Climate Change

France backs India's solar alliance to fight climate change

'To embrace more renewable energy initiatives, India will need greater financial and technology support ' 

By Anupam Chakravartty
Published: Friday 20 November 2015
Photo: Ankur Paliwal
Photo: Ankur Paliwal Photo: Ankur Paliwal

Days before Conference of Parties (COP21) is set to begin in Paris, Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) Prakash Javadekar has announced India’s plans to launch an International Solar Alliance with French president Francoise Hollande and other world leaders. While the details of the proposed alliance that will be formalised on November 30 are yet to be spelled out, the visiting French foreign minister Laurent Fabius has extended the support to the alliance. 

Javadekar stated that under leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is planning to achieve 175 GW target from renewable sources of energy by 2020. “India is playing a positive role in the climate talks and we will be launching the International Solar Alliance along with the French president and other global leaders attending the meeting on November 30,” he added. 

The minister said that the government hopes for climate justice to the poor and developing countries who are at the receiving end on the harmful impact of climate change.  “Paris must deliver climate justice for poor and developing nations of the world. Some countries are consuming resources which will require five earth sized planets. However, we just have one earth. There is need to make changes in lifestyle to stop the impacts of climate change,” he added. 

Visiting foreign minister Fabius, in a joint press conference with Javadekar, said that India's plan to set up an International Solar Alliance will be an important contribution to access of low carbon energy. “I would like to emphasise that we support particularly India's plan to set up International Solar Alliance that will be an important contribution to ensuring access of low carbon energy and Prime Minister Modi will launch this initiative together,” Fabius said while addressing the press conference. “India for many reasons is a key player and a close friend. It is important that we could understand India’s approach to the summit. The presidency should be impartial and help to find solutions. But the solutions cannot be found without the consensus of country like India,” added the visiting minister.

The French foreign minister is accompanied by Ambassador for Climate Change Negotiations and Special Representative for COP21, Laurence Tubiana. 

In a separate video conference, Javadekar added that in order to counter polluting industries, 2,000 pollution monitoring devices will be installed to keep a check on critically polluted industries. “Out of these, 1,600 devices have already been mandated,” said Javadekar. He further added that India will enter the year 2016 with revamped waste management rules which will be integrated in the ambitious Swatch Bharat Abhiyan. “We have revamped these rules and received several comments from various stakeholders when we put out a draft. Based on these comments and suggestions, we are going to have new rules related to solid waste management, hazardous waste management, municipal waste management rules among others,” he added. 

In a separate conference organised in Kochi, Director General of Bureau of Energy Efficiency Ajay Mathur, a member of the Prime Minister's Council on Climate Change, said India will continue to "proactively push" two fundamental response strategies—adaptation and mitigation—to address climate change at the Paris conference.

“We are looking at an agreement that is just and that is durable. It has to be an agreement that you, I, the US, Japan, island states, all of them have ownership of,” Mathur said while inaugurating a conference on 'Climate Change Paradigms' organised by Centre for Public Policy Research ( CPPR) in Kochi.

Referring to India's ambitious plan to ramp up its renewable energy capacity to 175 GW by 2022 and cut fossil fuel subsidies, he said, if countries ask India to embrace more renewable energy initiatives, it would require “greater degree of financial support and efficient storage technology” from the mechanism to be evolved in Paris.

Starting from November 30, India is likely to play a major role in the talks. Among the country commitments, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions or INDCs, which indicate through their form and strength what shape any 2015 agreement during COP might take, India plans to put forward and further propagate a healthy and sustainable way of living based on traditions and values of conservation and moderation. 

The other INDCs include adopting a climate friendly and a cleaner path than the one followed hitherto by others at corresponding level of economic development; reducing the emissions intensity of its Gross Domestic Product by 33 to 35 per cent by 2030 from 2005 level; achieving about 40 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030 with the help of transfer of technology and low cost international finance including from Green Climate Fund; creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030; better adaptation to climate change by enhancing investments in development programmes in sectors vulnerable to climate change, particularly agriculture, water resources, Himalayan region, coastal regions, health and disaster management; mobilising domestic and, new and additional funds from developed countries to implement the above mitigation and adaptation actions in view of the resource required and the resource gap; and to build capacities, create domestic framework and international architecture for quick diffusion of cutting edge climate technology in India and for joint research and development for such future technologies.

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