At G-7, Modi in clean energy push for poor

The Asian Age.  | Sridhar Kumaraswami

India, All India

India 'can provide for every new technology can make that technology affordable for the whole world', said the PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with USA President Joe Biden and Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, at G-7 Summit, in Germany. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: Exhorting the G-7 countries “to invest in research, innovation, and manufacturing” in the huge market for clean energy technologies that is emerging in India, Prime Minster Narendra Modi said India “can provide for every new technology can make that technology affordable for the whole world”. He was speaking Monday as a special invitee at the session “Investing in a Better Future: Climate, Energy, Health” during the G-7 summit that took place at Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps, near Munich in Germany.

“All of you will also agree with this that energy access should not be the privilege of the rich only -- a poor family also has the same rights on energy. And today when energy costs are sky-high due to geopolitical tensions, it is more important to remember this thing,” Mr Modi told the G-7 leaders, in an obvious reference to the Ukraine crisis. “When a large country like India shows such ambition, other developing countries also get inspiration. We hope the rich countries of G-7 will support India’s efforts… G-7 countries can help India to take these innovations to other developing countries,” he further said.

Germany now holds the presidency of the G-7 grouping that comprises seven nations -- Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and the United States. The G-7 comprises seven of the world’s “largest” advanced economies, and the European Union, but the G-7 host nation can invite leaders of other nations as guests. India is not a member of the group.

Pointing to India’s performance on the clean energy front, Mr Modi said: “We have achieved the target of 40 per cent energy-capacity from non-fossil sources nine years before time. The target of 10 per cent ethanol-blending in petrol has been achieved five months before time. India has the world’s first fully solar power operated airport. India’s huge railway system will become net zero (emission) in this decade.”

He added: “Unfortunately, it is believed there is a fundamental collision between the world’s development goals and environmental protection. There is also another misconception that poor countries and poor people cause more damage to the environment… By taking inspiration from this principle, we delivered LED bulbs and clean cooking gas door-to-door in India and showed that millions of tons of carbon emissions can be saved while ensuring energy for the poor.”

“Ancient India has seen a time of immense prosperity; then we have also tolerated the centuries of slavery, and now independent India is the fastest-growing big economy in the whole world. But during this whole period, India did not let its commitment to the environment get diluted even a single bit. 17 per cent of the world’s population resides in India. But our contribution of global carbon emissions is only five per cent. The main reason behind this is our lifestyle, which is based on the theory of co-existence with nature,” Mr Modi told the G-7 leaders.

He added: “I called for a movement called LiFE -- Lifestyle for Environment -- in Glasgow last year. This year, on World Environment Day, we launched the Global Initiative for LiFE campaign. The goal of this campaign is to encourage an eco-friendly lifestyle.”