Obama and Modi Negotiate Renewable Energy in India

by Melanie Paty

On January 25th, 2015, President Obama met with newly elected prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, primarily to discuss climate change. Ari Philips published an article for Think Progress that gives context for the negotiations and explains the climate conditions India is currently facing. The article cites staggering statistics about the urgency of pollution mitigation in India. Delhi is the most polluted city in the world with PM2.5 levels eight times higher than EPA approved levels and air pollution-related ailments contributing to 109,000 premature adult deaths per year. Delhi is not the only problem as India houses thirteen of the twenty most polluted cities. A chance to turn to a more sustainable path has opened with Modi taking office as he has increased India’s 2020 solar energy target by five times. The article sites Raymond Vickery who notes that this ambitious goal will be financially difficult for India as its new climate goals are estimated to require $100 billion in investments, much of which will need to come from private investors.

In a recent Huffington Post Article, Manish Bapna agrees with Vickery saying that securing an investment flow to support India’s energy targets is one of four suggested steps he recommends for building a successful climate change strategy between the United States and India. The other three steps he recommended were combining to lead development of global clean energy collaborative, increasing efforts climate change education initiatives in both countries, and establishing a direct line of communication between the two governments to best prepare for a new international climate agreement in Paris 2015. The probability of these steps coming to fruition is unclear. However, private investment flow from the United States is already looking promising as U.S.-based SunEdison is developing renewable energy in Karnataka and a $4 billion solar manufacturing facility.
Philips, Ari. “In the World’s Most Polluted City, Obama Seeks Climate Ally.” Think Progress. January 22 2015. (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/01/22/3614061/obama-goes-to-india/)

Bapna, Manish. “As Obama and Modi Meet, 4 Opportunities for US-India Action on Clean Energy and Climate Change. Huffington Post. January 22 2015.

(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/manish-bapna/as-obama-and-modi-meet-4-_b_6519026.html)

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