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India to showcase solar energy project at Lima Climate Talks

The Economic Times, New Delhi, 01 December, 2014

LIMA: India is looking to make a splash at the United Nations-backed climate negotiations in Lima that begin on Monday with its plans to ramp up solar power capacity five-fold to 100 GW by 2030. While this is a clear indication by the Narendra Modi-led government that India is serious about tackling climate change and reducing its relatively small carbon footprint, the country will not make any announcements about its plans to limit emissions.
A boost for solar energy is among the measures that the government is planning to address the climate change issue at home.
It doesn't, however, plan to depart from India's long-held negotiating position calling for the preservation of the 1992 basis for classifying countries as industrialised and developing, better known in climate negotiations as CBDR — common but differentiated responsibilities. New Delhi has made it clear that the onus of reducing the amount of carbon that is emitted rests with the industrialised countries, and it will oppose any move to shift the burden to developing nations.
"There is no change in India's position. Equity and CBDR are important and must be adhered to. India is taking actions to address climate change on its own and will continue to do so. We plan to do much more," Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar told ET. The Cabinet is expected to discuss India's climate change stance soon and could fine-tune some of its positions, though no major change is expected at present.
WORK IN FULL SWING FOR INDC
Since the US-China climate agreement in Beijing, there has been a great deal of interest in India's plans to tackle carbon emissions. India has been working on its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions ( INDC), which it plans to submit to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as part of its efforts to address the global challenge.
Sources indicated that while work on the "contributions" are on in full swing and are likely to be completed over the next few months, a formal declaration can be expected only after March. "The decision of when to submit our INDCs, in March or later in June, will be taken after consultations at the highest level," a senior government official said. "Our population is more than the collective population of Africa. More than 30 per cent of our people have no access to electricity. We are increasing our renewable energy sources by five times," Javadekar said, stressing that India's development needs will guide the country's efforts on climate change.
To this end, Javadekar has had a round of informal discussions with members of the Prime Minister's Council on Climate Change. Sources said that an evaluation was underway on India's progress in meeting the Copenhagen-Cancun pledge of reducing its emissions intensity by 20-25 per cent by 2020. The government is also evaluating the report by the Planning Commission-appointed Expert Group on Low Carbon Economy.
The focus is on three missions of the National Action Plan on Climate Change — the Green India Mission, Enhanced Energy Efficiency, and the solar mission — which aim at reducing or limiting carbon emissions.
LENDING TO SOLAR POWER
The ministry of renewable energy is working on ramping up the share of solar energy from 6 per cent to 15 per cent of the energy basket. In view of this planned expansion, renewable energy minister Piyush Goyal told bankers last week that they needed to reorganise their lending norms and advocated the use of escalating tariffs for solar power to achieve grid parity over a five-year period. "A more realistic interest rate with staggered repayment could perhaps be the answer to solar energy expansion," Goyal said. Work is underway for several energy-efficient measures, such as widening the scope of trading in energy efficiency by including new sectors.
The trading in energy efficiency scheme, which is a unique programme launched by India, is entering its second phase. Expansion of the trading programme will be another key component of New Delhi's bid to showcase its efforts to address climate change.
As part of this, the government is also looking at reworking the National Action Plan on Climate Change to ensure that it is more focused on addressing impacts of climate change, rather than just "greening" programmes and schemes. "The effort is to bring the national plan in line with the findings of the IPCC's most recent assessment report," an official said. The re-constituted Prime Minister's Council on Climate Change is yet to meet formally but informal consultations have been on. The IPCC is the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, a UN body.
The executive committee of the council has already held meetings and is focused on determining key goals, and identifying the resources required to achieve them. "There is a clarity that was not there earlier," a person close to the discussions said. The environment ministry has requested that the Prime Minister call a meeting of the council ahead of the high-level segment of the Lima meet, which will be attended by the environment minister.
India will also stress on the hike in the coal cess, which was doubled from Rs 50 per tonne to Rs 100 in the Budget in July this year. Proceeds from the cess are collected in the National Clean Energy Fund, which the government plans to use for, among other things, improving research and development in the area of clean energy. It will also highlight the setting up of a domestic Adaptation Fund. India has been emphasizing at global forums the need to make adapting to climate change an integral part of the new agreement that is to be inked in Paris next year. How India succeeds in showcasing its efforts will be crucial to determining whether New Delhi has to shoulder the blame if Lima fails to show any tangible progress towards a new global compact to address the challenge of climate change.

SOURCE : http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/power/india-to-showcase-solar-energy-project-at-lima-climate-talks/articleshow/45329837.cms