Now – India

January 26, 2015


Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Indiais ready to expand its use of renewable energy as a way to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, a signal that his government is moving toward joining an international deal on global warming.

After a meeting with U.S. PresidentBarack Obama in New Delhi, the prime minister said that his nation along with all others has an obligation to act on reducing the fossil-fuel emissions blamed for damaging the climate.


The remarks represent a shift in India’s tone on global warming. It previously emphasized the historical responsibility of industrial nations for creating the problem, and the Indian government has been ambiguous about whether it will adopt domestic targets for reducing greenhouse gases. Modi’s comments suggest he’s ready to work with Obama on a deal in Paris in December that would for the first time require all nations, rich and poor alike, to restrain emissions.

“When we think about the future generations and what kind of a world we are going to give them, then there is pressure,” Modi said in a news conference with Obama on Sunday. “Global warming is a huge pressure.”


President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Sunday that the two countries will work together to fight global climate change, laying out a set of goals that the two countries hope “will expand policy dialogues and technical work on clean energy and low greenhouse gas emissions technologies.”

While not a concrete emissions reductions agreement like the one Obama reached with China this past November, the deal includes efforts to cooperate on reducing emissions of fluorinated gases, invigorate India’s promotion of clean energy investment, and partner to reduce the debilitating air pollution that has plagued many of India’s cities.

The agreement also emphasized that the countries would “cooperate closely” for a “successful and ambitious” agreement at the Paris climate talks at the end of the year. During that conference, 196 nations are expected to meet and tentatively agree a course of action to respond to climate change. It is widely considered the last chance for a global agreement that could feasibly keep the rise in global average temperatures under 2°C.

“India’s voice is very important on this issue,” Obama said at a press meeting on Sunday, the Times of India reported. “Perhaps no country could potentially be more affected by the impacts of climate change and no country is going to be more important in moving forward a strong agreement than India.”

As ThinkProgress reported last week, there was very little expectation among analysts that the U.S. would achieve a deal like the one it achieved in China, wherein the country would actually pledge to reduce its overall carbon emissions. In the China deal, the U.S. committed to cut its emissions 26 to 28 percent below their 2005 levels by 2025 and China agreed to get 20 percent of its energy from non-fossil-fuel sources by 2030 and to peak greenhouse gas emissions that same year. Many said that it would be unfair to expect India — the world’s third largest carbon emitter behind the U.S. and China — to announce a similar target, considering the hundreds of millions of rural poor.

Still a developing country, climate change stands to impact India more severely than other parts of the world, according to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. India also has a particularly bad air pollution problem — a recent World Health Organization report found that India has 13 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world with the capital, Delhi, being the most polluted of all. The report also found that Delhi had six times the level of airborne particulate matter considered safe. Another investigation found that the levels could be up to eight times higher in heavily trafficked corridors.

Here, my recent video on China’s motivations for joining a climate agreement with the US – perhaps the most historic achievement of the Obama administration. Too little? At this point we’ll take what we can get.

he United States and India agreed on:

  • Enhancing Bilateral Climate Change Cooperation: President Obama and Prime Minister Modi, stressing the importance of working together and with other countries on climate change, plan to cooperate closely this year to achieve a successful and ambitious agreement in Paris.
  • Cooperating on Hydroflurocarbons (HFCs): Building on their prior understandings from September 2014 concerning the phasedown of HFCs, the leaders agreed to cooperate on making concrete progress in the Montreal Protocol this year.
  • Expanding Partnership to Advance Clean Energy Research (PACE-R): Both sides renewed their commitment to the U.S.-India Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center (PACE-R), a $125 million program jointly funded by the U.S. and Indian governments and private sector.  The renewal includes extending funding for three existing research tracks of solar energy, building energy efficiency, and advanced biofuels for five years and launching a new track on smart grid and grid storage technology.
  • Accelerating Clean Energy Finance: Prime Minister Modi emphasized India’s ongoing efforts to create a market environment that will promote trade and investment in this sector. USAID will install a field investment officer in India this summer, backed by a transactions team to help mobilize private capital for the clean energy sector.  In February, The United States will host the Clean Energy Finance Forum and government-to-government Clean Energy Finance Task Force to help overcome strategic barriers to accelerating institutional and private financing.  The Department of Commerce will launch a trade mission on clean energy.  The Export-Import Bank is exploring potential projects for its MOU with the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency for up to $1 billion in clean energy financing.  OPIC plans to build on its existing portfolio of $227 million in renewable energy and continue to identify potential projects to support utility-scale growth and off-grid energy access.
  • Launching Air Quality Cooperation: The United States will implement EPA’s AIRNow-International program and megacities partnerships, focused on disseminating information to help urban residents reduce their exposure to harmful levels of air pollution, and enable urban policy planners to implement corrective strategies for improving ambient air quality in cities, allowing for estimates of health and climate change co-benefits of these strategies.
  • Starting Technical Cooperation on Heavy-Duty Vehicles and Transportation Fuels: Both countries will discuss how to reduce the environmental and emissions impact of heavy-duty vehicles and transportation fuels by working to adopt cleaner fuels, emissions, and efficiency standards in India.
  • Initiating Climate Resilience Tool Development: Jointly undertaking a partnership on climate resilience that will work to downscale international climate models for the Indian sub-continent to much higher resolution than currently available, assess climate risks at the sub-national level,  work with local technical institutes on capacity building, and engage local decision-makers in the process of addressing climate information needs and informing planning and climate resilient sustainable development, including for India’s State Action Plans.
  • Promoting Super-Efficient Off-Grid Appliances: Strengthening our joint commitment to promote super-efficient off-grid appliances that can dramatically extend the range of energy services available to those lacking electricity, the United States and India intend to support the deployment of these resources to help meet India’s energy access goals.
  • Transforming the Market for Efficient and Climate-Friendly Cooling: The United States will develop an Advanced Cooling Challenge to catalyze the development of super-efficient, climate-friendly, and cost-effective cooling solutions optimized to perform in India’s climates.
  • Demonstrating Clean Energy Initiatives on the Ground: The United States will work with India on additional pilot programs and other collaborative projects, including developing an innovative renewable energy storage project and hosting a smart grid workshop.


