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India Sectors

What is Indiaʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

Energy consumption in India’s building sector has been steadily increasing since 1990. In 2019, residential and commercial building sector consumed 25% of the total primary energy and 24% of electricity consumption.5 Analysed 1.5°C pathways show that the share of electricity in the building sector energy mix could reach 44-80% in 2030 and 77-90% by 2050 under different scenarios. All scenarios see direct CO₂ emissions declining rapidly, between 59-79% by 2040 and 86-100% by 2050. The drop is mostly driven by an increased electrification rate with a high share of renewables in the power mix and increased energy efficiency. Paris Agreement compatible pathways show that the sector could reach net zero emissions by 2029-2040. This would bring along large benefits such as increased life quality for citizens and direct health impacts through improved air quality.

Solid biomass is an important energy source for the sector, particularly for cooking, with a share ranging from 52-53% in 2020. All analysed scenarios see a rapid decline in biomass demand dropping to 2% by 2050. Share of coal and natural gas is not significant (less than 1% in 2030), with all scenarios showing a declining trend with both being phased out by 2050.

In 2017, the Indian government revised its Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) for new commercial buildings, aiming to reduce energy use by 50% by 2030. In 2018, to push for energy efficiency in the residential sector, the government launched the ECBC-R also for residential buildings, followed by an Energy Efficiency Label in February 2019.17 India has not yet pursued a near-zero energy building strategy.

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6 Observatory of Economic Complexity. India. Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC). (2019).

7 Central Electricity Authority. All India Installed Capacity. (2021).

8 Central Electricity Authority. National Electricity Plan. (2018).

9 Climate Action Tracker. India. September 2020 update. Climate Action Tracker. (2020).

10 Kuramochi, T. et al. Ten key short-term sectoral benchmarks to limit warming to 1.5°C. Clim. Policy (2017).

11 NITI Aayog. Ethanol Blending in India 2020-25 Roadmap for Report of the Expert Committee. (2021).

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14 IEA. CO2 Emissions Statistics. (2019).

15 CEA. Report on Optimal Generation Capacity Mix for 2029-30. (2020).

16 Central Electricity Authority. Annual Generation Report. (2020).

17 Bureau of Energy Efficiency. ECBC Residential. (2020).

18 PIK. The PRIMAP-hist national historical emissions time series. (2021).

19 Dasgupta, S., Van Der Salm, F. & Roy, J. Designing PAT as a Climate Policy in India: Issues Learnt from EU-ETS. Nature, Econ. Soc. Underst. Linkages 315–328 (2016) doi:10.1007/978-81-322-2404-4_16.

20 BEE. PAT scheme (Perform, Achieve and Trade scheme). (2018).

21 MoEFCC. India Third Biennial Update Report to The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. (2021).

22 TERI. Green steel through hydrogen direct reduction. (2021).

23 Bhaskar, A., Assadi, M. & Somehsaraei, H. N. Decarbonization of the iron and steel industry with direct reduction of iron ore with green hydrogen. Energies 13, 1–23 (2020).

24 Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. Notification G.S.R. 749(E). (2018).

25 Clean Energy Ministerial. EV30@30 campaign. Clean Energy Ministerial. (2019).

26 Carpenter, S. India’s Plan To Turn 200 Million Vehicles Electric In Six Years. Forbes. (2019).

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28 While global cost-effective pathways assessed by the IPCC Special Report 1.5°C provide useful guidance for an upper-limit of emissions trajectories for developed countries, they underestimate the feasible space for such countries to reach net zero earlier. The current generation of models tend to depend strongly on land-use sinks outside of currently developed countries and include fossil fuel use well beyond the time at which these could be phased out, compared to what is understood from bottom-up approaches. The scientific teams which provide these global pathways constantly improve the technologies represented in their models – and novel CDR technologies are now being included in new studies focused on deep mitigation scenarios meeting the Paris Agreement. A wide assessment database of these new scenarios is not yet available; thus, we rely on available scenarios which focus particularly on BECCS as a net-negative emission technology. Accordingly, we do not yet consider land-sector emissions (LULUCF) and other CDR approaches.

29 The generation share was translated to approximate capacity shares based on an assumption of a similar split across technologies as the 175 GW target.

30 Analysed pathways assume the development of negative emissions technologies – BECCS – thus the year of zero emissions provided might be reached earlier than when 100% of the power mix is based from renewables and represent a ‘net zero emissions’ year.

31 Analysed pathways assume the development of negative emissions technologies – BECCS – thus the year of zero emissions provided might be reached earlier than when 100% of the power mix is based from renewables and represent a ‘net zero emissions’ year.

Indiaʼs energy mix in the buildings sector

petajoule per year

SSP1 Low CDR reliance
201920302040205010 00015 000
SSP1 High CDR reliance
201920302040205010 00015 000
Low energy demand
201920302040205010 00015 000
High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
201920302040205010 00015 000
  • Natural gas
  • Coal
  • Oil and e-fuels
  • Biomass
  • Biogas
  • Biofuel
  • Electricity
  • Heat
  • Hydrogen

Indiaʼs buildings sector direct CO₂ emissions (of energy demand)


  • Historical emissions
  • High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
  • SSP1 Low CDR reliance
  • Low energy demand

1.5°C compatible buildings sector benchmarks

Direct CO₂ emissions and shares of electricity, heat and biomass in the buildings final energy demand from illustrative 1.5°C pathways for India

Decarbonised buildings sector by
Direct CO₂ emissions
18 to 89
26 to 50
0 to 17
2029 to 2040
Relative to reference year in %
−86 to −27%
−79 to −59%
−100 to −86%
Share of electricity
44 to 80
75 to 77
78 to 91
Share of heat
0 to 8
1 to 7
1 to 7
Share of hydrogen
0 to 2
1 to 13
1 to 12