As world leaders gather in Lima, Peru for the next round of the UN climate negotiations, India announced that it intends to more than double its use of renewable energy as a share of its electricity mix by 2020. The action would help India advance economic development while reducing CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.
India has indicated it aimed to increase the share of renewables to at least 15 per cent of its total energy usage, up from 6 per cent currently. The country says it also hopes to bring in nearly USD$100 billion investment in renewable energy projects and install 100GW of solar capacity.
"At a global level, this kind of scaled up action on renewable energy will certainly contribute toward closing the gap between what we are currently emitting and what the science says should be reduced. This is something that WWF has consistently been calling for," said Samantha Smith, leader of WWF's Global Climate and Energy Initiative.
India's announcement this week follows separate declarations on emissions reductions by the US, China and the European Union. It is an important demonstration of how nations can act on their domestic development needs, while also addressing pressing social issues – like energy access for the poor, health and jobs.
"India can set a good example for other countries to emulate," said Smith. "The current state of worsening climate change warrants a scale of action that leads to urgent and significant decreases in fossil fuel dependence and an increase in renewable energy."
India's ambition to establish the largest global solar programme of any country will demonstrate how infrastructure development, sustainability, and investments can all collaborate to transform energy supply fundamentals and position India as a leader in sustainable and low carbon development.
"By increasing the share of energy from renewables, India will increasingly become less dependent on fossil fuels," said TS Panwar, WWF-India's climate programme head. "Turning to non-fossil fuel energy sources will also prevent deforestation and conserve our forests, several of which have potential coal reserves underneath."
Along with other countries, India has an opportunity to showcase its ambitious clean energy commitments at the upcoming UN climate negotiations.
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