After Glasgow, India is expected to become a leader in green energy

Photo credit: UN.org

India must join the United States and take the lead on green energy and the low carbon transition.

The United Nations climate change conference ended in Glasgow, Scotland on November 13, more than a day later than expected, with an agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above. above the pre-industrial level.

Among other measures, the conference also broadly agreed to: eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, gradually reduce coal power, and end deforestation. In addition, he urged rich countries to offer financial assistance to developing countries to help them switch from fossil fuels to clean energy.

Many of the 200 participating countries have made a number of specific commitments. For example, more than 140 countries have pledged to reduce their carbon emissions to “net zero”.

Read more articles from Frank F. Islam

Nonetheless, many in the United States and other developed countries have been somewhat disappointed with the Glasgow Climate Pact. One of the reasons was that, as the conference wrapped up, India and China strongly rejected language on phasing out coal. In the end, the two countries succeeded in getting the others to agree on the “phase-out” of coal, instead of the “phase-out,” which was the language that climate activists and several countries speak of. Westerners wanted.

Despite this major disagreement over the past two days, the fact that an agreement was reached has been a great achievement. It was the first time in the conference’s 26-year history that participating countries agreed to cut back on fossil fuels – the main source of energy for a large majority of countries – which are responsible for global warming.

It should be noted, among the many commitments made at COP26, India’s commitment to generate half of its energy needs from renewable sources by the end of this decade. Speaking at the leaders’ summit at the start of the conference, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the world that India will reach the net zero goal by 2070. India’s commitment is important because it it is the fourth largest carbon emitter in the world.

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Other highlights from the conference include Brazil’s announcement to reverse deforestation and major automakers to manufacture and sell zero-emission vehicles over the next two decades.

Having countries like China, India, Nigeria and Brazil broadly agree to implement policies that would mitigate climate change was indeed a giant step forward.

For decades, these emerging countries have insisted that they need more time to reach their net zero goals.

Their argument was this: It was the surge of industrialization of the economies of Western Europe and the United States, which lasted for centuries, that was responsible for the current climatic conditions. These countries have developed their economies by consuming resources indiscriminately. Consequently, they should do more to mitigate climate change, in particular by financing the low carbon transition of the poorest countries.

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This argument has merit and developed countries have recognized it. For this reason, there was an agreement in principle that there should be some payments but no specific commitments were made.

Despite this, the Glasgow Pact signals that finally, there is a courteous consensus among nations that climate change is an existential threat to humanity, and blaming either will not help resolve the issue. problem or to improve the climate.

The pact also offers emerging economies a new direction. For a country like India, there are huge benefits to going green. If done correctly, the nation will reap substantial economic benefits.

As automobiles transformed major economies at the start of the 20th century, and information technology did the same in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, green energy is poised to drive the next wave. of economic development in the world. Economic activities will be so important that they will fuel growth and improve the quality of life of entire regions and nations.

To get an idea of ​​the opportunities in the green energy sector, look at an American company, Tesla. In a very short period of time, the company left its American and European competitors far behind. Tesla’s market cap – which hit a trillion dollars not too long ago – is larger than the combined market cap of Toyota, Volkswagen, Daimler, General Motors, BMW and Ferrari.

Tesla is not just a fad today. It is a gold mine for investors. More importantly, this is just one example. There are many green energy companies and industries that are fast becoming the engines of growth for countries and internationally.

In the United States, the Biden administration sees huge economic potential for green energy and is betting big on the green economy. The new roughly $ 2 trillion spending framework unveiled by President Joe Biden and recently passed by the US House includes $ 555 billion for clean energy.

India must join the United States and move to the forefront of the low carbon transition. Failure to do so would mean continued environmental degradation and also lead to the lack of huge economic opportunities offered by going green.

As in most fields, it is the early investors who reap the most benefits. By becoming a leader in the green energy movement today, India can reap the economic and climate benefits for the nation and its citizens in the future.

(Frank F. Islam is an entrepreneur, civic leader and thought leader based in Washington DC. The opinions expressed here are personal.)


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