Environmental activist group Greenpeace has welcomed the government’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), which was launched here on Monday.

“We welcome the formulation of the JNNSM from vision to action. The JNNSM underlines the government’s intention to give boost to solar energy and is a purposeful step by India towards climate change mitigation,” said Climate and Energy Policy Officer of Greenpeace India Siddharth Pathak in a statement.

The Solar Mission forms a part of the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) and has an ambitious target of achieving 20,000 MW of solar power by 2022.

A Greenpeace analysis shows that the JNNSM plan could ensure an annual reduction of 434 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO{-2}) emissions by 2050, based on the assumption that solar power will replace fossil fuels.

“With the release of the JNNSM, the Indian government has categorically shown that it is pro-actively acting on climate change and moving away from a carbon-intensive, business-as-usual scenario. This puts pressure on developed countries to act and commit their ambitious greenhouse gases [GHG] emission reduction targets at Copenhagen,” the statement said.

The Mission, however, does not contain details on several factors, including the financing of the plan. “The document lacks specific details on the sources of finance, which is critical to successful implementation,” said Mr. Pathak.

Currently, India is the fourth largest emitter of CO{-2} in the world at 1,852.9 million tonnes (mt) per annum, while the United States spews 6,963.8 mt CO{-2} per annum.

Preliminary assessment by Greenpeace shows that on the basis of the NAPCC alone, India is on the pathway to deviate its GHG emissions by 12 to 18 per cent, with a further potential to deviateby nearly 35 per cent with more ambitious measures.

If India delivers on the JNNSM, further supportive action from developed countries could ensure a huge uptake in renewable energy, create jobs, trigger high technology diffusion, and help with poverty alleviation in the country while contributing to the fight against climate change.

“India has put its unilateral plan on the table. If developed countries meet their obligation of providing finance under the climate negotiations, India could further build on the JNNSM and boost its action on climate change,” the statement said.

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