About the Speaker:
Radhika Khosla is a Fellow at the Center for Policy Research in India. She works on the integrated nature of India’s energy sector to examine the linkages between energy, development and climate change, particularly in urban areas. She also focuses on the demand-side of Indian energy, with attention to the technological, institutional and behavioral aspects of energy use and its lock-in to a rapidly growing built environment. In addition, her work examines the analytic and strategic dimensions of India’s energy and climate policies. Radhika is a Visiting Scholar at MIT’s Energy Initiative and her other appointments include the India Fellow for the India Centre for Sustainable Development at the University of Oxford. She was Staff Scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York, where she led research and implementation on building energy policies in Indian states. Radhika holds a PhD in the Geophysical Sciences from the University of Chicago and an undergraduate and master’s degrees in Physics from the University of Oxford.
About the Lecture:
Global perceptions of India’s climate and energy future are changing rapidly. From a focus on how Indian energy needs could jeopardize climate actions, India can now often be seen as a forerunner of a low carbon future. This presentation aims to unpack India’s future energy and emissions trajectory in two ways. First, it puts forth a synthesis of recent modelling studies to more accurately delineate India’s future energy and carbon projections. The synthesis suggests that a doubling of CO2 emissions by 2030, from 2012 levels, will be the likely upper bound of the country’s emissions, and that this trajectory is consistent with its Paris Agreement pledge. Yet, the actual course within this bound remains considerably uncertain. In order to explore the conditions that will shape future emissions, the second part of the presentation focuses on energy demand. It establishes that residential electricity will be both a driver of future energy needs and also be central to demand-side mitigation. Based on surveys undertaken in 2016-17, the presentation provides new empirical evidence for the changing nature of household energy consumption. Specifically: the transition to energy efficient lighting; the appliances bought as income levels rise; and the role of behavior in determining electricity consumption. In sum, the presentation argues that while the scale of India’s energy and emissions growth is unprecedented, its impending transitions provide a window to lock-in low-carbon and equitable development.