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 Climate Change

Government and Policy
Published on: July 28, 2021, 12:53 p.m.
India, US to fight climate crisis jointly
  • Pershing: encouraging news from India; Courtesy: ClimateChange.org

By Sabin Iqbal

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s continued focus on initiating a clean energy transformation in the country has given a shot in the arm for the US-India partnership on clean energy. Jonathan Pershing, a senior advisor to John Kerry (the special envoy on climate change), has testified before a Congressional Committee that India’s continued focus on clean energy transformation, despite the Covid-19 situation, is encouraging.

India and the US have signed the ‘US-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership’ to work towards an identified 2030 agenda for clean technologies and climate action. Under the partnership signed in April, the two sides aim to launch a climate action and finance a mobilisation drive and relaunch the strategic clean energy partnership.

Pershing said that a key focus will be co-operation to create a regulatory and market condition to find the required investment to meet India’s goal to deploy 450 GW of renewable energy. “If achieved, India would release transformative changes in both its energy security and GHG emission trajectory,” he said.

The US has also sought further co-operation from India in tracking climate crisis and raising global awareness ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, the UK, in November this year. Sherri Goodman, US Secretary General, International Military Council, has apprised the Congress of the crucial role that climate factors play in the tense relationship between nuclear-armed neighbours India, Pakistan and China.

“China, partly due to its transition to renewable energy, is planning the world’s largest hydro-electric facility just north of where the Brahmaputra river crosses into India,” she said, referring to a joint story by the Council on Strategic Risks and the Woodwell Climate Research Centre, which points to a strong warming trend near a high-altitude border between India and China. “Three times the size of Three Gorges Dam, this new dam project is also located in a seismically sensitive zone”. The dam project causes major concerns for the downstream India, as the Chinese could either withhold water from or flood parts of India, she added.

Focus on forest

Meanwhile, Craig Hart, deputy assistant administrator, Bureau of Asia, US Agency for International Development (USAID), informs that the agency is working with India on the rehabilitation and management of more than one million hectares of India’s forests to increase carbon sequestration, improve water yields from forests and better the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities. “USAID/India’s new programme, Trees Outside Forests in India, will incentivise more tree cover on private lands at scales from household to commercial,” he observed, adding that the agency had helped India launch a national programme, in which the commercial buildings would be retrofitted in order to improve their energy efficiency and air quality.


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