In a glow of bonhomie, U.S. President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled plans to unlock billions of dollars in nuclear trade and to deepen defense ties, steps they hope will establish an enduring strategic partnership.

The two countries reached an understanding on two issues that, despite a groundbreaking 2006 agreement, had stopped U.S. companies from setting up reactors in India and had become one of the major irritants in bilateral relations.

“We are committed to moving towards full implementation,” Obama told a joint news conference with Modi. “This is an important step that shows how we can work together to elevate our relationship.”

The new deal resolved differences over the liability of suppliers to India in the event of a nuclear accident and U.S. demands on tracking the whereabouts of material supplied to the country, U.S. ambassador to India Richard Verma told reporters.

“Ultimately it’s up to the companies to go forward, but the two governments came to an understanding,” he added.

Signaling warmth and determination to take ties to a higher level, Modi broke with protocol to meet and bear-hug Obama as he landed in New Delhi, then referred to him as Barack. It was a remarkable spectacle, given that a year ago Modi was persona non grata in Washington and was denied a visa to the United States.

One may or may not question the wisdom of the nuclear agreement. I believe in the long term, nuclear will not compete with renewables on economics.
So, the three most populous nations on the planet, and the European Union, generally, now agree that climate is an over-arching problem, and have put away differences to begin solving it.
All in all, seems like reason to celebrate.

11 Responses to “Now – India”

  1. omnologos Says:

    Looks like India will open its nuclear market in exchange of money that will clean its air. Unsure what good this all to the US public.

  2. And here are some nice pictures from China, a trash-bin of our affluent consumption:



    • dumboldguy Says:

      “Nice” pictures? Parts of India look no better, and will likely look worse as India rushes to catch China economically.

    • andrewfez Says:

      At least the algae looks happy. Whoever is working on how to rejuvenate a battered ecosystem around there probably has a long career ahead of them…

  3. dumboldguy Says:

    Keith Schneider gives some great insights into how India got where it is today and where it might go in the future. He knows what he is talking about. You should talk to him more often

    As far as the “shift in India’s tone on global warming” goes, I wonder how badly prime minister Modi’s shoulders were dislocated by all the arm-twisting that Obama (and likely China) did. (I would imagine he won’t be playing tennis or swinging a cricket bat anytime soon). India making some movement on emissions in the same direction as the U.S. and China is critical to the success of the Paris talks later this year. Let’s hope having the three countries that are the largest polluters all reading from the same script continues and the momentum builds.

    The list is at this point just a very nice bit of bright-sidedness. People should read the full ThinkProgress piece and the Washpost article below for a more realistic view. (They reinforce Schneider’s remarks). And the Reuters piece reminds us of how India has been a nuclear outlaw in the eyes of the West for 40+ years—let’s hope we are finally beyond that and that nuclear power can now help India.

    PS My crap detectors always start to vibrate when I read things like:

    “Signaling warmth and determination to take ties to a higher level, Modi broke with protocol to meet and bear-hug Obama as he landed in New Delhi, then referred to him as Barack. It was a remarkable spectacle, given that a year ago Modi was persona non grata in Washington and was denied a visa to the United States”.

    Yep, I can hear the shoulder joints popping.

    • omnologos Says:

      Fancy that. After the customary bullying attempt with the WHAT posted to pretend nothing I say makes sense, you proceeded to expand on the same points with a hitherto unknown set of crap detectors. Just showing how prejudiced your answers are 8)

      • dumboldguy Says:

        You made no discernible “points” in your comment, Omno. It was just your “customary” mindless attention seeking and babbling, hence the “WHAT???” query from me. That’s not bullying but merely a shorthand way of saying you have missed the point yet again.

        And you are too hard on yourself when you say NOTHING you say makes sense—-perhaps as much as 10% of what you say “makes sense” (if one can put oneself in a sufficiently deluded and ignorant mindset to follow it, that is).

        Your implication that my comments in any way are an “expansion” of what you said is a good example of your self-delusion (and quite insulting to me—-was that your intent?). NOTHING I said has ANY relationship at all to your inane remarks. I was commenting on the body of the post, which you apparently haven’t even fully read or understood.

        As far as my “hitherto unknown set of crap detectors”, I have mentioned them many times on other threads, and that they became finely honed during my professional career (and that’s one reason I am able to see through your “CRAP” so easily). Do you not recall my saying that judges and cops also develop good ones? Probably not, since your level of self-absorption is so high that there is little room in your brain for much else (like useful facts).

        • omnologos Says:

          Still more adhom vomit. Am not surprised. If you weren’t a hypocrite you’d simply ignore my comments instead of adding idiotic pronouns. Give it a try sometime.

          • Andy Lee Robinson Says:

            Nothing you say ever makes any sense, wastes people’s time and generally pisses everyone off.
            Go and do something more useful instead, like setting up a nose-hair removal salon in Siberia or leave the planet.

          • omnologos Says:

            Andy Lee you’re just trolling around. As I said it ain’t difficult. If what I say makes no sense just don’t reply.

            In the meanwhile do we all agree that as usual with Obama there are many promises and a lot of hope but nothing tangible as yet?

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