Climate Action

India-US Cooperation on Climate Change

During President Obama’s visit to India next week, India is likely to ask for additional support with their renewable energy program.  A joint statement is expected to be released by the two countries ahead of the climate talks in Paris later this year. This step towards a renewable energy program builds on the India-US Joint Statement between Prime Minister Modi and President Obama in 2014 in which they “agreed to a new and enhanced strategic partnership on energy security, clean energy, and climate change.”

Following the joint statement, the India-US Technology Summit brought together leaders from both nations to outline a course of action and exchange ideas.  The Summit recognized that the benefits of investing in energy innovation and access, including long term economic stability, improved health and education, and better quality of life, far exceed the costs.

The Summit proposed a joint research program on distributed generation. The recent and on-going cost reductions in storage and distribution technologies for renewable resources introduces a substantial change in the energy system for both the US and India. However, given the sporadic nature of renewable sources, we need a fundamental shift in grid operations.

India and the US must intensify efforts to forge multilateral solutions on climate change in order to make progress on the upcoming UN negotiations. The Summit recommended that the two countries work together to develop and support a vibrant renewable energy market.

So, what is the next step?  Energy is essential to development.  And clean energy is essential to sustainable development.  We must continue to expand energy distribution while also ensuring a livable planet for generations to come.

Karuna Singh, Earth Day Network-India