India, US must work on climate change to expand trade: Kerry

By Elizabeth Roche
US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry. (AFP)

NEW DELHI : India and the US have a major opportunity to work together on climate change in a way that will expand bilateral trade and investment in clean energy products and services, US presidential envoy for climate John Kerry said on Monday. 

In New Delhi to launch the Climate Action and Finance Mobilisation Dialogue (CAFMD) under India-US Climate Clean Energy Agenda 2030, Kerry said the US looked forward to partnering India to bring finances and technology that would help Asia’s third largest economy transition from sources of energy like coal to greener options.  

The CAFMD has three parts – the first being the climate action segment under which the US and India would develop proposals to curb emissions, Kerry said. The second was finance mobilization which would focus on attracting capital and technologies for India to scale up its renewable energy generation to its announced generation target of 450 GigaWatts. Over the past months, six of the largest banks in America had publicaly committed to investing a minimum of $ 4.16 trillion in the next 10 years to make the transition happen, the US envoy said.    

The third was climate adaptation and resilience that included efforts like extending India’s forest cover, he said.  

On his part, India’s environment minister Bhupendra Yadav said India was working proactively working towards tackling climate change challenges and reducing carbon emissions. 

India is already an attractive destination for global clean energy investments, the minister said adding: “I hope this dialogue will work to mobilise and deliver climate finance primarily as grants and concessional finance, as envisaged under the Paris Agreement to strengthen climate action."  

Kerry’s visit to India, his second since being named special envoy earlier this year, is part of US’ efforts to prepare for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, or COP26, to be held in Glasgow between 31 October-12 November. Last week, Kerry traveled to Japan and China for talks. India is seen as the world's biggest emitters of greenhouse gases after China and the US though with far lower emissions per capita than the other two countries. According to media reports, Kerry has previously spoken of US and allied nations raising a “huge amount" of private sector investment to support India’s efforts to combat global warming.  

On Monday, besides Yadav, Kerry also met India’s minister for power RK Singh and Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar.  

The CAFMD is part of the India-US Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership launched at the Leaders' Summit on Climate in April 2021 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden. A second strand is the US-India Strategic Clean Energy Partnership (SCEP), helmed by Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas and Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri on the Indian side and the US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. Puri and Granholm launched the revamped SCEP virtually last week.   

Commending India for its goal to produce 450 GW of energy from renewable sources by 2030, Kerry said “India is a world leader in demonstrating that economic development and clean energy is not a zero sum choice … you can have it both at the same time."  

In his remarks, Yadav said the CAFMD would “provide both countries an opportunity to renew collaborations on climate change while addressing the financing aspects."  

“I believe this Dialogue will not only strengthen India-US bilateral cooperation on climate and environment but will also help to demonstrate how the world can align swift climate action with inclusive and resilient economic development, taking into account national circumstances and sustainable development priorities," he added. 

Kerry on his part called for urgent action to address climate change especially against the backdrop of the UN’s climate panel warning last month that limiting global warming to close to 1.5 degrees Celsius or even 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels “will be beyond reach" in the next two decades without immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. 

 “Floods, forest fires, record levels of rainfall are happening everywhere and to keep 1.5 degree warming limit in reach, and avoid more catastrophic consequences, we must act now," he said.  

“There has never been a better time to invest in energy transition. Renewable energy is cheaper than ever. Investors are flocking for clean energy all around the world," he said. 


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