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US will help India with its target of achieving 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030: John Kerry

John Kerry, along with Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav, on Monday launched the Climate Action and Finance Mobilisation Dialogue between the two countries, which Kerry has called a “powerful avenue for US-India collaboration”.

Written by Esha Roy | New Delhi |
Updated: September 13, 2021 10:12:14 pm
Bhupender Yadav and John Kerry jointly launched the Climate Action and Finance Mobilisation Dialogue under India-US Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership. (Twitter/byadavbjp)

United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, on Monday said that the US will assist India in attracting finance and technology to achieve its 450GW renewable energy target for 2030, as announced earlier by Prime Minister Modi.

Kerry is on a three-day visit to India for the launch of Climate Action and Finance Mobilisation Dialogue (CAFMD) under India-US Climate Clean Energy Agenda 2030. This comes just before PM Modi’s scheduled visit to the United States, as well as the COP26 conference in Glasgow in November.

Kerry on Monday said that the United States will promote bilateral clean energy investment and trade. He also added that the US is urging all countries to raise climate ambition in the lead up to the COP26 conference. He was of the opinion that if India seizes the clean energy opportunity, it could become the world’s largest market for batteries and solar panels.

Kerry, along with Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav, on Monday launched the Climate Action and Finance Mobilisation Dialogue between the two countries, which Kerry has called a “powerful avenue for US-India collaboration”.

He also met Union Minister for Renewable Energy RK Singh and Foreign Affairs minister S Jaishnakar to discuss climate action.

“When I visited India last in April, before we launched President Biden’s summit in Washington, I was very pleased to be able to meet with and work with PM Modi to develop the US-India 2030 partnership, which PM and President Biden then announced at the Summit. The agenda 2030 partnership established climate and clean energy as a core pillar of the US-India relationship and the CAF is one of the two main tracks of the agenda that we created at the 2030 Summit. The other part of that is the strategic energy partnership,’’ Kerry said, adding that the US looks forward to PM Modi’s visit, during which the US will discuss the climate crisis and CAF further.

Calling India’s target of achieving 450 GW renewable energy by 2030 one of the most “powerful goals set in the world’’, Kerry said that there were three pillars to the CAF mobilisation.

The first, he said, is through the climate action pillar in which the two countries will develop proposals together which can contribute to curbing emissions “during this critical decade’’ across both economies. For the power sector, the US will assist India in developing a roadmap to achieve the 450 GW renewable energy target, and across transportation, buildings and industry sectors, it will help India chart pathways for a clean transition, he added.

Through the finance mobilisation pillar, Kerry said that the United States will collaborate in attracting capital and enhancing the enabling environment to deploy 450 GW of renewable energy capacity and demonstrate and scale innovative clean energy technologies and promote bilateral clean energy investment and trade.

Through the third pillar of adaptation and resilience, the two countries will collaborate in  building capacities to “measure and manage climate risks’’, he said. The US will also work with India for the protection of forests.

“There’s never been a better time to invest in the energy transition. Renewable energy is cheaper than ever. In fact, it is cheaper to build a solar farm in India than anywhere else on the planet. Investors are now flocking to clean energy all around the world and the energy transition is already rebounding after the worst of the pandemic and is now on track to smash the pre-pandemic record of 8.4 billion dollars invested in one year. The international energy agency forecasts that if India seizes the clean energy opportunity, it could become the world’s largest market for batteries and solar panels,’’ said Kerry.

Over the last month in the US, the six largest banks in America have all publicly committed that over the next 10 years, they will invest a minimum of 4.16 trillion dollars, in an effort to aid this transition to clean energy, he said, adding that this was a huge economic opportunity for all countries, and that the energy transition to clean energy would lead to many more jobs.

Ringing the alarm bell on the climate crisis that faces the planet, Kerry said that the launch of the bilateral dialogue comes at a critical juncture.

“The IPCC report most recently, built on the report of 2018, warned all of us — the best scientists in the world, including scientists from India, said to us that the world has 12 years within which to make the most important decisions to avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis. Regrettably we had a President who pulled out of that agreement for a period of years. Nevertheless, Governors and cities in the United States continued the effort of the United States to live up to the Paris agreement. So, today’s launch comes at a time when the latest IPCC report makes it clear that the world is not yet getting the job done. That we are on a track to reach dangerous levels of warming on the planet, and we have all seen the evidence of that over the course of this last year — fires, drought, mudslides, floods, record levels of rain. Just the other day, here in Delhi, there was remarkable levels of rainfall. This is happening now, all the time. Floods that were predicted to occur every 500 years, occurring every 5-10 years,’’ said Kerry.

The latest IPCC report has confirmed that human activity is the major contributing cause for global warming, and that over the next two decades, the planet is likely to reach, or even exceed 1.5 degrees of warming. The report further found that 1.1 degrees of warming has already taken place over pre-industrial levels.

“Everyone of us understands the basics of the science. To keep the 1.5 degrees warming level in reach, and avoid even more catastrophic consequences of this crisis, we must take action now. We have to take action on short term global emission reductions, because that’s the way we’re actually going to meet the challenge of the climate crisis. And we have to reach a net zero global standard by 2050. Is that something that President Biden is saying? Or I’m saying? No. That’s a matter, not of politics, not of ideology — it is a matter of arithmetic and physics. It is what is happening because of the blanket of greenhouses gases that are warming the planet, warming the seas, the oceans, at a record rate — where 90 percent of the heat goes, and also transforming the chemistry of the ocean, more than it has been changed in millions of years,’’ Kerry said.

He further pointed out that US President Biden has drawn up some ambitious domestic plans, including investing “major new sums of money’’ and infrastructure in research and development programmes that will set new standards for buildings and vehicles, a 2030 target of achieving the sale of 50 percent electric vehicles of all vehicles sold, and a 2035 target of making the American power sector completely carbon-free, including free of oil, gas and coal.

“No country can do this alone. And the world can’t do it, if everyone doesn’t sign up to the solution. That’s why we have signed up to rally the world, to address this massive challenge and to raise global ambition in the lead up to the meeting in Glasgow,’’ he said.

Yadav, meanwhile, said that the dialogue will not only strengthen India-US bilateral cooperation on climate and environment but will also demonstrate how the world can align on swift climate action. He reiterated India’s stance on inclusive and resilient economic development, along with climate action, and said that goals need to be set “taking into account national circumstances and sustainable development priorities’”.

Yadav also reiterated India’s demand that developed countries transfer the promised funds to developing countries, to meet their climate targets.

“India and the United States are natural partners with shared values and our agenda encompasses all major pillars of our strategic priorities, including defence, security, energy, technology, education and healthcare…Recognising that India is already an attractive destination for global clean energy investments, I hope this dialogue will work to mobilise and deliver climate finance primarily as grants and concessional finance, as envisaged under Paris Agreement to strengthen climate action,’’ said Yadav.

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