A spotlight on energy and climate, ET EnergyWorld

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New Delhi: As the world grapples with the dual challenges of climate change and energy security, India assumes the prestigious role of hosting the G20 Summit in 2023. This global gathering presents an opportune moment for India to assert its commitment to sustainable energy solutions and climate action. So, what is India bringing to the G20 table on energy, and how will it shape the future of global energy and climate policies?

Addressing the energy crisis

Energy is high on the G20 agenda. The need to cut carbon emissions quickly and sharply is becoming increasingly urgent. Fortunately, it is becoming clearer how the global zero-carbon energy transition can be done technologically.

Yet the dominant concern in 2022 is energy availability and affordability, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has derailed global supply chains. While there are no easy fixes, G20 leaders and energy ministers should agree on some principles and actions when they meet in New Delhi on September 9 and 10 for the G20 Summit that will help deal with the immediate crisis without compromising longer-term decarbonisation objectives.

“G20 presidency is a great opportunity for India to not just focus on a just energy transition but to also seek the support from other nations when it comes to clean and green technology, climate financing, climate commitment and targets etc. It is a great platform and opportunity to seek the support of all relevant stakeholders, especially the private sector from the G20 nations,” Nawneet Vibhaw, Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co.

Leading by Example

India has made considerable strides in its energy transition efforts over the past decade. The country’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and expanding its renewable energy capacity is evident. India’s presidency at the G20 Summit offers a platform to showcase successful models and best practices for achieving net-zero emissions. This demonstration of progress not only enhances India’s reputation but also positions it favorably for negotiations related to technology sharing, capacity building, and sustainable investments in renewable energy projects.

Voluntary action plan

India’s voluntary action plan to double the pace of energy efficiency by 2030 aligns with its objectives for the G20 Summit. This plan was proposed during the Energy Transitions Working Group Meeting held under India’s G20 presidency in Goa in July 2023. Additionally, India’s proposal for establishing a Green Hydrogen Innovation Centre and the Global Biofuel Alliance within its borders underscores its commitment to clean energy solutions.

India proposes Global Biofuel Alliance for Clean Energy at G20 Summit

As the current G20 president, India proposes a Global Biofuel Alliance (GBA) aimed at promoting sustainable fuels as part of the worldwide shift towards cleaner energy sources. This initiative is set to include the participation of over 15 countries, including the United States, Canada, and Brazil, with an official announcement anticipated at the upcoming G20 summit in New Delhi.

Biofuels, derived from organic waste or agricultural sources, hold significant potential as a cleaner energy alternative. However, concerns about deforestation and carbon emissions related to their production methods have raised environmental issues. Nevertheless, biofuels have found practical applications in transportation, offering a cleaner option if produced sustainably. This approach could also lead to increased employment opportunities and enhanced energy security.

The International Energy Agency recently released a report titled “Biofuel Policy in Brazil, India, and the United States,” providing valuable insights for the GBA. This report highlights the successful growth of sustainable fuels adoption, indicating a 20% increase over a five-year period in these three countries. To maximize the GBA’s impact, the report suggests identifying high-potential biofuel markets, accelerating technology deployment, and establishing consensus on performance-based sustainability assessments and frameworks.

Global climate leadership

India’s role at the G20 Summit extends beyond energy discussions. With its presidency followed by Brazil and South Africa, India has a unique opportunity to advocate for the Global South’s perspective. This includes the need for technology transfer, climate finance, and capacity-building to ensure climate action aligns with social, economic, and developmental needs.

“India today is a climate leader in so far as its mitigation and adaptation measures are concerned. The giant strides we have taken in clean energy especially through our solar projects and the initiatives in energy efficiency, clean mobility, circularity etc. are all examples which the other nations need to learn from us. So, India or Bharat is bringing to the table examples of real climate action,” said Nawneet Vibhaw, Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co.

B20’s key recommendations on Energy Transition

Indian businesses are urging for policies that facilitate a just and clean energy transition. The B20 task force on Energy, Climate Change & Resource Efficiency has put forth four key policy recommendations to drive this transition. These recommendations entail strengthening global corporations, improving access to climate finance, ensuring a fair and resilient transition, and establishing regulatory frameworks and financial models that foster sustainability.

Sajjan Jindal, Chair of B20 India Task Force on Energy Climate Change and Resource Efficiency and Chairman of JSW Group, stresses the need for a substantial increase in global climate finance to support energy transition plans more efficiently. He also calls for systemic changes in the operations of Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and Development Financial Institutions (DFIs) concerning climate finance.

Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, Chair of ENGIE, France, emphasizes the urgency of a mature regulatory environment and appropriate financing models to support clean energy transition. He highlights the importance of a strategic alliance between renewable power and gases.

These “call to action” recommendations from the B20 task force, if embraced by the G20 nations, can accelerate global energy transition, phase out fossil fuels, and enhance cooperation in financing, technology, and regulations. Vineet Mittal, Chairperson of AVAADA Group, India, underlines the significance of this collective effort in limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

A pivotal moment for climate action

The outcomes of the G20 Summit in New Delhi will set the stage for the COP28 conference in the UAE. India’s presidency represents a critical juncture where bold business and political leadership can drive the transition to clean energy and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

As India shapes the agenda and outcomes of the summit, it is expected to highlight its ambitious climate actions and achievements, including meeting its renewable energy targets and launching initiatives like the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure. India is likely to urge developed countries to fulfill their commitments related to climate financing, technology transfer, and adaptation support for developing nations.

In conclusion, India’s leadership at the G20 Summit is a pivotal moment for the nation to showcase its commitment to a just energy transition and decisive climate action. By leveraging its presidency, India can not only influence global policies but also inspire other developing countries to embrace sustainable and equitable energy solutions. The success of the summit hinges on cooperation, dialogue, and compromise among G20 leaders, and India, as the host, plays a central role in shaping the future of energy and climate policies on a global scale.

  • Published On Sep 8, 2023 at 08:53 AM IST

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