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US climate envoy John Kerry arrives for 2-day India visit

Kerry is expected to meet Union environment minister Bhupender Yadav on Monday, and other government officials regarding New Delhi’s climate ambitions.
Kerry has spoken of the US and allied countries raising a “huge amount” of private sector investment to help India’s efforts to mitigate global warming.(Reuters file photo)
Updated on Sep 13, 2021 12:09 AM IST
By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The US’s Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry arrived in India on Sunday for his two-day visit that aims to lay the groundwork for American efforts ahead of a key United Nations climate conference scheduled for November.

Kerry is expected to meet Union environment minister Bhupender Yadav on Monday, and other government officials regarding New Delhi’s climate ambitions. The special envoy’s visit from September 12 to 14 will involve discussions “to raise global climate ambition and speed India’s clean energy transition,” the US State Department said on Friday, announcing Kerry’s visit.

On Monday afternoon, the former US secretary of state and Yadav will also launch the Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue (CAFMD), one of the two main tracks of the US-India Agenda 2030 Partnership that US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced at the Leaders Summit on Climate in April.

Kerry has spoken of the US and allied countries raising a “huge amount” of private sector investment to help India’s efforts to mitigate global warming.

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On the Indian side, too, officials said talks will largely focus on financing for clean energy projects.

“Our discussions will be mainly on clean energy initiatives and financing of these projects. There will be discussion on NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) also. We already have an ambitious plan of having 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030. There are several other initiatives that India is taking on,” a senior environment ministry official said on Saturday.

Kerry’s visit to New Delhi – the second since his appointment to this role – was also described by the State Department as a part of the US initiative to bolster climate efforts ahead of the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

A lot hinges on the COP26 summit, which will be held from October 31 to November 12 in Glasgow, UK.

The 1.5°C-global warming threshold is almost certain to be breached by 2040, and it is likely to surpass the mark by 2050 even if carbon emissions rapidly drop to net-zero, scientists warned in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released last month. The world needs to act now if there is any hope of mitigating the devastating effect of the climate crisis, they said.

Ahead of the summit, several countries such as Denmark, Germany and UK climate chief Alok Sharma have nudged New Delhi to commit to a net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050, and enhance its Paris deal goals.

Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, India has pledged to reduce emissions intensity of GDP by 33%-35% below the 2005 level by 2030 and raise the non-fossil share of power generation capacity to 40% by 2030, among other pledges.

The Indian government, however, maintains that the developed countries which have historically contributed the most to global warming and reaped the benefits of industrialisation should bear a larger responsibility of battling the climate crisis.

The IPCC report “vindicated India’s position that historical cumulative emissions are the source of the climate crisis that the world faces today”, Gaurav Khare, spokesperson of the environment ministry, said last week.

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