Photo via I Love Kolkata
A Slew of Green Initiatives in Obama's 'Secret' Agreement With India
In an agreement that largely flew under the radar during Obama's trip to Asia--so much so that Clean Technica has called it a "secret deal"--the US and India will cooperate on a huge swath of green measures designed to reduce carbon emissions and stimulate clean energy development. Those measures include instituting a joint US/India research project for renewable energy, US assistance mapping the entire Indian subcontinent for solar potential, and that the Obama administration will help India set up its National Environmental Protection Authority--its version of the EPA.India has long demanded assistance from developed nations as a requisite for setting carbon reduction goals--and perhaps these initiatives will lead the nation to be more willing to negotiate in Copenhagen next week. It's certainly a bold agreement on both sides, if still a little vague on the details. And why this deal was kept 'secret' can only be speculated upon, since the US/China clean energy agreements were made public. Perhaps Obama didn't want to risk alienating China before details could be hammered out.
Either way, the agreement is good news for both nations, and marks a step in the right direction for the ramping up of clean energy technology that will be required to curb rising emissions in coming years. Here's a list of some of the initiatives covered in the agreement (via the White House):
The India/US Clean Energy Deal
- The two leaders launched an Indo-U.S. Clean Energy Research and Deployment Initiative, supported by U.S. and Indian government funding and private sector contributions. This new Initiative will include a Joint Research Center operating in both the United States and India to foster innovation and joint efforts to accelerate deployment of clean energy technologies.
- The Initiative's work will be complemented by two Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) on Solar Energy and Wind Energy. Through the MOU on Solar Energy, the U.S. National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) will partner with India's Solar Energy Centre to develop a comprehensive nation-wide map of solar energy potential.
- The U.S. and India will increase cooperation on unconventional natural gas including on coal bed methane, natural gas hydrates, and shale gas
- The two countries will also work to reduce emissions from land use, including deforestation, forest degradation, enhanced sequestration, and sustainable management of forests.
- Working with India's Ministry of Environment and Forests, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will provide technical support for Indian efforts to establish an National Environmental Protection Authority focused on creating a more effective system of environmental governance, regulation and enforcement.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Obama and Indian Prime Minister Singh "affirmed that the Copenhagen outcome must be comprehensive and cover mitigation, adaptation, finance, and technology. Moreover, it should reflect emission reduction targets for developed countries and nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing countries."
This is huge news, especially since just a month ago, it looked like India was going to attempt to refuse to cooperate at all. And it gives hope to all those hoping for a meaningful roadmap towards a climate treaty in Copenhagen. So that marks two groundbreaking clean energy agreements Obama has made with the two largest greenhouse gas emitters besides the US--not bad.
Read the full agreement on the Green Deal Fact Sheet (pdf)