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First Meeting Of Joint Working Group On Climate Change

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MINISTER of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar met the United States’ Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern. The meeting between the two key principals was followed by the first Meeting of the Joint Working Group on combating Climate Change. Speaking on the occasion, Javadekar said that in view of the 2015 agreement on climate change, the group needed to work very closely and develop common understanding for ambitious and balanced package for post 2020 period. Javadekar further said that the Joint Working Group would also establish coordination on Mitigation and Adaptation aspects. The Minister said that important activities in the areas of clean Energy, Smart Grid and Energy Efficiency, development of technology, sharing of information on best practices on adaptation measures specifically for the extreme weather events and approach to Loss and Damage were the areas of discussions.

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Highlighting the IPCC 5th Assessment Report, Minister said that non-availability of water was an important concern for mankind. This required lot of efforts including development of various technologies for enhancing water use efficiency, conservation of water resources and ground water recharging etc. The Minister called for working together in these areas.

The Minister further said that REDD+ issues had gained momentum through adoption of various decisions by COPs in its previous sessions. In view of this the management practice responsible for enhancing eco system services, carbon sequestration and protection of bio-diversity required significant research and development activities. This would form part of deliberations of the Joint Working Group.

The Minister also said that the Group may consider other issues related to phase out of Hydro-fluoro carbon which is a green house gas but substitutes ozone depleting substance and has much higher GWP. He said that the Working Group may consider discussing both scientific and technical aspects of the issue to prepare a common strategy.

Reiterating the Government’s commitment towards sustainable development and efficient use of energy, Javadekar mentioned that several major climate friendly initiatives have been introduced in the Union Budget this year. It included cess on coal increased form Rs.50/ton to Rs.100/ton, raising more revenue for Clean energy, cross-subsidizing solar and other renewable energy research in the field of clean energy technologies, Rs 100 crores allocated for the “National Adaptation Fund” for climate change and Rs. 500 crores allocated for Setting-up of Ultra Mega Solar Projects in Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Laddakh to promote the Renewable energy.

Javadekar also specified that in pursuance of a sustainable development strategy, India had already taken a number of actions on a voluntary basis. He also emphasized ratification and implementation of the second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol including enhancing of mitigation ambition by Annex-I Parties, as a very important step. The Minister mentioned that Technology Mechanism must be fully operationalized and suggested that funds from the Green Climate Fund can be used to purchase Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) of climate friendly technologies and provided to developing countries free of cost. He added that contributions for Green Climate Fund should be ensured immediately.

In his remarks, Stern mentioned that the Joint Working Group would initiate a constructive partnership on Clean Energy and Climate Change between the two countries. This would help in enhancing the bilateral partnership between the two countries.

The Meeting of Joint Working Group was attended by senior officers and scientists of the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, Ministry of Power, Department of Science & technology, Ministry of Earth Sciences and Bureau of Energy Efficiency from the Indian side. USA was represented by officials from USAID, Department of Energy and Office of the Special Envoy for Climate Change.