As big money flows in, India wants share of pie

The Green Climate Fund, in the meanwhile, said it had started accepting applications from developing countries for disbursal of funds.

Written by Amitabh Sinha | Lima | Updated: December 12, 2014 10:57 am

Unlike in the past when it was apologetic about seeking international climate finance for itself, India is planning to benefit from the money that is finally becoming available to developing countries to meet their climate objectives by utilising it for its key priority sectors.

Many of the main priority areas of the current government, like the Ganga cleaning mission, promotion of renewable energy, improving urban transport or creating smart cities, can be justified on climate objectives. These also require heavy infusion of funds and the government is expecting that at least part of this can be funded through international finance, both from public and private sources, that is slowly but surely appearing on the horizon.

Just a few years ago, India used to maintain that the international climate finance should mainly flow to the least developed countries and India, with a fast growing large economy, did not need to corner the money for itself. But at that time there was hardly any money on the table and India also needed to win the confidence of the least developing countries, which often used to see India as slowing down the negotiations with its hard positions.

But with the newly created Green Climate Fund collecting nearly $ 10 billion in just about four months, and promise of more money flowing in, India does not want to miss out the opportunity. On Tuesday, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar made a strong sales pitch to developed countries which have promised to raise $100 billion in climate finance every year from 2020.

Speaking at a ministerial dialogue on climate finance, Javadekar said the requirements of the developing countries for carrying out their mitigation and adaptation actions was much larger than $100 billion, in the range of $700 to $1000 billion every year, and if the developed countries acted “innovatively”, these resources could be raised.

Javadekar said rich countries could possibly utilise their well-developed financial markets, even pension funds, to invest in green initiatives in India like cleaning of air and waters, or installation of renewable electricity generation projects in order to raise resources in addition to the $100 billion amount.

An Indian official said the government was in the process of making the necessary policy changes to make it easy for green capital to come to India. He said India could even offer some institutional support to green investors to ensure their investments were safe and profitable.

The Green Climate Fund, in the meanwhile, said it had started accepting applications from developing countries for disbursal of funds. It urged rich countries to quickly convert their pledges into actual deposits so that the disbursals can start by the middle of next year. It said it had already received applications from 27 developing countries and was considering them, giving equal weightage to both mitigation and adaptation projects.

“As the reality of adverse impact of climate change hits home across the globe, we must adopt no-regret adaptation investment now. Acting now will help us to save us billions of dollars in future, and more importantly millions of lives,” Hela Cheikhrouhou, executive director of the Green Climate Fund, said.

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