During a presidential trip to India for India’s Republic Day celebrations, U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi made major climate and clean energy announcements. India announced that it would establish a goal for the overall share of renewable energy in its energy mix, building on its recently increased solar energy target to upward of 100 GW by 2022; a new wind energy target of 60 GW is also under consideration. The suite of clean energy initiatives announced today include new bilateral efforts to generate investments in renewable energy and curb urban air pollution. Both leaders also agreed to cooperate closely over the next year to achieve a successful outcome at the Paris climate summit.
India is the third largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind China and the US, but only generates 2 tons of CO2e per capita, compared with 20 tons CO2e per capita in the U.S. and 8 tons CO2e in China.
Following is a statement by Manish Bapna, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, World Resources Institute:
“This agreement further solidifies India’s significant commitment to expand its share of renewable energy. In setting a national renewable energy target, India will boost its economy and bring more and cleaner electricity to its people. This suite of actions reflect India’s multi-pronged approach to limit carbon emissions and shift to a more sustainable economic pathway. Today’s announcement demonstrates a transition from intention to execution.
“The new partnership to stimulate private and public investment into renewable energy will play a pivotal role in India’s reaching its 100 GW solar goal. With rapidly falling prices, solar power is already cheaper than diesel power in many areas across India.
“With a quarter of India’s population living without electricity, its efforts to address climate change need to promote economic development and alleviate poverty. Fortunately, many actions to stimulate growth can also reduce emissions.
“The joint initiative on cities will help India to cut air pollution and protect public health. And the agreement to make further progress on phasing out HFCs is another important step to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
“This announcement builds on the recent progress on climate made between the U.S. and China. The Obama administration is demonstrating a real commitment to work with multiple major countries to drive greater international action on climate change. Ongoing, direct engagement between President Obama and Prime Minister Modi can set the stage for a higher level of cooperation in the lead up to a global climate agreement later this year.”