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December 02, 2023 11:50 pm | Updated December 03, 2023 08:26 am IST - DUBAI
As many as 118 countries signed on to a pledge to triple installed renewable energy capacity by 2030 during the ongoing COP28 climate summit in Dubai on December 2 and India is among those countries whose name is not on the list. The other conspicuous absence is that of China, the country that has the world’s largest installed renewable energy capacity.
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Though the plan to substantially increase renewable energy capacity and energy efficiency and firm it up into a declaration at COP-28 was first floated by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen this April, it was first mentioned as a concrete proposal in the New Delhi G20 declaration in September.
The Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge, as of now, has committed to tripling worldwide installed renewable energy generation capacity to at least 11,000 gigawatts (GW) and to double the global average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements to more than 4 percent by 2030.
A person in the know said that some of the language in the text was “problematic”. Officials in the Indian delegation did not respond to requests for comment by The Hindu on the reasons for India not signing onto the pledge. India as part of its nationally determined contributions (NDCs) has already committed to installing 500 GW of electricity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.
As of March 2023, Power Minister R.K. Singh stated that India already has close to 170 GW of installed capacity. Tripling this actually overshoots the 500 GW commitment but there is as yet global disagreement on whether large dams — India considers them as renewable energy sources — are indeed renewable sources.
Notably, the pledge that countries have committed to has little legal sanctity and is yet to be included in the main negotiating texts that is being worked upon before a final COP-28 agreement is ironed out by December 12.
.The United States and Brazil have the second and third-largest installed renewable energy capacity followed by India. Both the U.S. and Brazil have signed the pledge.
The G-20 text in September does not mention energy efficiency goals and says that signatory countries will “pursue and encourage efforts to triple renewable capacity...”
Some experts expressed disappointment that India had not signed on despite being visibly associated with the commitment.
“It’s disheartening that India has not signed onto the global pledge to triple renewable and double energy efficiency by 2030. These were landmark decisions that were championed by the Indian G20 presidency and agreed to by G20 leaders in September 2023. Reaching net-zero commitments made by countries means that fossil fuels, including coal, need to be phased down and out,” said Madhura Joshi, Senior Associate, India Energy Transition Lead, E3G.
“The good news is that India already has ambitious targets on renewable — 450 GW by 2030, and a thriving energy efficiency programme spanning sectors. The hope is that India will champion tripling renewables and doubling energy efficiency by 2030 at COP-28 in the main text. India is a global renewables leader and its support will provide a boost for the global renewables sector,” she said.
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