Paris: Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a packed schedule at the Monday the COP 21 summit in Paris as he addressed the conference, launched the International Solar Alliance with French President Francois Hollande, spoke at the Innovation Summit with other world leaders and held bilateral talks with several leaders including US President Barack Obama and Japan’s Shinzo Abe. Modi also had a conversation with his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines.
Addressing the COP 21 summit, he cautioned against any unilateral steps that will lead to an economic barrier in the battle against climate change as he hoped that the developed countries would mobilise $100 billion annually by 2020 for mitigation and adaptation.
“The principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities must remain the bedrock of our collective enterprise,” Modi said, adding that there should be aggressive mitigative action by developed countries by 2020.
Modi also underlined the need for a national will and genuine global partnership while taking steps to hammer out a climate change deal.
“We look to the developed countries to mobilise 100 billion US Dollars annually by 2020 for mitigation and adaptation,” he said.
Noting that conventional energy was still needed, he said it should be made clean and an end to its use should not be imposed. “And, there should be no place for unilateral steps that become economic barriers for others.” Modi called on the developed nations to fulfil their commitment in a credible, transparent and meaningful manner.
As negotiators from over 190 countries sit down over the next few days to hammer out an agreement, Modi said developed nations, which have a larger carbon footprint, should take the lead in addressing the climate change issues.
“It is not just a question of historical responsibility. We hope advanced nations will assume ambitious targets and pursue them as they have the most room for impact,” Modi said at COP 21 plenary.
At the start of his address, Modi refereed to the horrific Paris attacks earlier this month that claimed over 120 lives.
“The pain of Paris is yet to heal. So, I speak in admiration for your resilience and resolve. And, I salute the world for standing, in full strength, with France and Paris,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister also told the audience that democratic India must grow rapidly to meet the aspirations of 1.25 billion people, 300 million of whom are without access to energy.
“The prosperous still have a strong carbon footprint but the world’s billions at the bottom of the development ladder are seeking space to grow,” Modi said.
“We will succeed if we have the wisdom to craft a collective partnership that balances responsibilities and capabilities,” he said.
Modi asserted that conventional energy was needed but it should be made clean.
He noted that over next few days, nations will decide the fate of this planet.
“We do so when the consequences of the industrial age powered by fossil fuel are evident, especially on the lives of the poor,” Modi said.
Asserting that the choices are “not easy”, Modi said, “we have awareness and technology. We need now national will and a genuine global partnership.” Modi also listed India’s ambitious targets to tackle climate change. By 2030, India will reduce emissions by 35 per cent of 2005 levels, and 40 per cent of its installed capacity will be from non-fossil fuels, he highlighted.
“We will achieve it by expanding renewable energy — for, example, by adding 175 Gigawatts of renewable generation by 2022. We will enlarge our forest cover to absorb at least 2.5 billion tonnes worth of carbon dioxide,” Modi said.
“We are reducing dependence on fossil fuel through levies and reduction in subsidies; switching sources of fuel where possible; and, transforming cities and public transportation,” he said.
Modi stressed that climate justice demands that, with the little carbon space that is still available, developing countries should have enough scope to grow.
“This also means aggressive mitigation action by developed countries before 2020, including ratification of 2nd Commitment period of Kyoto Protocol, removing conditions and revisiting targets,” the Prime Minister said.
Responsibility of Developed Countries
He asserted that equity means that national commitments must be consistent with the carbon space nations occupy.
He said there was a need for a strong agreement on adaptation and loss and damage.
“Developed countries must fulfil their responsibility to make clean energy available, affordable and accessible to all in the developing world. This is in our collective interest,” Modi said.
“Energy is a basic human need. So, we need an ambitious technology initiative, driven by a public purpose, not just market incentives. For this, we need to scale up Green Climate Fund that will improve access to technology and intellectual property,” he said.
Modi highlighted that the presence of 196 countries gives a message that there is a chance to unite behind a common purpose.
“We will succeed if we have the wisdom and courage to craft a genuinely collective partnership that balances responsibilities and capabilities with aspirations and needs. I am confident that we will,” he concluded.
Paris Climate Conference will for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally binding universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.
Launch of International Solar Alliance
Earlier, Modi and French President Francois Hollande launched the International Solar Alliance and pledged India’s assistance of $30 million for the initiative that brings together developed and developing countries.
Modi also announced that India will host the initiative in the premises of the National Institute of Solar Energy in Gurgaon, Haryana.
He said that India will provide land and contribute about $30 million to build the Secretariat infrastructure.
“We will support operations for five years, and together we will raise long terms funds to achieve our goals,” Modi said.
“This is an alliance that brings together developed and developing countries, governments and industries, laboratories and institutions in a common enterprise,” he said at the launch of the International Solar Alliance.
“This day is the sunrise of new hope — not just for clean energy, but for villages and homes still in darkness; and for our mornings and evenings filled with a clear view of the glory of the sun,” the Prime Minister said of the launch of the initiative supported by over 100 countries.
Modi said that as the developing world lifts billions of people into prosperity, the hope for a sustainable planet rests on a bold global initiative.
He stated that advanced countries need to leave enough carbon space for developing countries to grow. “That is natural climate justice,” Modi asserted.
Hollande lauded Prime Minister Modi’s initiative as a paradigm shift.
Modi said, “to my long cherished dream of International Solar Alliance, President Hollande responded with immediate support.”
UN Secretary General also hailed Prime Minister Modi’s initiative saying, “I welcome the initiative of PM Narendra Modi, the UN will work to make it a success.”
Importance of solar energy
To highlight the importance of solar energy, Modi said that in Indian tradition, sun is the source of all forms of energy.
