Washington US special presidential envoy on climate change John Kerry on Tuesday said that America and other countries will join together in a “partnership” to bring “huge amount” of private sector investment in India to help its mitigation efforts, in return for “some changes by India (in) certain parts of what it does”.
Kerry was in India last week for a range of climate-related meetings with top leaders of the government, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ahead of a summit of 40 world leaders that President Joe Biden will host virtually next week. PM Modi is among those invited.
“We actually entered into a partnership there, where we will assist, along with other nations, to help bring finance — and when I say finance, I’m not talking about taxpayer dollar, I’m talking about the private sector investing in this deployment — which will require some changes by India (in) certain parts of what it does,” Kerry said in an interview to CNN Tuesday when asked if he got any commitments from India during the visit.
The investment will be “a huge amount”, he said, which “would allow India to keep track with 1.5 degrees centigrade limitation on the increase of the Earth’s temperature”.
Kerry did not specify which countries are likely to join the United States and India in this partnership and what will be that “huge amount”.
Crucially, the special envoy also did not specify the changes that India will be required to make in its mitigation efforts as part of this partnership. There has been speculation in New Delhi that the United States and other countries may be pressing India to announce a commitment to net zero emissions — when the amount of greenhouse gases produced is no more than the amount taken away through mitigation efforts — by 2050, joining other countries.
Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, India has pledged to reduce emissions intensity of GDP by 33%-35% below the 2005 level by 2030; raise the non-fossil share of cumulative power generation capacity to 40% by 2030; and create additional (cumulative) carbon sink (something like a forest or a natural environment to absorb CO2 emissions) of 2.5-3 GtCo2e (a measure for greenhouse gases), according to the Climate Action Tracker. India had also put forward a condition for meeting its targets: transfer of technology and low-cost international finance.
“Mobilizing public and private sector finance to drive the net-zero transition” is one of the key themes of the world summit called by Biden, along with “galvanizing efforts by the world’s major economies to reduce emissions during this critical decade to keep a limit to warming of 1.5 degree Celsius within reach”.
The White House in an announcement of the summit in March had said that it will “underscore the urgency – and the economic benefits – of stronger climate action” and will be “a key milestone on the road” to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) this November in Glasgow.
Biden’s climate envoy also said in the CNN interview that India “made a commitment to achieve a new implementation of about 450 gigawatts of renewable power, most of it coming from solar but some of it from wind”. He was referring perhaps to India’s target for scaling up its renewable energy production capacity to 450 gigawatts by 2030, which was announced by Prime Minister Modi at a UN climate meet in 2019.