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Climate talks slow, rich nations should act: PM

                                                                                   The Financial Express, New Delhi, 18th April, 2013

Voicing concern over "painfully slow" progress in climate talks, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said the goal of stabilising global temperatures was "nowhere in sight" and called for individual countries to take action to increase energy efficiency.

While inaugurating the Fourth Clean Energy Ministerial, Singh also made it clear that rich nations, who were responsible for a bulk of greenhouse gas emissions, were best placed to provide workable solutions to mitigate climate change.

“They (industrialised nations) also have high per capita incomes which gives them the highest capacity to bear the burden. They are technically most advanced, and to that extent best placed to provide workable solutions not only for themselves but for the whole world," he said.

At the same time, Singh said issues of financing mitigation actions to tackle climate change have been a focus of intense discussion in negotiations under the auspices of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. "Unfortunately, progress in these negotiations is painfully slow. The goal of stabilising global temperatures at acceptable levels is nowhere in sight," he told energy ministers of 20 leading economies gathered here to discuss speedy transition to a global clean energy economy.

Singh said while it must be ensured that the UNFCCC process reaches some acceptable outcome, individual countries have to take action to increase energy efficiency and also to promote clean energy.

The PM said India was taking steps to exploit non-conventional clean energy sources like solar and wind power and has proposed to double renewable energy capacity in the country from 25,000 mw in 2012 to 55,000 mw by 2017. Singh said the pace of reliance on new energy sources was constrained by the fact that they were more expensive than conventional energy. The costs of solar energy had nearly halved over the last two years, but was still higher than the cost of fossil fuel based electricity.

"If the cost imposed by carbon emissions is taken into account, then solar energy is more cost effective, but it is still more expensive," Singh said. He said counting on the probability of falling costs, India has launched Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission with the objective of developing 22,000 mw of solar capacity by the year 2022 covering both solar photovoltaic and solar thermal.

Solar capacity of about 1500 mw has already been installed, and an additional 10,000 mw will be implemented by the end of the 12th Plan, ending in 2017, he said.