Amid the pomp and ceremony of India’s Republic Day, with President Barack Obama the first sitting American President to be honored as “chief guest,” Indian and U.S. leaders have agreed to collaborate on curbing climate change, clean energy and smart cities.
Stressing the importance of working together and with other countries on climate change, the two leaders said they plan to cooperate closely this year to achieve a successful and ambitious legally-binding global climate agreement in Paris in December.
The White House said in a statement Sunday that the United States “welcomes India’s intention to increase the share of renewable energy in electricity generation consistent with its intended goal to increase India’s solar capacity to 100 GW by 2022, and intends to support India’s goal by enhancing cooperation in clean energy and climate change.”
The two countries already have a robust program of cooperation, including the successful U.S.-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE) umbrella program.
They will now expand policy dialogues and technical work on clean energy and lower greenhouse gas emissions technologies.
The two leaders agreed to begin technical cooperation on heavy-duty vehicles and transportation fuels.
Officials of both countries will discuss how to reduce the environmental and emissions impact of heavy-duty vehicles and transportation fuels by working to adopt cleaner fuels, emissions, and efficiency standards in India.
Both sides renewed their commitment to the U.S.-India Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center (PACE-R), a $125 million program jointly funded by the U.S. and Indian governments and private sector.
The renewal includes extending funding for three existing research tracks of advanced biofuels, solar energy and building energy efficiency, for five years as well as launching a new track on smart grid and grid storage technology.
Obama and Modi agreed to launch cooperation between their two countries on improving air quality.
The United States will implement EPA’s AIRNow-International program and megacities partnerships, focused on disseminating information to help urban residents reduce their exposure to harmful levels of air pollution.
This will enable urban policy planners to implement corrective strategies for improving air quality in cities, allowing for estimates of health and climate change co-benefits of these strategies.
The top official of the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) Sunday signed three Memorandums of Understanding on cooperation to support the development of smart cities in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh; Ajmer, Rajasthan; and Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh with officials of those states.
Under the agreements, the USTDA will contribute funding for feasibility studies and pilots, study tours, workshops and trainings. The USTDA will invite a Smart Solutions for Smart Cities Reverse Trade Mission delegation to the United States, with delegates from the three Indian states and fund advisory services to support the development of smart cities.
To help mobilize private capital for the clean energy sector, USAID will install a field investment officer in India this summer, backed by a transactions team.
The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a government agency, will build on its existing $227 million portfolio in renewable energy and identify projects to support utility-scale growth and off-grid energy access. OPIC financing is helping Simpa Networks introduce home solar kits that are affordable and easy to use. OPIC supports projects in India providing clean drinking water, electricity, modern technology and small business loans.
U.S. and Indian officials agreed for the first time to undertake a partnership on climate resilience that will work to apply international climate models to the Indian sub-continent, assess climate risks at the sub-national level, work with local technical institutes on capacity building, and engage local decision-makers to address information and planning needs for climate resilient sustainable development, including for India’s State Action Plans.