Year 4, Month 4, Day 29: Truth Alone Prevails?

The Hindu (India) lets us know that Bharat Mata is stepping up to the plate:

Stating that India had launched itself to double the renewable energy capacity to 55000 MW by 2017, Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh on Wednseday expressed serious concern over the “painfully slow” progress of climate change talks, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday lamented that the goal of stabilising global temperatures at acceptable levels was nowhere in sight.

Delivering the inaugural address at the Fourth Clean Energy Ministerial, Dr. Singh said India had drawn up plans to double its renewable energy capacity to 55,000 MW by 2017 as part initiatives to promote renewable energy use. “It is proposed to double the renewable energy capacity in our country from 25000 MW in 2012 to 55000 MW by the year 2017. This would include exploiting non-conventional energy sources such as solar, wind power and energy from biomass,” he added.

The Prime Minister said rich nations, who were responsible for a bulk of greenhouse gas emissions, were best placed to provide workable solutions to mitigate climate change. “The industrialised nations have high per capita incomes, which gives them the highest capacity to bear the burden. They are technically most advanced, and to that extent best placed to provide workable solutions not only for themselves but for the whole world. Unfortunately, progress in these negotiations is painfully slow. The goal of stabilising global temperatures at acceptable levels is nowhere in sight,” he remarked.

“In India, we have set ourselves a national target of increasing the efficiency of energy use to bring about a 20 to 25 per cent reduction in the energy intensity of our GDP by 2020. The 12th Plan envisaged an expanded role for clean energy, including hydro, solar and wind power. 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,” added.

Long way to go, but at least headed in the right direction. Sent April 17:

Doubling the role of renewables in India’s energy economy is a hugely important step which can serve both as an inspiration to developing nations and a prod of conscience to the industrialized West. For too long American politicians, deep in the thrall of fossil fuel corporations, have used China and India as excuses for their own failure to act on climate change, arguably the gravest threat humanity has faced in its long and troubled history.

However, Prime Minister Singh is in error when he states that even when carbon emissions are taken into account, solar energy is “still more expensive” than fossil fuels. When we consider the costs of spill and leak mitigation and cleanup, of the complex and problematic public health impacts of these energy sources, and of the grave economic impacts of global climate change, it becomes clear that sustainable energy sources are by far the better deal.

Warren Senders

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