India sees opportunities in Obama’s climate change agenda

By Arun Kumar,IANS,

Washington : Noting “an obvious convergence” in Indian and US goals for promoting renewable energy, India sees many more opportunities for collaboration in President Barack Obama’s decision to put climate change at the top of his agenda.

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It’s “an area of substantial Indo-US collaboration already and many more opportunities are likely to open up”, thanks to Obama’s agenda, including his 10-year, $150 billion Renewable Energy Initiative, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, Shyam Saran, said here Tuesday.

“As a country most significantly impacted by climate change, India has already embarked on a strategic shift from a pattern of development that relies on an ever more generous consumption of resources to one based on sustainability,” he said.

“The co-benefit is enhancement of the country’s energy security,” Saran said, addressing the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington think tank, on ‘India’s Climate Change Initiatives: Strategies for a Greener Future’.

“We believe that the US has a similar approach and its ambitious Renewable Energy Initiative offers many opportunities for our two countries to work together, building up the success of the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement and the positive experience of collaboration in several energy and environment related areas,” he said.

“There is an obvious convergence in our goals for promoting renewable energy, in particular, solar power, which we should fully leverage as part of President Obama’s Renewable Energy Initiative,” Saran said.

Even as he was speaking, a delegation from the US government and industry was touring India, seeking partnerships and trade in the field of solar energy. It was the first trade delegation sent to India by the Obvama administration.

India has been an active participant in the Asia-Pacific partnership, initiated by the US to explore technological solutions to the twin challenges of climate change and energy security, Saran noted.

Hoping that the Copenhagen conference on climate change “will deliver a fair and equitable, but also an ambitious outcome based on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) and the Bali Action Plan”, he said: “India is prepared to work together with the US towards this objective”.

But “irrespective of what may or may not emerge from the ongoing multilateral negotiations on climate change, India is committed to an ambitious National Action Plan on Climate Change, covering both mitigation and adaptation”, he said.

“The bilateral track with the US has been and will continue to be a productive avenue for both our countries to meet the twin challenges of climate change and energy security,” Saran said.