NEW DELHI :
Ahead of the 26th UN climate change conference, known as the Conference of Parties (COP26), India has been making efforts to line up financing and access to green technologies that will help it cut carbon emissions.
New Delhi has forged partnerships with the UK and Denmark for finance and technology. With the US, India has opened a dialogue on Climate Action and Finance Mobilisation during US presidential envoy on climate John Kerry’s visit in August.
Efforts by India to stitch up partnerships for green finance and technology gathered steam after Kerry’s first visit in April.
The moves, coupled with initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance, launched in 2015 by India and France, and the National Hydrogen Mission (NHM) announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15 August, are expected to stand the country in good stead, analysts said, when leaders from almost 200 countries gather in Glasgow for the 31 October-12 November summit.
“India is putting in place programmes that will result in a positive fallout during discussions in COP26,” said former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal.
“Countries with which we are talking will help reduce concerted pressure on India from some lobbies as one of three major greenhouse gas emitting countries, disregarding our per capita consumption of energy and the need for India to have adequate carbon space as we move forward in our development,” Sibal said.
India, the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China, has a declared an “aspirational goal” of generating 450 gigawatts (GW) of energy from renewable sources by 2030.
But New Delhi has been urged to declare this as an updated nationally determined contribution (NDC) at Glasgow that will make it incumbent on India to stick to the goal.
India’s current NDC, submitted in 2015, says it will ensure an emissions intensity target of 33% to 35% below 2005 levels. New Delhi had also pledged to ensure that about 40% of its installed power capacity comes from renewable energy. This is a target that India says it is on track to achieving.
With a UN panel warning in August that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels—as pledged by countries in Paris in 2015—“will be beyond reach” without immediate and large-scale reduction in greenhouse gases, the pressure on countries like India to update their NDCs is likely to grow.
Sibal said the reason 450GW of energy from renewable sources is an “aspirational goal” is that it is “based on the assumption that commitments made by countries on providing $100 billion in climate financing and making technology available” will be met.
“If climate change is a transnational problem, then the international community has to take responsibility for India and others meeting their targets under optimum conditions,” Sibal said.
India has repeatedly raised the issue of finance and technologies to help developing countries make the transition from fossil fuels. At an event last week, environment minister Bhupinder Yadav underlined the vulnerability of developing countries, including India, to the effects of climate change and stressed that the COP26 must focus on climate finance and transfer of technology from developed nations.
Climate financing was a key subject discussed at the eighth US-India Economic and Financial Partnership that brought together finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and US treasury secretary Janet Yellen in Washington last week.
“We agreed that public finance, when paired with enabling policies, can promote private finance. We reaffirmed the collective developed country goal to mobilize $100 billion annually for developing countries from public and private sources,” a joint statement after the Sitharaman-Yellen talks said.
But speaking to reporters later, Sitharaman said questions around how the $100 billion yearly commitment will be measured and related technology transfer accounted for remained unanswered, according to news reports.
Meanwhile, with the Quad countries—the US, India, Japan and Australia—saying in September that they will pursue efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, there was speculation that New Delhi could announce an updated NDC soon. Government officials, however, did not comment on the matter.
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