US and India hold first meeting of Joint Working Group on Combating Climate Change

1 August 2014

NEW DELHI: The US and India have reiterated their commitment to tackling climate change in a statement released after their first meeting of the Joint Working Group on Combating Climate Change.

During the official visit, US Special Envoy on Climate Change, Todd Stern met with Shri Prakash Javadekar, Indian Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, to discuss potential collaboration ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit in Paris 2015 – the deadline for the determination of the international climate framework for the post 2020 period.

According to a statement released by the US government, the first meeting of the Joint Working Group focused on how an “ambitious multilateral global agreement” could be achieved. In addition cooperation initiatives on clean energy and energy efficiency were considered.

Commenting on the bilateral partnership in a recorded speech, Mr. Javadekar also noted that the Joint Working Group would facilitate a coordinated approach to adaptation and resilience to climate change.

The Indian Minister reaffirmed President Modi’s commitment to tackling global warming, stating the new leader was “much committed to the climate change debate and climate change initiatives”, while his US counterpart, Mr. Stern noted President Modi “has a strong record of engagement on clean energy and climate change in Gujarat”.

Citing the new EPA rules relating to emission reductions in the power sector, Special Envoy Stern remarked that President Obama was “leading an intensive engagement” on policies relating to mitigation.

Since the US-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE) was launched in 2009, the two nations have collaborated on sustainable power deployment, most recently through the joint Energy Dialogue held in March 2014. In fact, a new bilateral Working Group for Sustainable Growth was established on the back of the March meeting, and to date three sessions have been held.

As part of PACE, a Promoting Energy Access through Clean Energy (PEACE) program was introduced which aims to harness and develop clean energy solutions for rural Indian villages. During the March dialogue both nations committed to jointly provide US$8 million to achieve this goal.

In his closing comments regarding this latest bilateral tie, Mr. Javadekar observed that both nations would be “very active cooperation partners” and the Joint Working Group would yield “a fruitful outcome which will aid both countries”.

Video courtesy of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting

By Alana Ryan

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