India and China have both refrained from signing a pledge to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030, despite New Delhi's earlier commitment to the goal during its G20 presidency. The decision stems from disagreements over the inclusion of a coal phase-out provision in the pledge.
India has been advocating for a broader phase-out of all fossil fuels, rather than a narrower focus on coal. Sources within the Indian delegation indicated to the media that the country's refusal to sign the pledge was due to the inclusion of language calling for the "phasing out/down of unabated coal power and putting an end to the financing of new coal-fired power plants."
The pledge, endorsed by 118 countries during the ongoing COP28 climate summit, aims to accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. However, India's stance highlights the complexities and challenges associated with achieving global consensus on climate action.
Reliance on Coal and Commitment to Change
India's position is partly driven by its reliance on coal as a primary energy source. Coal accounts for over 50% of India's electricity generation, and the country possesses vast coal reserves. A rapid coal phase-out could pose significant economic and energy security concerns for India.
Despite its reluctance to sign the specific pledge, India has made commitments to expanding renewable energy capacity. The country has set a target of achieving 500 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030, and it has made significant progress in recent years.
The debate over coal phase-out underscores the delicate balance between climate action and energy security, particularly for developing nations like India. While transitioning to renewable energy sources is crucial for mitigating climate change, countries also face the challenge of ensuring a reliable and affordable energy supply for their populations.
As global climate negotiations continue, finding common ground between these competing priorities will be essential for achieving meaningful progress on climate action.