- The erratic climate changes experienced around the universe have assumed an extremely important phenomenon thereby rightfully grabbing the attention of all stakeholders, especially the most developed and advanced nations. Not to be left behind, several developing nations to are making honest efforts at mitigating the potentially disastrous consequences staring at humanity in general. As the vagaries of continued exploitation of fossil-fuel usage reach unprecedented levels resulting in dangerous environmental destructions, the Indian establishment has made the right noises as well as moves to address the emerging situation.
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- Against this backdrop, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Germany assumes paramount importance. The PM’s recent trip to Germany as part of the first leg of his three-nation European tour set the stage for an essential aspect of India’s development pathway. One of the three strands of the bilateral talks was on climate and energy. Following talks, the joint declaration identified intent on green and sustainable development partnership as perhaps the most important one. It will play out initially through two channels with both countries creating a Green Hydrogen Task Force and Germany will support India’s green growth plans with additional development assistance of Euro 10 billion by 2030.
- Of course, these developments need to be located in a larger context. Remember, the urgency of mitigating climate change is stark. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report in 2021 mentioned that the global surface temperature was 1.09 degrees higher in 2011-20 than the 1850-1900 baseline. Its consequences are already evident as mentioned above. India has contributed only 4% of cumulative greenhouse gas emissions between 1850 and 2017. However, with a coastline of about 7,516 km and 17% of the world’s population, it is already at the frontline of the fallout of climate change.
- Therefore, it’s in our interest to enhance the use of non-fossil fuel sources for incremental economic growth. Recollect that Modi last year outlined a net-zero commitment by 2070 as India’s overarching aim to be realised through two interrelated steps by 2030. India is to reduce its projected carbon emissions by 1 billion tonnes and 50% of its energy needs are to be sourced through renewables. This is precisely where India’s goals tie in with the EU’s vision. Thus, renewables represent a menu of energy options that needs to be explored diligently by partnering with the EU.
- As you are aware, in the EU, wind and water provide most of the renewable electricity. This is being complemented by solar. Advances in R&D are opening more options which also allows countries to de-risk their sourcing of renewable energy. As such, PM Modi’s three nation tour holds significant long-term potential on this front alone. Thus, it is imperative India must partner with the EU’s renewable supply chain with access to technology to take the matter forward. Undoubtedly, this trip of Modi will lay the foundation for acquiring the same.