossil fuel sources to meet its energy demand. While more than 35 percent of primary energy demand is met by petroleum sources, coal constitutes the largest share in the energy consumption, accounting for more than half of total primary energy mix (British Petroleum, 2014). The dependence on fossil sources is one of the major concerns as energy related emissions account the highest among country’s GHG emission shares.

 How can we decarbonize electricity generation in India and how can renewable energy generation can be significantly boosted? 

What roles and actions can sub-national entities and civil society play in this effort?

India Adaptation Plan

Being an agriculture-based economy, India is poised to be greatly impacted by a changing climate. This is particularly challenging as more than 60% crops in India are rain-fed (World Bank, 2013), as opposed to irrigation-fed. The National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture prescribed under the NAPCC addresses some of the critical concerns in the sector. Identifying and developing new varieties of climate resilient crops, and integration of traditional knowledge with efficient modern practices are some of the broader initiatives under the mission. The climate change adaptation policies need to address broader socio-economic impacts: the agricultural sector is critical to the livelihood of the majority of rural Indians, and so addressing climate impacts in this sector will support the larger national agenda of alleviating poverty and generating employment.

Being an agricultural economy, what actions can the government, businesses, researchers, and civil society take in strengthening the adaptation measures?

Cities in India have been facing immense problem due to rapid urban growth, lack of climate resilient basic infrastructure, inadequate basic services such as water availability, access to health, sever pollution and sanitation facilities. Consequently risks and vulnerabilities in urban areas are immense and climate change worsens these problems. For instance, extreme weather conditions such as heat wave, flooding, and severe winter affect the lives of people. Therefore, incorporating urban planning and climate resilient development in partnership with government, local business and private sector are required to develop effective policies and adaptation measures. 

Given the Indian government’s recent announcement to build 100 smart cities and focus on deep urbanisation, what actions can be taken to incorporate climate resilient planning in cities, through collaborations at various levels? 

Other Areas

To achieve sustainable development, it is huge task to ensure that future land management deals with the problems of degradation, deforestation, fragmentation and drought. In fact, 32% of India’s land is under degradation and 25% is under desertification. This is particularly concerning as poverty is a major issue in these areas.

To ensure its success, sustainable land management needs to be supported by national and sub-national policies, institutional arrangements, financial resources and monitoring mechanisms. The Desertification Cell in the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF)-supported Sustainable Land and Ecosystem Management project are addressing these problems. However, without involving the national as well as sub-national governments, civil society, and private sector achieving these targets would remain to be a challenge.

Proposals are encouraged to address actions from and cooperation between all of these actors.



British Petroleum (2014), Statistical Review of World Energy, London.

Dubash, Navroz K . et. al, (2015). "Informing India’s Energy and Climate Debate: Policy Lessons from Modelling Studies.” Centre for Policy Research, Climate Initiative, Research Report, New Delhi

Government of India (2014). The final report of the expert group on Low Carbon Strategies for Inclusive Growth, Planning Commission, New Delhi, 

Sitsabeshan, Subaskar (2014), Green Climate Fund and Climate Finance in India, The Climate Group, 11 December 2014, Online:    

World Bank (2013). Turn Down The Heat: Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts and the Case for Resilience, New York