Modi Announces US-India Partnership to Fight Climate Change  

“Each Indian’s greenhouse gas footprint is 60 percent lower than the world average,” PM Modi said.

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File photo of PM Narendra Modi.
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Warning that the COVID-19 pandemic is a grim reminder of the dangers of climate change, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday announced a global initiative, in collaboration with the US, to mobilise investments for the greening of the world and promote cooperation to fight global warming.

"Humanity is battling a global pandemic right now and this event is a timely reminder that the grave threat of climate change has not disappeared," he said at the Leaders’ Summit on Climate Change convened by President Joe Biden. "President Biden and I are launching the India-US Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership. Together, we shall help mobilise investments, demonstrate clean technology and enable green collaboration."

Leaders of 40 countries are participating in the summit. They include Presidents Xi Jinping of China and Vladimir Putin of Russia, with whom Biden has an seemingly hostile relationship. But they have put aside their differences for the world’s climate.

Biden said: "The signs are unmistakable (of climate-change dangers). The science is undeniable. The cost of inaction keeps mounting. The United States isn't waiting. We have resolved to take action."

Biden said that the US would cut its greenhouse emissions to half of the 2005 level by 2030.

He announced the first US Climate Finance Plan to promote public sector and "increase the quality and quantity of climate financing" and spur the private sector to contribute to developing countries' programmes.

He said that the global goal was mobilising USD 100 billion per year for developing countries to meet the climate challenge.

To help meet this goal, he said that by 2024, the US will double its annual public climate development finance to developing countries compared to what it was providing during the second half of the Obama-Biden administration.

The US will also triple its financing for climate application for developing countries by 2024.

Calling for an end to fossil-fuel subsidies, he said, “It is important to help developing countries leapfrog to the clean technologies of tomorrow.”

In a subtle dig at the hypocrisy of Western leaders, media and activists who paint India as the third-largest greenhouse gas producer and demand it to cut down emissions, Modi pointed out that each Indian’s greenhouse gas footprint is 60 percent lower than the world average.

"It is because our lifestyle is still rooted in sustainable, traditional practices," he said.

"Today I want to emphasise the importance of lifestyle change in climate action, sustainable lifestyle changes and guiding philosophy to go back to basics," he added.

Modi said that India was doing its part to fight climate change.

“Our ambitious renewable energy target of 450 gigawatts by 2030 shows our commitment. Despite our development challenges we have taken many bold steps on clean energy, energy efficiency, afforestation and biodiversity.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi

"That is why we are among the few countries whose NDCs (nationally determined contributions to the Paris Climate Agreement goals) are 2 degrees Celsius compatible," Modi said.

"Climate change is a reality for millions around the world. Their lives, their livelihoods are already facing its adverse consequences," he said.

India has encouraged global initiatives like the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, Modi added.

"As climate-responsible developing country, India welcomes partners to create templates of sustainable development in India. This can also help other developing countries who need affordable access to green finance and clean technology," he said.

Modi was the second non-US leader to speak after Xi at the virtual conference.

Xi said that China was making extraordinary efforts like ending coal power generation in order to reach its climate change goals.

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