The United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, on Tuesday, lauded India for “getting the job done on climate” and said it is a world leader already in the deployment of renewable energy.
Kerry is on a four-day visit to India, from April 5 to April 8, during which he will meet representatives from the Union government, the private sector and NGOs.
“India’s global leadership has been critical across a range of issues including delivering COVID vaccines to the world. I’m particularly grateful that India is getting the job done on climate… pushing the curve. You’re indisputably a world leader already in the deployment of renewable energy,” the US envoy said, addressing the first South Asia Women in Energy (SAWIE) Leadership Summit.
He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of a target of 450 gigawatts of renewables by 2030 sets a very strong example of how to power a growing economy with clean energy.
Referring to the International Energy Agency’s special report on India, he said it is on pace to become the global market leader in solar storage by 2040.
“And thanks to your rapid scale-up, it’s already cheaper to build solar in India than anywhere else in the world. That kind of urgency is exactly what we need in order to confront the crisis that we confront today,” he said.
Kerry said he was glad to see the recent budget by the Indian government focus heavily on clean energy and to propose a National Hydrogen Energy Mission (NHEM).
The NHEM focuses on generating hydrogen from green power resources and linking the country’s growing renewable energy capacity with the hydrogen economy.
“India has an advantage that we didn’t have in the US as we were developing. Not just benefits of decades of scientific and technical advancement, you also have US as your friend and partner. We’re here to support you through this path of sustainable future,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar met Kerry and the two leaders discussed a range of issues, including climate finance, joint research and collaboration. Javadekar led an eight-member Indian team at the meeting.
Kerry was accompanied by a seven-member US delegation in the talks, an Environment Ministry official said. This is Kerry’s first visit to India as the US Special Envoy for Climate Change.
In January, the Biden administration had re-joined the Paris Agreement.
The visit aims at consultations on increasing climate ambition ahead of Biden’s Leaders’ Summit on Climate scheduled for April 22-23 and the COP26 meet to be held later this year.
US President Biden has invited 40 world leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to a US-hosted virtual summit on climate to underscore the urgency and the economic benefits of stronger climate action.
This will be the second time PM Modi and US President Biden will be together at a virtual summit after last month’s Quad meeting.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), India is the third-largest global emitter of carbon dioxide, after China and the US, despite extremely low per capita CO2 emissions.
It has set a target of achieving 175GW (gigawatt) of renewable energy capacity by 2022 and 450GW by 2030.