Arguing that the pace of transition to cleaner energy sources in India must be viewed in light of “national circumstances”, Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav has said that the use of coal in power generation or industrial activities may rise “in absolute terms”, but would decline as a percentage of the overall mix.
Explaining the reasons for India’s intervention to get the term “phase-out” of coal changed to “phase-down” in the final agreement of the Glasgow climate conference, Yadav said India was only speaking on behalf of the developing countries, and pointed out that the amendment was approved by consensus.
“We are ready to go on clean energy but according to our national circumstances,” Yadav said while speaking at an online event organised by The Indian Express and the Financial Times.
“The term phase-out of coal would mean putting a complete stop on coal, while phase-down would mean the proportion of coal in total energy would reduce… India being a developing country, phase-down can also be relative in the sense that the percentage of coal in the overall mix will go down but the absolute use of coal in terms of power generation and other industrial activity may rise,” he said.
While the amendment initiated by India received a lot of support from developing countries, it came under criticism from the developed world and civil society organisations.
Reiterating that India was “committed to clean energy”, Yadav said it believed in fulfilling all its promises, and it would achieve the new targets announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Glasgow as well. But he once again reminded the developed world of their commitments on finance and technology transfer.
“India’s announcements at Glasgow are considerably ambitious. But we do not believe in making empty pronouncements. These are carefully considered. They are within the realm of visibility but they will require substantial efforts (to achieve). The goals that we have set and declared in Glasgow will require international financial and technological support. We are prepared to be more ambitious. It is up to the developed countries to support our ambition through finance and technology transfer,” he said.
Asked specifically whether India would not be in a position to fulfil its targets in the absence of international climate finance, Yadav said, “What India is doing shows India is committed towards a solution. But what is the responsibility of the others? They should also say whether they are ready to fulfil their commitments or not.”
The minister said substantially enhanced climate finance was needed even to achieve the global goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, and that is why Prime Minister Narendra Modi had mentioned a sum of US$ 1 trillion to be raised by the developed world every year.
“Climate finance is the major component to achieve the target of global net zero… This demand for US$ 1 trillion amount is for the developing countries,” he said.