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India leads solar charge

The International Solar Alliance, a brainchild of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that is headquartered in New Delhi, yesterday turned into an “international and intergovernmental treaty” under the United Nations with 26 countries signing up to enhance solar energy.

Launched at last year’s UN climate change conference in Paris, the Alliance seeks to promote solar technologies as well as new business models and financial mechanisms to reduce the costs and expand the use of solar energy in its member countries.

Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, India and Tanzania are among the 26 countries that signed the framework agreement for the Alliance at this year’s UN climate conference, now into its second week here.

The Alliance is intended to serve as a “common platform for cooperation among sun-rich countries lying fully or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn”. It is keen on the large-scale expansion of solar energy as a way of reducing countries’ dependence on fossil fuels and slash the associated earth-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

The framework agreement for the Alliance has already come into force after being ratified by the minimum 15 countries required. Indian officials said more countries were expected to sign up in the coming weeks.

“I thank the countries for their continued support for concretising the concept of the (Alliance) and reaching today’s milestone in the shortest possible time,” Union environment minister Anil Madhav Dave said yesterday.

He said the Alliance’s activities had “increased significantly” within 11 months of its launch and “many initiatives are under implementation”.

India has offered to contribute Rs 175 crore (about $27 million) to create a corpus of funds for the Alliance and to meet the cost of its secretariat, to be located in New Delhi, for the first five years.


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