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India no longer needs global support to decarbonise itself: UNEP expert

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New Delhi, May 14, 2017: India no longer needs international cooperation to decarbonise itself and needs to pressure countries to remain ambitious, including wealthier countries that need to act domestically and support developing countries in the transition to a green economy.

Similarly, China today is the world’s largest issuer of green bonds, a new way to fund “green” projects.

So says Simon Zadek, co-Director with the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System.

The Inquiry is an international platform for advancing national and international efforts to shift the trillions of dollars required for delivering an inclusive, green economy through the transformation of the global financial system.

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With solar procurement bids in India now below the cost of coal, action in this and other areas no longer needs international cooperation to decarbonise, Zadek told IANS in an email interview.

Similarly, within a few years, there will be the massive deployment of battery technology and electric vehicles.

India must be concerned, however, that climate change is addressed for its own secure development and needs to pressure all countries to remain ambitious, including wealthier countries that need to act domestically and support developing countries in the transition, he said.

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Zadek was replying to a question: With President Trump mulling a possible pull out of the 2015 Paris Agreement, do you think this will impede or demotivate developing countries like India and China to continue on its path to decarbonise?

Speaking at a UN energy forum in Vienna on May 11, Power Minister Piyush Goyal said: “The road from Paris to India today has been somewhat bumpy. We will have to sort that out. But I’d like to reassure each one of you here today that stands committed to its commitments made at Paris irrespective of what happens in the rest of the world.”

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According to Zadek, China has adopted literally hundreds of policy steps in encouraging the transition to a low-carbon and sustainable economy, many of which are reflected at a high-level in its 13th Five Year Plan.

“Of notable importance is massive policy and fiscal support for sustainable infrastructure (especially in the mobility and energy spaces but also water, sanitation, land use, etc.), the State Council adopted recommendations to green China’s financial system and the countrywide carbon market.”

The UNEP expert, who has advised companies worldwide on sustainability issues, and until recently lived in China, believes there will be no successful “brown” economies in the 21st century.

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“So the transition is an imperative, and an early transition offers so many first mover advantages to China that catalysing it with fiscal and other policy support makes sense.”

Zadek said funds from international frameworks like the Green Climate Fund (GCF) would not help transition in countries like India and China.

The GCF and other international public funds are far too small to play any significant role for India or China, except in catalytic and experimental roles such as encouraging the use of blockchain and other digital technologies to ease and lower the cost of international capital.

The GCF is a unique global initiative by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to respond to climate change by investing into low-emission and climate resilient development.

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On China’s investments in its green programmes, he said the People’s Bank of China estimates that $600 billion a year is needed to green the country’s economy.

“Today the numbers are far from that but progress is being made with China’s levels of green credit having hit almost 10 percent of total banking sector portfolios and China today being the world’s largest issuer of green bonds.”

On steps India could take to accelerate decarbonization of its economy, he said: “Much more of what you are already doing, ramping up clean energy, including distributed solar for isolated, unconnected communities, shutting down your coal build pipeline for simple economic reasons and preparing India’s innovative entrepreneurs to move heavily into clean mobility.”

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He favoured transforming India’s domestic financial system to make it fit for the purpose and so enabling the country to reduce dependency on expensive international capital.

India’s draft “Ten Year Electricity Plan” calls for a staggering 275 GW of renewable energy by 2027, in addition to 72 GW of hydro and 15 GW of nuclear energy. IANS

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India China’s Fight Over the Doklam Plateau Explained

Doklam or Donglang, is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India

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picture from- indiaopines.com

By Ruchika Verma

  • India and China have an old history of disputes
  • This time, the dispute is regarding the Dokplam Plateau
  • The area is of strategic importance for both the nations

Disputes between India and China are not at all uncommon. The rivalry between the two nations is famous. There have been several disputes between the two on the India-China border in past, and there seems to be no stopping for these disputes in the present or future, for that matter.

India and China have a n old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com
India and China have an old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com

In June 2017, the world witnessed yet another dispute arising between India and China. This time the dispute was about China building a road extending to Doklam Plateau, which both nations have been fighting over for years now.

Also Read: China is likely to get involved if India disrupts $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

History of the dispute 

Doklam or Donglang (in Chinese), is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India. India doesn’t directly claim the area but supports Bhutan’s claims on it.

India fits into the picture, as this plateau is an important area for India. Not only is Bhutan one of the biggest allies of India; China gaining access over the Doklam Plateau will also endanger India’s borders, making them vulnerable to attacks.

Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan's borders.
Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan’s borders.

Apart from the hostile history of the two nations, the Doklam Plateau is also important for India to maintain its control over a land corridor that connects to its remote northeastern States. China building a road through Doklam surely threatens that control.

A complete timeline of what happened in the recent Doklam Standoff 

On 16 June 2017, Chinese troops with construction vehicles and excavators began extending an existing road southward on the Doklam plateau, near India’s border. It was Bhutan which raised the alarm for India.

On 18 June 2017, India responded by sending around 270 Indian troops, with weapons and two bulldozers to evict the Chinese troops from Doklam.

On 29 June 2017, Bhutan protested against the construction of a road in the disputed territory.  According to the Bhutanese government, China attempted to extend a road in an area which is shared both Bhutan and India, along with China.

Between 30 June 2017 and 5 July 2017, China released multiple statements justifying their claim over the Doklam plateau. They cited reasons as to why the Doklam standoff wasn’t really needed. And how China has not intruded into India’s territory to incite the standoff.

On 19th July 2017, China asked India again to withdraw its troops from the Doklam. On 24th July 2017,  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in his statement, asked India to withdraw and behave themselves to maintain peace.

India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC
India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC

Also Read: Why India Must Counter China’s High-Altitude Land Grab?

What followed till 16th August 2017 was China constantly alleging India of trying to create trouble. They accused India of trying to disturb the peace and not withdrawing the troops, even after repeated reminders. They also accused India of bullying.

India, however, kept quiet during the whole fiasco, only releasing a statement regarding their stand and position at the Doklam standoff.

On 28 August 2017, India and China finally announced that they had agreed to pull their troops back from the Doklam standoff. The withdrawal was completed on that very day.

On 7 September 2017, many media reports claimed that both nation’s troops have not left the site completely. They were still patrolling the area, simply having moved 150 meters away from their previous position.

On 9 October 2017, China announced that it is ready to maintain peace with India at the frontiers. India reacted in affirmative, the peace was established when Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman’s visited Nathu La.

The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay
The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay

The Doklam issue, for now, is resolved. However, given the history of disputes between India and China, it won’t be a surprise if the issue resurfaces again in near future.