India to push for solar-rich country alliance at Paris climate talks


India plans to spearhead a solar revolution among sun-rich nations, beginning with the launch of a solar-rich alliance at the UN climate talks – the 21st Conference of Parties (COP-21) – held next month in Paris.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the plan this week at the India-Africa Forum Summit held in New Delhi, urging sun-rich nations of Africa to join the alliance, forming a business bloc that can work together to secure financing and technological know-how to help nurture greater solar penetration in these nations.

"I invite you to join an alliance of solar-rich countries that I have proposed to launch in Paris on November 30 at the time of COP-21 meeting," Modi said at the ceremony. "Our goal is to make solar energy an integral part of our life and reach it to the most unconnected villages and communities."

The PM first floated the idea of such an alliance at the Council of Climate Change in January, and he is confident that as many as 107 nations will join the alliance, which will be officially launched in Paris on November 30 when Modi heads to Europe to attend the talks.

The hope is that the forming of such a strong alliance will send a strong signal to more developed nations at the talks that the developing world is serious about playing its part in tackling climate change, and is also eager to work with richer nations to attract financial and technological support to further their solar ambitions.

"When the sun sets, tens of millions of homes in India and Africa become dark," Modi said at the Inda-Africa summit. "We want to light up lives of our people and power their future. But, we want to do it in a way that the snow on Kilimanjaro does not disappear, the glacier that feeds the River Ganges does not retreat, and our islands are not doomed."

Modi has been a vocal proponent of developing India’s renewable energy footprint, greenlighting plans to target the installation of 175 GW of clean power by 2022, of which 100 GW will be solar PV. India also hopes to cut its carbon emissions by 33-35% by 2030, and used his platform at the India-Africa summit to remind richer nations of their responsibilities in the fight against climate change.

"It is true that the excess of few cannot become the burden of many," he stressed. "So when the world meets in Paris in December, we look to see a comprehensive and concrete outcome that is based on the well-established principles in the UN Convention on Climate Change.

"We will all do our part for it. But we also want to see a genuine global public partnership that makes clean energy affordable, provides finance and technology to developing countries to access it, and the means to adapt to the impact of climate change."