Success of world in facing climate crisis will in part depend on decisions taken by India: Senior U.S. official Donald Lu

"And we have so much respect for the Prime Minister's pledge to create 500 gigawatts of non-fossil fuel capacity in India by 2030,” Donald Lu said, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ambitious energy transition goal.

Updated - April 22, 2023 07:04 pm IST

Published - April 22, 2023 11:49 am IST - Washington

Donald Lu. File

Donald Lu. File

The success of the world in combating the climate crisis will in part depend on decisions taken by India, a senior U.S. official has said, as he vowed to work with New Delhi and other countries in achieving the ambitious targets.

These remarks were made by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Donald Lu, who in an interview with PTI said that the U.S. is determined to support that effort through technology and through financing.

“I would say none (of the issues) is more important than the climate crisis. The success of the world in facing the climate crisis will in part depend on decisions taken by India, Mr. Lu said.

"And we have so much respect for the Prime Minister's pledge to create 500 gigawatts of non-fossil fuel capacity in India by 2030,” he said, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ambitious energy transition goal.

“Our teams are working every day on this challenge together and I have great confidence that working together not only between the United States and India, but India and the rest of the world that we will reach these really ambitious targets,” he said.

Responding to a question, Mr. Lu said the future of the planet in part depends “on the ability of India to lead” the way in green energy.

“I love some of the things that leading industrialists in India are saying today, which is that India will not only produce enough green energy for itself, India wants to be the biggest green energy exporter for the world,” he said.

“That's something that we should be fully behind as people who care about this climate crisis,” Mr. Lu said.

India and the U.S. have a strong bilateral partnership in the energy sector. In April 2021, the U.S. and India launched the “U.S.-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership,” with two tracks i.e. Strategic Clean Energy Partnership (SCEP); and Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue (CAFMD).

The SCEP Ministerial Meeting twice so far, most recently in October 2022 led by the U.S. Energy Secretary and Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas. The SCEP has five pillars: 1) Power & Energy Efficiency, 2) Renewable Energy, 3) Responsible Oil & Gas, 4) Sustainable Growth, and 5) Emerging Fuels and Technologies (hydrogen biofuels and waste to energy).

An Energy Storage Task Force was launched to support the large-scale integration of renewable energy needed to support the clean energy transition.

Further, a U.S.-India Natural Gas Task Force was set up to support India’s vision for transitioning into a natural gas-based economy, MoU on Strategic Petroleum Reserves for cooperation on Strategic Petroleum Reserves operation and maintenance was signed. A public-private Hydrogen Task Force enables the scaling of technologies to produce hydrogen from renewable energy.

The inaugural CAFMD meeting was held on 13 September 2021 in Delhi chaired by Special Envoy on Climate John Kerry and Ministers of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change. Both sides agreed to proceed with three pillars of cooperation, viz, Climate Track, Finance Mobilization and Adaptation and Resilience.

The U.S. joined the International Solar Alliance in November 2021 and ratified the ISA Agreement in September 2022.

India has a free press, and it really works: Donald Lu

Donald Lu has also lauded the freedom of the press in India and the role of journalists in supporting democracy in the world's most populous country.

Mr. Lu said, “I know the media market is changing. But I have such respect for the freedom of the press in India. There is nothing that's kept secret there. You have India as a democracy in part because you have a free press that really works,” Lu said.

“I can remember going into MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) once and seeing a senior person with files stacked up to the ceiling because he was processing a Right For Information request. And he was complaining bitterly about having to do this and I could only laugh because we have to do the same thing in our bureaucracy where if someone asks for a document, I have to spend several days finding the document for them because that's what democracy does,” he said.

Mr. Lu appreciated the role of the journalists and the work they do to support Indian democracy. According to United Nations estimates, India has become the most populous country in the world with 142.86 crore people

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