Please Do The Needful

An Indian girl stands near a kite with portraits of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama, displayed for sale at a shop ahead of the Hindu festival of Makar Sankranti, also knowns as kite festival, in Hyderabad, India, 12 January 2015. Photograph: Mahesh Kumar A./AP

An Indian girl stands near a kite with portraits of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama, displayed for sale at a shop ahead of the Hindu festival of Makar Sankranti, also knowns as kite festival, in Hyderabad, India, 12 January 2015. Photograph: Mahesh Kumar A./AP

Down here in Kerala the air is perfectly clean, and the biodiversity hotspot of the Western Ghats may spoil us into thinking all is well with the environment; but it is not. And the meeting of these two heads of state could do something substantive about it. We hope they do (the needful, as they say in India):

…“The co-operation on clean energy and climate change is critically important,” Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser, told a conference call with reporters.

America is hoping to persuade India, one of the world’s biggest emitters, to commit to an ambitious post-2020 plan for reining in its greenhouse gas emissions ahead of the international climate change meeting in Paris this December.

The first priority – ahead of climate change, US officials admit – is expanding India’s access to clean energy.

US and Indian officials have repeatedly doused speculation of a repeat of the US-China agreement to cut emissions that came out of Obama’s visit to Beijing last November.

But billions in US investment to help India move ahead on ambitious targets for expanding its use of wind and solar power, as well as initiatives to clean up the dangerous levels of soot and smog, are very much on the cards.

India is expected to outpace China in growth by the end of the decade. Modi late last year doubled India’s wind power targets and increased the solar power target by a factor of five to 100GW by 2022.

Researchers have calculated wind and solar could generate 28% of India’s electricity by 2030 – a bigger share than China, according to Navroz Dubash, a fellow at the Centre for Policy Research.

The Indian government estimates that it could take about $100bn (£67bn) in investment – potentially a big opening for US firms, said Raymond Vickery, a senior commerce official during the Clinton administration.

“There has to be $100 billion in financing that has to be mobilised in this period between now and 2022, and that is not going to come from government alone,” he told a conference call hosted by the World Resources Institute, an environmental think tank. US-based SunEdison and India’s Adani Enterprises said earlier this month they would invest $4bn in an Indian solar power factory.

Vickery said he also expected announcements on Monday regarding India’s civil nuclear programme…

Read the whole article here.

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