'Obama-Modi meet an opportunity to move ahead on clean energy'

Last Updated 23 January 2015, 08:51 IST

Ahead of US President Barack Obama's India visit, two climate experts have said his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a "tremendous opportunity" to make substantive progress on advancing cleaner, low-carbon and climate-resilient pathways.

"While the (two) leaders’ discussions will address several issues, including nuclear energy and trade, climate and clean energy will be a central part of the agenda.

It's a tremendous opportunity for the two countries to make substantive progress on shifting to low-carbon pathways," World Resources Institute Managing Director Manish Bapna and International Climate Initiative Director David Waskow said in a blog post.

They said that while India and the US are already working together through programs such as the Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE), the two countries can go even further to secure economic growth and climate action.

The duo said that in order to negotiate a new international climate agreement in Paris in December 2015, the two leaders should create a direct line of communication between the countries' highest levels of government.

"Advancing cleaner, low-carbon and climate-resilient pathways can create more vibrant economies in both India and the US," Bapna and Waskow said.

The two governments should also work together to ensure that investment can flow to meet India's ambitious renewable energy targets.

"A mutually beneficial approach would be to develop a long-term commercial strategy for resolving thorny issues such as requirements for domestically made solar panels and access for US-made panels, in conjunction with a substantial increase in US investment in India," Bapna and Waskow said.

They added that such an agreement would build on recent moves by the private sector, such as SunEdison's investment in USD 4 billion solar manufacturing plant in India.

Financial assistance from the US agencies such as the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Export-Import Bank, US Agency for International Development could pave the way for such collaboration in renewable energy systems.

New Delhi and Washington could also agree to lead development of a global clean energy collaborative, a proposal first made by Modi during the recent G20 meeting.

"This collaborative could help build bridges among research institutes, mobilise new initiatives and resources, and foster greater access to clean energy technologies," the duo said.

The two countries could also expand on their commitment to create a partnership to build resilience to climate change.

An important step in this direction would be to launch a major initiative on ensuring universal access to data and information on the impacts of a warmer world.

"The initiative could take advantage of both countries' exceptional information technology capacity and build on work the US is already doing with Google to make climate information more accessible," they said.

(Published 23 January 2015, 08:51 IST)

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