India must lead the transition to green energy (Live Mint summary 12th March 2018)

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India must lead the transition to green energy

Live Mint

Context:

  • This is time for India to create the next big technological wave.

Climate change:

  • The International Solar Alliance (ISA), PM of India first announced the idea at the India-Africa Summit in New Delhi in October 2015.
  • This followed up with more concrete moves during the United Nations climate change talks in Paris in November 2015, with France being an important partner at a time when the US decided to renege on its climate change mitigation commitments.
  • India has suddenly became a catalyst in the global attempts at capping climate change.
  • This is important in a geopolitical sense when China is clearly expanding its global footprint.

About Global solar alliance:

  • 121 countries which have signed up for the global solar alliance.
  • Central to this new role in global affairs is the domestic commitment to generate 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy by 2022, part of the broader 175GW target for renewable energy.
  • The chronological order of these technology waves is as follows:
  • The steam engine and cotton ginning.
  • Steel and railways.
  • Electrical and Chemical engineering.
  • Automobiles and plastics.
  • Information technology.

Issues:

  • India raised at the Copenhagen climate change talks.
  • The rich countries that are responsible for most of the stock of excess carbon in the atmosphere as well as the high current levels of per capita carbon emissions (as against national aggregates) still need to be pushed to provide asymmetrical funding for climate change mitigation and technology transfers, especially given the recent drop in the prices of photovoltaic batteries.

It results as:

  • New technology will be the critical factor in the transition to a green economy which also grows rapidly, and India should take a shot at global leadership.
  • Coal will continue to be a key part of the Indian energy mix in the immediate future

Way forward:

  • India has to push towards prosperity at a time when climate change is a huge concern.
  • Fighting climate change cannot come at the cost of halting the urgent fight against poverty.
  • Global initiatives should always be seen through the lens of national interest.
  • The fight against climate change—and the broader move to low-carbon economies—is likely to create the next big technological wave.