A group of 10 US Senators have introduced a comprehensive international climate change legislation that among other things seeks to reinvigorate bilateral cooperation with India in this sector, ahead of next week’s Leaders’ Summit on Climate being convened by the White House.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is among the 40 world leaders invited by US President Joe Biden to the Leaders’ Summit on Climate on April 22 and 23.
Being built as a key milestone on the road to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) this November in Glasgow, the Leaders’ Summit on Climate will underscore the urgency and the economic benefits of stronger climate action.
Senator Bob Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who introduced the United States Climate Leadership in International Mitigation, Adaptation, and Technology Enhancement Act of 2021 (U.S. CLIMATE Act), along with nine of his other Democratic colleagues, said that the legislation represents the most comprehensive foreign policy focused climate change bill introduced in Congress.
Laying out a bold vision to assure the United States appropriately leads the global effort to combat the climate crisis through a new suite of climate foreign policy, climate finance and foreign assistance, and climate diplomacy programmes and initiatives, the legislation also directs US bilateral and multilateral engagements and strategies on climate, and improves integration of climate policy into all aspects of American foreign affairs.
Devoting a separate section on India, the legislation that runs into 212 pages urges the Biden administration to take steps to reinvigorate bilateral cooperation with India on research development and investment in clean energy technology.
Since demand for energy in India will increase with the expansion of the economy and middleclass of India, it is in the interest of the United States national security and global security for the US to support India in growing the energy sector of India in environmentally and socially responsible ways that mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and improve the climate security of India, the legislation says.
India, the act says, has met its growing energy demands by becoming a global leader in renewable energy generation.
Despite significant investments in renewable energy and the implementation of strong national greenhouse gas mitigation policies, India continues to operate some of the world”s dirtiest fossil fuel power plants and has high emissions generated from its transportation sector, it said.
Asserting that India is a critical market for foreign investment and will be a major competitor in international clean energy development futures, the legislation says that India”s leadership within the Clean Energy Ministerial, the Mission Innovation initiative, and the International Solar Alliance has put it at the forefront of renewable energy development.
It has also helped India achieve a top five global rank among clean energy producers.
Installed electricity capacity from renewables in India grew by 144 per cent between 2014 and 2020.
Approximately USD 42 billion was invested into India”s renewable energy sector between 2014 and 2019, it said.
The CLIMATE Act says that the US should support efforts to strengthen India”s resilience capacities that ensure people, households, communities, institutions, and systems can assess, anticipate, prevent, adapt to, cope with, and recover from shocks and stresses as associated with the effects of climate change.
The United States, through the Bureau of Energy Resources of the Department of State, the United States Agency for International Development, the United States International Development Finance Corporation, the Department of Energy, the Export-Import Bank of the US, and the International Trade Administration, should encourage private sector investment in, and financing for the development and deployment of clean energy and climate mitigation technologies in India, it said.
Among others it seeks robust cooperation between the two countries to develop and deploy clean energy technologies, including private sector cooperation, should be a top bilateral energy diplomacy priority and the top priority in the countries” energy diplomacy and should include clean energy; electric vehicles and expansive charging station networks; next-generation refrigeration equipment and refrigerants; and other technologies and chemicals that are in the interest of US industry leaders in the refrigeration and chemical coolant industries that are compliant with the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
In a statement, Menendez said this comprehensive legislation has been introduced to bolster Biden”s commitment to restore America”s role as a responsible actor in confronting the climate change crisis.
“The US CLIMATE Act represents an important step forward in ensuring Congress does its part in providing resources, programs and policy to expedite the restoration of our nation”s climate diplomacy and leadership,” he said.
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