India Plans to Shift Away From Coal


India has unveiled a plan to cut carbon emissions by 33 - 35% by 2030. They were the last major country to submit their long-term emissions-reductions plans before the start of the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Paris in December 2015.

Elements of the plan call for boosting India's reliance on solar, wind, hydro-power and nuclear, from 28% to 40% by 2030. Although there were no absolute cuts of carbon emissions noted in the plan, the reduction in the the pollution rate is not conditional on financial contributions from wealthier countries. Climate policy activists praised this as a major step forward from India’s earlier positions.

According to a quote in the NY Times by Anjali Jaiswal, director of the India program for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group in New York. “This is a really significant step for India. It puts renewable energy at the center of the plan and positions India for further reductions in emissions going forward. It is a shift from what we’ve seen.”

To help facilitate the rapid move away from carbon polluting fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, India is asking for the “transfer of technology” from other countries. They are also asking for aid from the Green Climate Fund, which was established by the United Nations to gather donations from wealthy countries to help poor countries adapt their economies to lower-carbon technologies.

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi toured the U.S. before his meeting with President Obama and before going to the Paris Climate Summit. As part of the Prime Minister's trip, he visited the Tesla Motors plant in San Jose. The company’s CEO Elon musk showed him Tesla's line of renewable energy tech including the Powerwall and Powerpack lithium-ion battery storage systems. These types of storage battery systems could help provide power from renewable energy sources in areas where a stable and secure grid do not exist. For example, solar panels with battery backup could be used to provide electricity even at night. The Prime Minister appeared to like the technology and later tweeted about “how battery technology can help farmers.”

When the Prime Minister and President Obama met, they discussed their climate change plans at a bilateral meeting in New York. Behind the scenes, people familiar with their talks say, the leaders may be moving toward making a joint announcement involving the exchange of United States-developed low-carbon technology.


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