Climate change negotiations painfully slow: PM

New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) Expressing concern over the slow progress of climate change negotiations, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday said the goal of stabilising global temperatures at acceptable levels is nowhere in sight.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Fourth Clean Energy Ministerial here, Manmohan Singh said countries should take action to promote clean energy, and added that India recognises the importance of evolving a low carbon strategy for inclusive and sustainable growth and will double renewable energy capacity by 2017.

“On any principle of equity, the industrialised countries have to bear a large share of the burden. They are historically responsible for the bulk of the accumulated greenhouse gas emissions and this alone suggests a greater responsibility,” he said.

The prime minister said these issues have been the focus of intense discussion in the climate change negotiations being conducted under the auspices of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“Unfortunately, progress in these negotiations is painfully slow. The goal of stabilising global temperatures at acceptable levels is nowhere in sight,” he said.

Calling for individual countries to make efforts towards sustainable development, the prime minister said: “There is need for inter-country consultation and discussion in these areas to promote information exchange and to identify possible areas of collaboration, and also to learn from each other’s experience in addressing common problems.”

Explaining the measures taken by India in the clean energy area, Manmohan Singh said: “We are also taking steps to exploit non-conventional clean energy sources such as solar and wind power, and also energy from bio mass. It is proposed to double the renewable energy capacity in our country from 25,000 MW in 2012 to 55,000 MW by the year 2017.”

The prime minister said the pace at which the country can expand its reliance on these new energy sources is constrained by the fact that they are more expensive than conventional energy, but costs are expected to fall.

“The cost of solar energy, for example, has nearly halved over the last two years, though it remains higher than the cost of fossil fuel-based electricity. If the cost imposed by carbon emissions is taken into account, then solar energy is more cost effective, but it is still more expensive,” he said.

Counting on the probability of falling costs in this area, Manmohan Singh said: “We have launched a Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission with the objective of developing 22,000 MW of solar capacity by the year 2022, covering both solar photovoltaic and solar thermal.”

The prime minister said his government was keen to ensure induction of the best technology and also encourage domestic production of the equipment needed.

“India is potentially a large market for production of such equipment. It is also a potentially competitive and attractive production base for supplying other countries. We therefore strongly encourage global manufacturers to set up production facilities in this area,” he said.

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