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India central to green energy plan: U.K. climate change envoy

India will be a member of a consortium of countries that will implement the Global Apollo Programme – a plan to find ways within the next 10 years of making green energy clean cheaper to produce than energy drawn from coal, gas or oil. This is the only way the internationally accepted limit of 2 degrees centigrade increase in global emperature that will avert a climate crisis can be met.

The plan – which seeks to bring the creative spirit that put the first humans on the moon through the Apollo mission to the challenge of reversing climate change – is the brainchild of a group of UK experts drawn from academia, business and government.

The group includes Sir David King, UK’s climate change envoy and former United Kingdom Chief Scientific Adviser, Lord Nicholas Stern, author of the Stern Report, Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, Lord Richard Layard, Director of Wellbeing Programme, London School of Economics Centre for Economic Performance and Lord John Browne, ex-BP chief.

“The greatest scientific challenge facing the world is the need for clean energy that costs less than that from fossil fuel,” say the authors GOP, yet “only two percent of world R&D now goes on that problem. In the past, when our way of life has been threatened, government have mounted major scientific programmes.”

Arguing for £15 billion of public spending on research and development by governments towards creating ways of producing and storing green energy cheaply, the architects of the plan envisage countries joining the programme “will commit to spending in their own countries at least 0.02 percent of GDP on this internationally coordinated programme of research each year over a 10 year period.”

India and China, both large economies powered primarily by coal-based energy, will be central to the plan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who Lord King met in New Delhi, is an enthusiastic supporter of the plan. Mr. Modi has promised to “solarize” India, said Lord King, who has traveled to 60 countries to seek support for the GOP. “India has committed to produce 100 gigawatts of additional solar energy by 2022. That is a very ambitious programme. This programme is therefore a key part of delivering what Mr. Modi wants to deliver,” he said.

Flagging the need for India to reduce its dependence on coal as “fundamental” Lord Nicholas Stern said. Contrasting India and China, he said that India has 13 of the top 25 most polluted cities in the world, while China has only one in the top 50. In China coal production is steadily going down because of the new awareness of climate change. “The issue of air pollution, which kills well over a million people a year, is of fundamental importance in India,” he said.

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2020 11:34:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/india-central-to-green-energy-plan-uk-climate-change-envoy/article7275605.ece

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