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India: Rich Economies Must Help Foot Our Energy Transition Bill

Wealthy economies must help with financing India’s energy transition, Bloomberg reported this week, citing the country’s Environment Secretary.

“Every policy decision has a cost to the economy. Going net-zero or using less carbon also has a cost,” Rameshwar Prasad Gupta said in an interview. “We are not anti-net-zero. But without adequate climate finance being definitively available, we can’t commit on that part.”

The official’s comments add to worries about the cost of the energy transition, especially for poorer economies. Last week, Reuters reported that these worries are spiking in Europe, where poorer Eastern European members of the EU will have a hard time giving up fossil fuels. The EU plans to penalize noncompliers with higher carbon emission prices, which are likely to be passed on to end-consumers.

India’s situation is even more complex. The country is the world’s third-biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, but shifting away from fossil fuels to renewable energy will be financially challenging. This may bust the myth of cheap solar and wind power but it also highlights the difficulty in distributing the cost of the transition.

“We have our own developmental imperatives,” Gupta explained to Bloomberg. “If you want that I don’t emit carbon, then provide finance. It will be much more than $100 billion per year for developing nations.”

Because of these cost challenges, India has no plans to update its emissions reduction target, dubbed the Nationally Determined Contribution, which it released in 2015 and was expected to revise by 2020.

“This is not the final decision, but most probably we won’t file a revised NDC,” Gupta said. “Let there be a decision on climate finance first.”

India is not the only one asking for financial help before it commits to net zero. Brazil also recently bound its emissions commitments to foreign help to the tune of $10 billion annually.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on July 12 2021 said:
    Birds of a feather flock together. Narendra Modi the Prime Minister of India became a great friend of Donald Trump because both shared discredited policies of ‘America First’ and ‘India First’ at the expense of everyone else .

    As a result, India is now behaving like a spoilt child exactly as Tump behaved. It had the temerity to demand ( mind you demand not kindly ask) OPEC+ to cut oil prices for the benefit of its economy without even acknowledging that the overwhelming majority of OPEC+ members are dependent on the oil revenues for 85%-90% of budget revenues.

    Now India is asking wealthy economies (meaning Western economies) to help
    with financing India’s energy transition as if it is implementing a policy of net-zero emissions for their sake and not India’s.

    India’s Environmental Secretary Rameshwar Prasad Gupta had even the temerity to blackmail wealthy economies by saying “We are not anti-net-zero. But without adequate climate finance being definitively available, we can’t commit on that part.” The wealthy economies should tell him to go to hell.

    Putting the hype aside, renewables on their own aren’t capable of satisfying global energy demand now or ever. Energy transition needs huge infusions of natural gas and nuclear energy to succeed even partially. Another case in point is Germany which is a forerunner in the net-zero emissions and yet it is generating most of its electricity from coal.

    It is easy to warn against rising fossil fuel consumption but such warnings are pretty much pointless as they fall are on deaf ears.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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