President Obama has begun his trip to Asia, starting with a few days in India. The initial focus has been on terrorism and trade, but clean energy and climate are on the agenda. The U.S. and India have spear-headed some promising joint initiatives and other projects related to climate. Last November the two countries signed the Green Partnership, in which both countries agreed to address energy security, climate change, and food security, with a commitment to build a clean energy economy.
The Natural Resources Defense Council has a good analysis of the progress that has been made in the first year of the Green Partnership. NRDC notes that the U.S., the largest investor in India, has plans to invest as much as $100 million in clean energy projects in India in the coming years. And the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has partnered with groups in India to increase deployment of renewable and energy efficiency products in the Indian market.
India has an ambitious National Action Plan on Climate Change, outlining policies and programs in eight main areas to be carried out by “national missions.” Those eight areas are solar, energy efficiency, sustainable habitat, water, sustaining the Himalayan ecosystem, sustainable agriculture, “green India” (focus on forests), and climate science. Since the plan’s release in 2008, promising strides have been made in the first implementation phase that show the country is serious. I recently wrote a piece for the sustainable business blog Triple Pundit on steps India has taken to bring solar energy to poor and rural communities.
I am hopeful about progress on climate issues in India, and glad to see some solid support coming from the U.S. Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott commented earlier this month that India and the U.S. should work together to enhance their economic might through technological innovation. The will and support is there, now the task is to make sure it gets to the people who need it the most.