India finalises two missions to combat climate change


New Delhi : India has finalised two of the eight missions under its National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Climate Change Shyam Saran said here Thursday. The missions are on solar energy and energy efficiency.

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Details of both missions would be published soon, Saran said, adding that the solar mission is “very ambitious and has a lot of emphasis on R&D”.

Saran said India’s economic growth had already been decoupled from growth in energy use. “For the last few years, the economy has been growing at 8-9 percent per annum while energy use has been growing at less than four percent.

“The energy efficiency mission has posited 20 percent further improvements, which will mean a saving of 10,000 megawatts per year.”

Pointing to the ongoing rain-related chaos in Mumbai as another manifestation of climate change, Saran said adaptation to this is the greater challenge. “The sea has already started coming in, salinity is going up. We need salt resistant crops, thermal resistant crops.”

Delivering the valedictory address at a dialogue on climate change, organised by the NGO, Saran said while India was already taking many steps to confront this phenomenon as “a country like ours is most impacted by it”, more could be done if industrialised countries “historically responsible for climate change” made more money available.

Talking about ongoing global negotiations on climate change, Saran said India hoped for an outcome that was “comprehensive, balanced and equitable”. On mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change, he said “the lead has to be taken by developed countries, because the climate change going on now is not due to current emissions”.

Saran clarified that developing countries were not making any demands on industrialised countries during the current negotiations. “We are simply telling them to deliver on the legal commitments they have already made under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol.”

According to him, the biggest problem in combating climate change was lack of money. “And for this, market mechanisms are not good enough. We want predictable and stable financing. How do we do any planning otherwise?”

He said developing countries wanted financing from the industrialised world in the form of “assessed contributions”, which are “not voluntary” but are “based on historic responsibility and capacity to pay”.

“This is where the negotiations stand,” Saran said, denying reports that India had agreed to reduce or cap its own greenhouse gas emissions. “We are making progress towards the next climate summit in Copenhagen (this December), but it’s very slow progress.”

The veteran diplomat pointed out that so far, industrialised countries had not indicated any emission reduction commitments they were prepared to make for the period after 2012, when the current commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol ran out.

“We have asked them to reduce their emissions by at least 40 percent, because science tells us that is the minimum required. And if we don’t have commitments for the next 10 years, who will remember the commitments made for 2050?”