India’s National Solar Mission a good step toward addressing climate change

Greenpeace welcomed the Indian Government’s ambitious National Solar Mission (NSM), released on the eve of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's summit today with President Obama. The NSM is a good step by India towards climate change mitigation, and it challenges President Obama to make the shift to deep emissions cuts and adequate climate finance that the world needs to avoid a climate catastrophe.

"India's National Solar Mission is yet another sign of progress that should challenge President Obama to commit the US to our responsibilities for a fair, ambitious, and binding global climate agreement," said Damon Moglen, Greenpeace USA global warming campaign director, "In addition to cutting emissions, President Obama must put money on the table at Copenhagen to support international funds of at least $140 billion per year that will protect the world's most vulnerable communities from the worst impacts of climate change, stop tropical deforestation  and help developing countries switch to renewable energy."

India's National Solar Mission forms a part of the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) and has an ambitious target of achieving 20,000MW solar power by 2022. Preliminary calculations by Greenpeace show that on the basis of the NAPCC alone, India is on the pathway to deviate its GHG emissions by 12-18%, with a further potential to deviate GHG emissions by nearly 35% with more ambitious measures.

"With the release of the NSM, the Indian Government has categorically shown that it is acting on climate change and moving away from a carbon-intensive, business-as-usual scenario. This puts pressure on the developed countries to commit and put their GHG emission reduction targets at Copenhagen", said Sidddharth Pathak, Climate and Energy Policy officer from Greenpeace India.

An analysis done by Greenpeace shows that the NSM plan could ensure an annual reduction of 434 million tons of CO2 emissions every year by 2050 based on the assumption that solar will replace fossil fuels. Currently, India is the fourth largest emitter of CO2 in the world with 1852.9 Mn. tonnes (Mt) per annum The US spews almost four times that of India, at 6963.8 Mt CO2 per annum (1). Each American is responsible for 14 times the emissions of each Indian.

If India delivers on the NSM, further supported action from developed countries could ensure a huge uptake in renewable energy, create jobs, trigger high technology diffusion, and help with poverty alleviation in the country while contributing to the fight against climate change. "India has already put its unilateral plan on the table and if developed countries meet their obligation of providing finance under the climate negotiations, India would build on these actions to further enhance them", opined Pathak.

Other contacts: Joe Smyth, Greenpeace USA Media Officer, 831-566-5647, Siddharth Pathak, Greenpeace India Climate & Energy Campaigner

Notes: (1) World Resources Institute, 2005

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