11 January 2010

This Indian New Year: sweet news on climate action

By: Kaavya Nag
Yugadi marks the beginning of a new year in the Deccan regions of India: ‘yuga’ means era and ‘adi’ means new beginning. While the day that marks Yugadi is still a few months away, India’s new engagement to the Copenhagen Accord and with climate change has begun this January.

To mark the new year, in typical Bevu-Bella (Neem and Jaggery) style (although certainly not intentional) India is preparing a bitter-sweet offering for climate change – one that symbolizes life’s highs and lows.
The bella news first - the announcement of a planning commission body that will draw out a detailed roadmap for the implementation of India’s carbon intensity reduction plans. The group has till April to finalise its report, and will present its report in September. Drawing heavily from representatives of the public and private sector including Deepak Puri of Moser Baer and Tulsi Tanti of Suzlon, the report aims to be the foundation of India’s low carbon strategy.

Sweeter bella news second – PM Manmohan Singh, at the launch of the Solar Mission today said India should aspire to have Solar Valleys, along the lines of Silicon Valley, transforming India’s energy prospects. PM Singh said the ambitious 20,000 MW target is doable despite the costs it entails, if we ‘single-mindedly strive to achieve it as a priority national endeavour’. While some civil society bodies are skeptical of the 20,000 MW target, which might require an investment of 54 billion USD over the next twelve years, what is heartening is that the government is not yet willing to give up its ambitions.

As of now, the neem-taste is mellow – it appears that the BASIC countries are still to coordinate the pledges and proposed actions for emission reductions they will put forward before 31st January this year. On the invitation of Jairam Ramesh, BASIC country ministers are due to meet in the third week of this month – and one only hopes that they do not shy away from putting out their targets, and do so without the fear of these pledges being converted into international commitments in the future.

May this year be filled with more good news!!!!

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