“As Rig Veda says, Sun God is the Soul of all beings, moving and non-moving. Many in India begin their day with a prayer to the Sun,” he said.
“Today, when the energy sources and excesses of our industrial age have put our planet in peril, the world must turn to Sun to power our future,” he added.
Modi highlighted that India has a capacity of 4GW and has set a target of adding 100 GW of solar power by 2022. “By the end of next year, we would have added 12 GW.”
The idea of solar alliance was mooted by Modi during the the India-Africa Forum Summit last month.
Noting that energy sources and “excesses” of industrial age have put the planet in peril, Modi said the world must turn to sun to power the future.
A book on quotations about nature whose preface is written jointly by Modi and Hollande was also released. The Prime Minister dedicated the new edition of his book Convenient Action to the French President.
“I am honoured to co-author the preface with him,” Modi said, adding that, “since ancient times, different civilisations have given a special place to Sun.”
Modi called on advanced countries to leave enough carbon space for developing countries to grow as he said this would mean a growth path with lighter carbon footprint.
“So, convergence between economy, ecology and energy should define our future. The vast majority of humanity is blessed with generous sunlight round the year. Yet, many are also without any source of power. This is why this alliance is so important,” he said.
“We want to bring solar energy into our lives and homes, by making it cheaper, more reliable and easier to connect to grid. We will collaborate on research and innovation. We will share knowledge and exchange best practices,” he added.
Investments in the solar project
Modi said as part of the initiative, countries will cooperate on training, building institutions, discussing regulatory issues and promote common standards.
“We will attract investments in the solar sector, encourage joint ventures and develop innovative financing mechanisms. We will partner with other international initiatives on renewable energy,” Modi said of the alliance.
“There is already a revolution in solar energy. Technology is evolving, costs are coming down and grid connectivity is improving. It is making the dream of universal access to clean energy has become more real,” Modi said.
“I am delighted with the industry response. As you put clean energy within the reach of all, it will create unlimited economic opportunities that will be the foundation of the new economy of this century,” he said.
Officials said that there are over 100 countries which are solar-rich, lying fully or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
These countries, all potential members of the ISA are united by a shared vision to bring clean, affordable and renewable solar energy within the reach of all, they said.
Solar energy also is a practical and efficient way to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions.
With this in mind, countries have been invited by the objective of significantly augmenting solar power generation in their respective countries with a view to contributing to global, sustainable development.
On Sunday, Power Minister Piyush Goyal had said at this conceptual phase, around 50 countries will attend the launch.
He had said that there will be an international steering committee which will deliberate on Wednesdays on the contours and framework of this alliance.
There are around 15-16 countries which have expressed interest to part of the committee.
Developed nations must leave enough room for developing countries to grow, PM Modi also said, asserting that the life of a “few” should not crowd out the opportunities for the many still on the initial steps of the development ladder.
Noting that innovation is vital for combating climate change and ensuring climate justice, Modi also urged the world to come together in a partnership to bring clean energy within the reach of all.
“We have to ensure, in the spirit of climate justice, that the life of a few does not crowd out the opportunities for the many still on the initial steps of the development ladder. The advanced countries must leave enough room for developing countries to grow. We must strive for a lighter carbon footprint on our growth path,” Modi said at the Innovation Summit on the sidelines of the Conference of Parties (COP 21).
“For that we must come together in a partnership to bring clean energy within the reach of all. Innovation is vital for combating climate change and ensuring climate justice. We need research and innovation to make renewable energy much cheaper, more reliable and easier to connect to transmission grids,” he said.
Noting that there is a need to make conventional energy cleaner while developing newer sources of renewable energy, Modi said this is a global responsibility for the collective future.
“Our innovation initiative should be driven by public purpose, not just market incentives, including on intellectual property. That also means strong public commitment by suppliers to developing countries,” Modi said.
“That will make clean energy technology available, accessible and affordable for all. This partnership will combine the responsibility of governments with the innovative capacity of the private sector. We will double our investments in research and innovation and deepen collaboration among ourselves,” he said.
Modi observed that there should be an international network of 30-40 universities and labs focusing for next ten years on renewable energy and said innovation must be backed by means to make it affordable and ensure adoption.
“We have very successful models of public-private partnership with many countries present here. India is also building renewable capacity in developing countries, including small island states,” he said.
“The progress on clean energy technology and costs is impressive. If we raise the level of our efforts, we can transform the world. We will also lay the foundation of a new economy in new low carbon age,” Modi asserted.
“We will restore the balance between ecology and economy, and between our inheritance and obligation to the future. And, live up to Gandhiji’s call to care for the world we shall not see,” he added.
Modi highlighted that a vast section of humanity lives at the edge of poverty and in darkness after the sun sets and they need energy to light up their homes and power their future.
“They are also the most vulnerable to the consequences of an industrial age powered by fossil fuel. Access to energy and a better life is a universal aspiration. So are clean environment and healthy habitats. As the world’s majority works its way to prosperity on a planet left with very limited carbon space, we have to do many things,” he said.
Earlier, Modi and Obama met as part of “Mission Innovation” which was announced by the US earlier.
It is an initiative to dramatically accelerate public and private global clean energy innovation to address global climate change, provide affordable clean energy to consumers, including in the developing world, and create additional commercial opportunities in clean energy.
Departure for Delhi
PM Modi left for New Delhi on Monday night after wrapping up his two-day Paris visit which included the crucial climate change conference and launch of the India-mooted International Solar Alliance.
Modi also met US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the climate conference and held a bilateral meeting with Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe.
Modi also met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and a host of other world leaders.
Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif also had a “casual meeting” on the sidelines of the climate summit, warmly shaking hands before sitting down for a brief chat.
Just before the Prime Minister departed for New Delhi, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted:
With inputs from PTI