Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses world leaders during a virtual Earth Day summit, hosted by US President Joe Biden on the climate crisis on Thursday. (PTI PHOTO.)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses world leaders during a virtual Earth Day summit, hosted by US President Joe Biden on the climate crisis on Thursday. (PTI PHOTO.)

At global climate summit, PM Modi unveils new US partnership to foster investments, ties

Modi sought concrete action to combat climate change, adding such action is needed at “a high speed, on a large scale, and with a global scope”. He pointed out India is doing its part through measures such as the country’s renewable energy target of 450 GW by 2030.
PUBLISHED ON APR 22, 2021 09:55 PM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday unveiled a new partnership with the US for investments and collaborations to tackle climate change and told a global summit convened by President Joe Biden that a “back to basics” approach should guide economic recovery in the post-Covid-19 era.

The two-day Virtual Leaders’ Summit on Climate, the first major global initiative by Biden since he assumed office in January, is bringing together some 40 world leaders to forge solutions for climate change and resilient economic development. India is seen as key to future strategies on climate action, given its increasing consumption of fossil fuels and economic growth in recent years.

Modi didn’t pledge any new goals, though he announced the new initiative with the US. He and Biden are launching the “India-US climate and clean energy agenda 2030 partnership” to “help mobilise investments, demonstrate clean technologies, and enable green collaborations”, he said.

Further details of this partnership weren’t immediately available from both countries.

Modi also emphasised the importance of lifestyle change in climate action. “Sustainable lifestyles and a guiding philosophy of ‘back to basics’ must be an important pillar of our economic strategy for the post-Covid era,” he said.

Though people around the world are battling a global pandemic now, this leaders summit on climate is a “timely reminder that the grave threat of climate change has not disappeared,” Modi said.

“In fact, climate change is a lived reality for millions around the world. Their lives and livelihoods are already facing its adverse consequences,” he added.

Modi sought concrete action to combat climate change, adding such action is needed at “a high speed, on a large scale, and with a global scope”. He pointed out India is doing its part through measures such as the country’s renewable energy target of 450 GW by 2030.

“Despite our development challenges, we have taken many bold steps on clean energy, energy efficiency, afforestation and bio-diversity. That is why we are among the few countries whose NDCs [nationally determined contributions] are 2-degree Celsius compatible,” he said.

India has also encouraged global initiatives such as International Solar Alliance and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and the country’s per capita carbon footprint is 60% lower than the global average because the people’s lifestyle is rooted in sustainable traditional practices, he said.

As a developing country, India welcomes partners to create templates for sustainable development that can also help other developing nations in need of affordable access to green finance and clean technologies, he added.

Citing Swami Vivekananda’s call to “Arise, awake and stop not until the goal is reached”, Modi said: “Let us make this a decade of action against climate change.”

Biden described climate change as “the existential crisis of our time” and announced a new goal of cutting US greenhouse gas emissions by up to 52% by 2030 as he launched the summit. ”This is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis,” he said.

The new US target is relative to 2005 levels, and the measures the Biden administration intends to put in place include boosting the fuel efficiency of vehicles, supporting carbon capture at industrial facilities and moving towards carbon pollution-free electricity.  

China too is seen as crucial to all global climate action efforts in view of its energy consumption and economic growth and President Xi Jinping told the summit his country will control coal consumption in coming years and reduce fossil fuel use during 2026-30.

Under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, world leaders agreed to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius. Average global temperatures have increased by more than 1.1 degree Celsius since 1980, and this has been cited by experts as the cause of severe heat waves, droughts and storms.   

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