Greenpeace Activists take ‘Go Solar’ message to Machu Pichu as Climate Summit begins in Lima. © Greenpeace
Seven Greenpeace activists today projected the message “Act for the climate! Go solar!” onto the hill of Wayna Picchu to mark the beginning of the end of coal- and oil-driven economies. As the UN climate summit begins in Lima, Greenpeace is asking decision-makers attending the 20th session of Conference of the Parties (COP 20) to adopt a new course and lead us to 100% renewable energy for all by 2050.
“India stands at a very important and exciting juncture at this point of time as far as solar energy access is concerned. Almost immediately after assuming office, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi had set a commitment for his government to harness solar energy for providing basic energy access to every Indian by 2019. While there have been a slew of announcements related to renewable energy in last six months by Government, and the new ambition for renewable is indeed exciting, unfortunately the Indian economy is still heavily dependent on fossil-fuel based energy and there is as much interest in expanding coal power even at the cost of India’s largest contiguous tiger habitats,” says Abhishek Pratap, senior climate and energy campaigner, Greenpeace India.
Greenpeace Head of Climate Politics Martin Kaiser said: “The Temple of the Sun in Machu Picchu is where we are announcing to the world that, as the power of the sun is our past, it is also our future. We urge summit attendees to commit to the world’s largest source of energy — the sun — to solve our global climate crisis. The US and China’s recent announcement is a turning point and must spur a global commitment to the ambitious goal of 100% renewable energy for everyone. At COP 20, we call on major emitter countries in particular to table bold commitments for 2025. The whole world is watching – now is the time to act.”
The climate summit convenes ministers from 194 countries to negotiate agreements on the legally blinding text that will become the protocol for COP 21 in Paris next year. It will provide an insight into what we may expect with regard to long-term phasing out of coal- fired power plants, renewable energy deployment and support for vulnerable least developed countries.
Currently, 1.2 billion of the global population suffers from lack of access to basic modern energy. One- third of this, that is, a whopping 300 million people live in India. “Ensuring sustainable and basic energy access and adequate development for these people is a major challenge that the world faces in this era of climate crisis. Rather than locking ourselves in a fossil-fuel driven path, we need to build an energy infrastructure that is climate friendly and provides energy security,” says Pratap.
“With 5.4 percent of global emissions, India is the world’s fourth largest carbon emitter, after China (22 percent), the US (13 percent) and EU27 (10 percent). Not only is India amongst the countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, but the fossil fuel driven energy system is already throwing up local challenges of health from air pollution, water pollution and in many areas driving further water distress,” says Pratap.
Greenpeace India urges the Indian government to play a proactive role in not only ensuring the major polluters are held to account, but also that India recognises its vulnerability towards climate change. Greenpeace demands that the Indian government adopts a strategic approach to addressing the negotiations rather than stick to old and obsolete positions.