The year 2021 saw India taking the challenge of climate change head-on, not only leading by example with the high goals on climate action it set for itself, but also partnering with other countries to take forward global clean energy initiatives, like the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.
At the COP26 in Glasgow, Prime Minister Narendra Modi set out India’s climate change targets clearly through the ‘panchamrita’ — or the five-fold strategy.
He announced that India will achieve net zero emissions by 2070; he announced raising of the renewable energy target to 500 GW by 2030, from the earlier target of 450 GW; that India will meet 50 per cent of its energy requirements from renewable energy by 2030; that India will reduce the total carbon emissions by one billion tonnes till 2030; and reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by less than 45 per cent.
Not mincing words, PM Modi also made it clear that it was the historical responsibility of rich countries to provide the necessary climate funding, to support developing countries to undertake climate action at the scale required.
“Today, when India has pledged to move forward with a new commitment and enthusiasm, in such a time, climate finance and transfer of low-cost technology becomes even more significant,” he stressed.
PM Modi also proposed a one-word movement in the context of climate which that can become a key basis for one world. “This word is LIFE — Lifestyle for Environment. It is necessary that all of us come together as collective participants and take ‘lifestyle for environment’ forward as a movement.
He said the LIFE movement can help bring about a revolutionary change in areas like fishing, agriculture, wellness, dietary choices, packaging, tourism, clothing, water management and energy.
Along with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, PM Modi also launched the transnational solar grid initiative – One Sun One World One Grid – on the sidelines of the COP26.
“If the world has to move to a clean and green future, these interconnected transnational grids are going to be critical solutions,” he said.
The OSOWOG is planned as an international network of global interconnected solar power grids that will ensure reliable and clean energy across the world. The project is being spearheaded by the Indian and UK governments in partnership with the International Solar Alliance, and the World Bank.
Along with UK’s Boris Johnson, and Australian PM Scott Morrison, PM Modi also announced the launch of the ‘Infrastructure for Resilient Island States (IRIS)’ for Small Island Developing States or SIDS that face the biggest threat from climate change.
The event was attended by the Prime Minister of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama; the PM of Jamaica, Andrew Holness and of Mauritius, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, at the COP26.
IRIS aims to work with SIDS to identify opportunities for partnerships and technical collaborations to strengthen infrastructure systems for resilient development in these countries. PM Modi also said that India’s space agency ISRO will build a special data window for SIDS to provide them timely information about cyclones, coral-reef monitoring, coast-line monitoring etc. through satellite.
IRIS is an initiative of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) with support from Member Countries and organizations and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) representatives.
The CDRI, an Indian initiative, is an international collaboration to pool best practices and resources from around the world to reshape the infrastructure.
In December 2021, the UN General Assembly granted observer status to the International Solar Alliance, which has over 100 countries as members. After initial reluctance, the US joined the alliance in November this year.
Besides such innovative initiatives announced on the world stage, India has also been entering into agreements with countries that have expertise in climate action, with green hydrogen being the buzz word now.
In his Independence Day speech, PM Modi announced the launch of the National Hydrogen Mission for the country.
“India is to become the world’s biggest Green Hydrogen hub. We are answerable to future generations with our decision making,” he said.
Green hydrogen is the hydrogen fuel that is created using renewable energy instead of fossil fuels. Hydrogen can also be produced by the electrolysis of water, which uses an electric current to break water.
The Prime Minister has also set the country a target of 2047 — when India would celebrate its 100th Independence day — to achieve self-reliance in energy production through a mix of electric mobility, gas-based economy, blending ethanol in petrol and to make the country a hub for hydrogen production.
“Our actions today will determine our future. Our today will set the theme of our 100 years of India’s Independence,” he stressed.
In November, the Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL) floated a global tender to set up green hydrogen generation units at two of its big refineries in North India, at Mathura and Panipat.
India has also entered into green partnerships with countries to tap into their expertise in different facets of climate action in order to meet its own climate agenda targets.
India and Denmark have entered into a unique Green Strategic Partnership to take forward climate action goals. During Denmark PM Mette Frederiksen’s visit to India in October, the two sides firmed up a five-year action plan to take forward the green strategic partnership and signed four agreements to deepen cooperation in green technologies.
Danish companies with niche technologies and expertise have offered to help India in meeting its air pollution control targets, including in the key area of tackling the problem of burning crop stubble.
India and the US in September launched the ‘Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue (CAFMD)’, which is one of the two tracks of the India-U.S. Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 partnership launched at the Leaders’ Summit on Climate in April 2021, by PM Modi and US President Joe Biden. (United News of India)