India pushes G20 for a grand global solar alliance

Photo: @MEAIndia

Antalya (Turkey): India on Sunday nudged the G20 to ensure finances and technology worth $100 billion are made available for countries to pursue clean energy during their development, and pushed for its proposal for a grand alliance of solar-rich nations to make this key source of green power as an integral part of people’s lives.

“At G20, we can play an effective role in supporting the multilateral goals of increasing research and development to develop affordable renewable energy. We must also ensure finance and technology is available to meet the universal global aspiration for clean energy,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the G20 Summit here.

“We must meet the target of $100-billion goal per year by 2020,” said the prime minister in this Mediterranean resort, ahead of the crucial meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP) in Paris from November 30 to December 11, under the aegis of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The prime minister, who arrived here late Saturday from London, said India itself has agreed to do its bit for a clean-green world. This, by committing an additional capacity of 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022, cutting subsidies on fossil fuels, taxing the use of coal, and setting up a National Clean Energy Fund of $3 billion to promote clean technologies.

He said such a firm commitment was also made in its own Intended Nationally Determined Contributions for the Paris talks, in which New Delhi has pledged to cut emission levels by 33-35 percent over the next 15 years in an ambitious, fair, and balanced commitment to protect the environment, married to the country’s own agenda for sustainable development.

“We should shift from ‘carbon credit’ towards ‘green credit’. When we speak of targets, we must not only reduce the use of fossil fuel, but also moderate our lifestyle. Development in harmony with nature is the goal of my proposal to launch, along with French President (François) Hollande, an alliance of solar-rich countries at the time of the COP-21 meeting.”

India is proposing what is called an International Agency for Solar Technologies and Applications (INSTA) to bring together nearly 125 countries rich in solar resources that lie between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, notable from Africa and Asia, to pursue this clean, perennial and sustainable source of energy.

The Indian prime minister also pointed towards some shortfalls in what G20 had agreed last year — to raise the collective gross domestic product by an additional 2 percent by 2018. He also alluded that little was done to encourage the developing world, that had the potential to help realize this goal.

“I propose that we consider how G20 can build support systems that focus on countries with maximum growth potential, help address specific bottlenecks there and facilitate implementation of country strategies,” Modi said, adding that the focus must be on infrastructure as agreed in their previous summit in Brisbane.

As for India, the prime minister said growth was being promoted by investing in skills for new and better jobs and physical infrastructure, as also with the world’s largest financial inclusion program and some bold economic reforms.

He said a 7.5 percent growth was its achievement. “Given our size and scale, India can become a pillar of global growth and stability.”

The Indian prime minister also appealed for easier and cheaper global norms for money transfers to emerging economies. “Remittances are a key source of income for households and support for economies in developing countries. We should define a target date before 2030 to reduce the high costs of transferring remittances.”

Besides India and Turkey, the G20 comprises Argentina, Australia, Britain, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, the US, and the European Union.

Originally formed at the level of finance ministers and central bank governors in 1999 after the East Asian economic crisis, the G20 assumed significance after its elevation to a summit-level forum in 2008, following the global financial crisis.