New climate draft unveiled; India seeks help to replace coal

New climate draft unveiled; India seeks help to replace coal

Negotiators at the climate change summit today unveiled a new draft deal on which there was still no agreement even as India sought global support for bringing down the cost of renewable power to reduce reliance on coal.

Following three days of hectic parleys over a complex 54-page draft pact, negotiators released a document four pages shorter but still there was reportedly no agreement on about 250 undecided options across the text.

Targeted over its plan to expand coal usage for energy generation, India sought international support to bring down the cost of electricity from renewable energy to make sure that a large part of power generation in the country comes from this sector.

"Since yesterday, there have been a large number of comments on our renewable energy ambition. We want to make sure renewables provide an increasing amount of electricity. As the electricity sector grows, we want that a larger fraction of that growth comes from renewables," India's key negotiator Ajay Mathur said at the UN climate conference here.

"What we would like, as soon as possible, the cost of electricity from renewable becomes less than cost of electricity from coal. There is a concerted effort to bring the prices down. We also look forward to international support to bring price down further," he said.

"We are looking at partnership and International Solar Alliance (ISA) is one such example which helps us move in that direction. We would be willing to take poll position in trying to see how we can enhance the fraction of RE (Renewable Energy) in our grid," Mathur said on the third day of talks.

On being repeatedly asked if India's plan on coal usage for energy generation was affecting the negotiations in anyway, Mathur said it was not the case.

"It does not affect the negotiations. We live in a society where each one of us is responsible for our actions. It is important that we put forward our point of view. We are trying to meet the energy needs of all the Indians," he said.

"We are trying to meet the energy needs increasingly through renewables. What cannot be met through it will be met by coal. Over a period of time, as the fraction of renewables increases, the fraction of coal decreases. RE is the new story. We want to focus on that," he added.

Time is fast running out for negotiators as ministers from around the globe, including Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, will reach Paris on Monday to transform the draft prepared by negotiators into a global accord before the conference draws to a close on December 11.

"At this rate, when ministers arrive next week they will wonder what progress has been made since world leaders took to the podium in Paris," said Greenpeace's head of international climate politics Martin Kaiser.

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