International Solar Alliance – A Symbol of Hope and Cooperation
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 19 Mar 2018
19 Mar 2018 – Renewable energy is being tapped and promoted in many parts of the world to meet the challenges of environmental pollution, global warming and climate change. One of the main factors behind the environmental challenge is the factor of our dependence on coal powered energy production that is highly polluting and is causing various types of adverse effects including on the health of human beings.
These issues were discussed in great detail in the UN Convention of Climate Change held in Paris in December 2014 and commitments made by several countries including the major ones – USA, China, India, France Germany, Japan and others about taking measures to not increase the global warming beyond 1.5 degree Celsius by the end of the century. This would necessitate both financial commitments as well as by adopting technological measures such as stressing increased production and utilization of renewable energy.
As is well known by now, renewable energy does not have these adverse effects and hence it is being promoted worldwide. Of course tapping the renewable sources and putting them in practice have their own distinct difficulties but they do not cause the pollution that is so damaging. Renewable energy is produced mainly from the sun (solar energy), wind power, tidal waves. Great emphasis is being laid on harnessing the sun’s energy through the use of solar cells that convert sun’s rays into electricity.
Unfortunately, USA appears to be backing out from its commitments on climate change made in Paris as well as the following year in Marrakesh. The responsibility of mitigating the effects of climate change is falling primarily on India, France and China. In order to meet the challenges of global warming and climate change, India had proposed an alliance of countries called the International Solar Alliance (ISA) two years back, with support of France and several countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The first meeting of ISA is being held in New Delhi from 11 March with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the French President Emmanuel Macron co-chairing the inaugural meeting. Speaking on the occasion Mr. Modi referred to the wisdom of India’s ancient Vedas that had clearly stressed the importance of our Sun for sustaining life – human, animal and plant, on the Earth. This was manifested in India’s respect for the Sun in various epics and its Mantras. He stressed that “We have to look at the balanced and all-encompassing philosophy of the Vedas to meet the challenge of climate change. We have to take urgent steps towards this objective.” The French President also spoke about the significance of solar power and renewable energy to meet the global challenge and committed both financial and technological support for this noble venture.
It was stressed by both the leaders that with these commitments and the active support of the 32 countries that have ratified the framework agreement of the Alliance, the target of about 175 GW of energy from renewable sources could be met by the end of 2022. Of this, solar and wind energies would contribute 100 and 60 GW respectively.
Many participating countries also spoke in favor of renewable energy and promised that they would also take appropriate steps, however small they may be to promote renewable energy in their countries. They also sought financial and technological support which France and India agreed to provide.
The inaugural meeting of the Solar Alliance gives us hope that the challenges of environmental pollution, global warming and climate change are being recognized and addressed by many countries. This meeting also encourages the coming together of different nations — developed and developing, to meet common challenges through goodwill and cooperation.
Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment, an educationist and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. firstname.lastname@example.org
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 19 Mar 2018.
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