Nations approach India over clean energy projects
Ahead of the 26th conference of parties (COP 26) on climate crisis in Glasgow in November, several countries have approached India to partner on clean energy projects and to commit to net zero emissions by 2050.
On Thursday, Denmark energy minister Dan Jorgensen and German Parliamentary state secretaries Maria Flachsbarth and Norbert Barthle met environment minister Bhupender Yadav over enhancing India’s nationally determined contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement and on futuristic technology to help mitigate climate crisis.
NDCs are pledges by countries on what action they will take to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Besides Yadav, Jorgensen, who is on a five-day visit to India with a business delegation, also held meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s principal secretary PK Mishra and power minister RK Singh during the day.
One of the main areas of partnership for Jorgensen is setting up an offshore clean and wind energy hub in Tamil Nadu of about 1 GW. The Denmark minister also discussed the possibility of India enhancing its NDC ahead of COP 26.
India has three quantifiable nationally determined contributions (NDCs), which include lowering the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33-35% compared to 2005 levels by 2030; increase total cumulative electricity generation from fossil free energy sources to 40% by 2030; create additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tons through additional forest and tree cover.
“All eyes are on India. If India really wants to consolidate its role in climate change mitigation, it will enhance its NDC. India is already in a good place with its expansion in renewable energy. It has sought more financing from the developed world which I support. We need strong NDCs from big emitters to keep the 1.5 degree target alive. The IPCC has already made it clear that all countries will need to transition to net zero at some point,” Jorgensen said after his meeting with Yadav.
Denmark has an intermediate target of reducing emissions by 70% compared to 1990 by 2030.
“It is a huge challenge in a developed economy like Denmark. It means we need to change the whole structure of our entire society and fully decarbonise our energy sector. We need energy efficiency and make energy renewable in which we have frontiers. In 1990, Denmark had developed the first offshore wind farm in the world. We saw prospects in it,” he said.
After the meeting, Yadav tweeted that he had an engaging and fruitful discussion with his Danish counterpart. “I thanked him for the efforts of the Kingdom of Denmark in the renewable energy sector, especially for the cooperation in setting up the Offshore Clean and Wind Energy Hub in Tamil Nadu,” he wrote on the micro-blogging site.
On Wednesday, the first high-level policy dialogue between India and Japan was virtually held between Yadav and his Japanese counterpart, Koizumi Shinjiro, which focused again on COP 26, marine litter and air pollution among other areas of concern.
This was followed by a meeting with H.E. Sultan Al Jaber, UAE’s climate envoy and minister of industry and advanced technology, on issues pertaining to NDCs. The UAE has sought India’s support for the former’s initiative on Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM-C) along with the US and the UK, which is expected to be launched at the Glasgow event.
US special envoy on climate crisis John Kerry is also expected to visit India on September 13 with a focus on India’s NDC and the India-US Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership.
“Most of the meetings are on futuristic technology like green hydrogen. They are not specifically to push India to attain net zero. Of course there have been discussions on NDCs but more importantly, on clean energy partnerships which can actually help solve this crisis. They see India in a leadership role as far as technology and energy is concerned,” a senior environment ministry official said, preferring anonymity.
“When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report was released on August 9, India welcomed it and said that achieving net zero alone is not enough as it is the cumulative emissions up to net zero that determines the temperature that is reached. The IPCC report amply brought out this point and vindicated India’s position that historical cumulative emissions are the source of the climate crisis that the world faces today,” said ,official spokesperson, Gaurav Khare on diplomatic pressure by visiting delegations on committing to a net zero target.
The 1.5 degree Celsius global warming threshold is likely to be breached in the next 10 to 20 years, by 2040, in all emission scenarios, including the one where carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions decline rapidly to net zero around 2050, the latest IPCC report said.
Last month, COP 26 president Alok Sharma had met several Indian officials, including Yadav. Ahead of his visit to Delhi on August 16, Sharma told HT: “We want every country to set out plans to reach net zero by the middle of the century.”
Sharma also met Union power minister RK Singh to discuss collaborations of UK with India on renewable energy and green hydrogen.
“In the context of India, it is worth pointing out that the country is already on track to overachieve its current NDC. So, what I’ve requested is that the government considers whether as part of any revised NDC, that overachievement is taken into account as well as a really ambitious plan for pushing forward on all of this,” Sharma had said.
Earlier this month, UK chancellor Rishi Sunak and finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced a $1.2 billion package of public and private investment in green projects and renewable energy, and the joint launch of the Climate Finance Leadership Initiative (CFLI) India to mobilise private capital to support India’s target of 450GW renewable energy by 2030.