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India, US Agree on Climate Change

  • Vidushi Sinha

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have launched what the White House is calling a "green partnership."

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have launched what the White House is calling a green partnership, affirming the countries' commitment to combating climate change and ensuring energy security and clean energy.

India and the United States have agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding to increase cooperation on energy security, clean energy, and climate change.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on a state visit to Washington, said both countries will work together to make the environment cleaner.

"We welcome the president's commitment to a major program for promotion of renewable energy, and I drew his attention to India's own ambitious national action plan on climate change which has eight national missions covering both mitigation and adaptation," Mr. Singh said.

The two leaders said their countries are committed to building a clean energy economy that will drive investment, job creation, and economic growth.

Ron Somers is president of the US-India Business Council. He says India and the United States will soon be close partners in promoting green technology.

"We will be focusing on new collaborations that are going to become platform not only for India to fight global warming or United States to fight global warming but a platform that we together develop to provide technologies for the world. So I see tremendous opportunities coming," Somers said. "It's all about low carbon emitting technology."

But India and China have rejected mandated cuts in carbon emissions. Both countries say rich, developed nations should lead the way in cutting greenhouse gases.

They argue that their economic growth would be stunted if there were mandated cuts.

The US and India have agreed that the Copenhagen climate conference, in early December, should involve targets for emission cuts for developed countries but only mitigation actions -- such as improving energy efficiency -- for developing countries.

Recently, India announced it would produce 20 Gigawatts of solar power by 2022.

Bo Kong, directs the Global Energy and Climate Initiative at Johns Hopkins University. He says that target is impossible for India.

"Within such a short time frame - we are talking about building about 20 - 20 gigawatts of power plants which translates into at least over 10,000 solar power plants between 2009 to 2020 - in less than 10 years - so I am very suspicious," Kong said.

Experts say India can only make inroads into green technology if it has financial and technological support from rich countries.

Prime Minister Singh and President Obama agreed to support public and private intiatives that will invest in clean energy projects in India.

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