John Kerry backs India’s clean energy dreams


It is imperative that the United States and India aggressively work to advance low-carbon, climate-resilient solutions, said Mukesh Aghi, president & CEO of the USISPF (US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF).

US climate envoy John Kerry, who wrapped his India visit on Thursday, welcomed India’s ambitious goal of generating 450 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030 and said that Washington will help New Delhi achieve it by helping mobilize international funding.

Aghi, who was in India during Kerry’s visit, hosted the first SAWIE (South Asia Women In Energy), a USAID-USISPF initiative leadership summit there.

We also expect Secretary Kerry will encourage India’s decarbonization efforts through clean, zero, and low-carbon investment, and mitigation of fossil energy use,” Aghi told indica News.

He said he believed that a pragmatic approach is necessary because India must provide low-cost energy access to millions and support long-term growth.

If Washington accepts this imperative, low-carbon energy can be the next strategic pillar in the US-India partnership,” Aghi said.

There is a great opportunity for the United States to provide advanced technology and services to help meet India’s dual challenge of obtaining more affordable and reliable energy while reducing environmental impacts.

We believe a multi-pronged approach that includes renewables and fossil fuels will be required for India to successfully transition to a net-zero emissions economy by 2050, and introducing new technologies to help develop India’s own sources of fossil fuels and abate emissions could be a key part of the strategy,” he said.

In recent years, scientists have underscored the need to limit planetary warming to 1.5° Celsius in order to stave off the worst impacts of climate change.

Last year, Prime Minister Modi set the target of 450 GW green energy by 2030, towards an ultimate goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions for India, a country which is heavily dependent on coal for its exploding energy needs.

Sameer Kwatra, acting director for India at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in Washington, DC told indica News, “India’s consideration of a net-zero goal is a very bold step.”

Unlike China, whose emissions are expected to peak before 2030, India’s peak is still to be determined. Therefore, to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, India will have to radically decarbonize its growth trajectory, he pointed put.

To do so, India has legitimate concerns about the need for finance and technology especially for sectors like steel, cement, and fertilizers.

Kerry’s visit to India came ahead of the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate convened by President Joe Biden on April 22 and 23, and the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November.

During his India visit, Kerry also met Indian ministers Prakash Javdekar, S Jaishankar, Nirmala Seetharaman, Dharmendra Pradhan, Raj Kumar Singh, Piyush Goyal, and NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.

“Officials of the two countries will pursue ways in which they can deepen their partnership on climate and clean energy in this critical decade,” the State Department said in a statement.

During his interaction with reporters, Kerry said that former President Donald Trump had damaged Washington’s standing on climate by pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, but “we come back with humility. We come back knowing the last four years were a disappointment to people”.