Washington: Asserting that India is prepared to play its part in combating the danger posed by climate change, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said the global community needs to develop greener technologies "on a war footing".
"India is prepared to do its part toward solving this common problem," Jaitley said in his intervention on Climate Change Finance Ministerial organised by the World Bank on the sidelines of annual Spring Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
"We have a large stake in this not least because we recognise that a significantly warmer planet will disproportionately affect poorer parts of the world, including India," he said.
"We are also acutely aware that rich countries can more easily and affordably adapt to climate change than us, hence our large stake in mitigation," he said.
Jaitley said the challenge of climate change can be posed simply as reconciling the energy needs of poorer countries with the common global objective of restricting emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG).
The former will require that India and similar countries are provided adequate carbon space, he said. But as on a realistic growth and technology assumptions, coal will remain the most important source of energy for India and many other energy deficient countries, he added.
"Unless coal can be greened and cleaned, it may not possible to reconcile development and climate change goals. The international community needs to therefore go on a war footing to generate greener technologies especially technologies that can help green coal," Jaitley said.
Jaitley said in petroleum, India has moved from subsidising carbon to taxing carbon at levels well above the norm of USD 25 per tonne of CO2. In cooking gas, India has deregulated prices and is using direct benefit transfers to further reduce inefficiencies, he said.
India, Jaitley said, has increased the levy on coal and are using the proceeds to finance clean projects. Highlighting that the Indian government has also embarked on an ambitious programme of promoting non-renewable energy, he said the target for generation of energy from solar sources in the year 2022 has been enhanced from 20GW to 100GW.
"We are investing in railways so that lower carbon modes of transport are preferred for freight. We are promoting the use of solar pumps in agriculture and solar lamps for poorer households," Jaitley said.
Noting that Climate change is one of the greatest challenges for humanity, Jaitley said for the first time man has altered the planet sufficiently to create the risk that the planet as we know it ceases to exist. Rich countries, he said, can contribute by pricing carbon quickly and ambitiously to provide the long run incentives and the certainty for the private sector to invest in creating and disseminating such technologies.
Richer countries can contribute finance to the generation of the global public good of cleaner fuels and technologies. The world needs to collectively invest large sums of money in the search of these greener alternatives, he said. They can also contribute by financing to helping the poorest countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change. In doing so, financing should not be tied -- as some creditors are doing -- to the use of renewable sources alone, the Finance Minister said.
India, he reiterated, is committed to making a significant contribution to tackling climate change to the extent it can. "We urge our richer partners to make theirs by way of pricing carbon quickly, especially when world prices have declined sharply, and to devote their resources to developing clean technologies. Their responsibility in this effort is undeniably greater," he said.