The much touted International Solar Alliance, an idea mooted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring together countries that get plenty of sunlight, will be formally launched on the opening day of the upcoming climate change conference in Paris on November 30. The COP 21 summit will be attended by more than 100 heads of states and governments.
France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that Modi and France President Francois Hollande will together launch the initiative on November 30, the first day of the two-week annual conference that is expected to deliver a global agreement on curbing greenhouse emissions. India plays a “pivotal role” in climate change negotiations, Mr Fabius said in New Delhi. The global leaders converging in Paris are expected to express their commitment to a long-term balanced agreement on combating climate change.
“In all, 137 heads of states will come and speak. We thought it was necessary to give a political impulse to the negotiations. The agreement will be discussed by the negotiators and ministers, but nobody can give the political impulse more properly than the heads of states,” Mr Fabius said.
Ahead of the COP-21 summit, Mr Fabius and his Special Representative, Laurence Tubiana, are visiting a few key countries in their last-minute attempt to iron out differences on major issues. India was their first stop. “India plays pivotal role in climate negotiations. Our common work towards a successful outcome in Paris has been very stimulating,” Mr Fabius said.
In a boost to India’s concept of an international solar alliance, France extended support to the alliance. “We support India’s plan to set up an international alliance that will bring an important contribution to ensuring access to low-carbon energy. Modi and Hollande will launch this initiative together. Such a project can set up an ambitious international partnership and India is at its forefront. We must gather the support of as many nations as possible,” Mr Fabius said.
The idea of an international solar alliance was first floated last year following India’s announcement that it will attempt to generate 100 GW of electricity from solar energy by 2022 instead of the 20 GW it was targeting earlier to get all the countries in the tropics to switch to solar power as much as possible.
The Solar Alliance hopes to facilitate joint research and development in solar technologies and encourage the global switch to renewables. Mr Modi and Mr Hollande will also release a book containing a summary of statements of famous thinkers on the importance of living in harmony with nature.