Canada, India Sign MoU On RE, Leave Coal Problem For A Deal In Future

Highlights :

Canada can work with India, support in this transition, and then maybe it becomes easier for India to say, ‘OK, well, we’re ready to accelerate our phase-out of coal-fired electricity.

Canada and India signed an Memorandum of Understanding on Thursday to mutually cooperate to make Renewable Energy a reliable source of electricity. However, the coal generated power is conspicuously absent from the MoU, raising several eyebrows since Canada is leading a global movement to end the burning of coal for electricity and India is the second biggest producer and consumer of coal on the planet.

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Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault acknowledged India’s coal problem did not make it into the talks and explained, “When you look at some of the challenges that India has in terms of growing energy demand, growing population, the challenges with poverty alleviation, it would be very difficult for me to point fingers at India, Even though coal wasn’t on the agenda this time, Canada can and will be looking to do what it can to export its own renewable energy expertise to help India phase out its coal reliance. So we can work with them, we can support them in this transition, and then maybe it becomes easier for India to say, ‘OK, well, we’re ready to accelerate our phase-out of coal-fired electricity.”

However, he added that the new agreement signed on Thursday to co-operate with India on climate action is an opportunity for Canada to export its renewable energy technology, particularly related to making renewable energy a reliable source of electricity. Besides, the MoU took very lengthy efforts and sustained persuasion from both the sides as Guilbeault said in an interview later that the memorandum of understanding came about after lengthy efforts by officials in Canada and India, and a meeting between Guilbeault and Indian Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav at the United Nations climate talks in Scotland last November.

It was finalized on the sidelines of a climate meeting in Sweden this week marking 50 years since the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment.

The MoU binds both the countries with a promise to collaborate on everything from renewable energy to decarbonizing heavy industry, and reducing plastic pollution. “But what we can do is work with them to help them accelerate their decarbonization, in terms of helping them increase their renewable energy capacity, ” said Guilbeault. Canada’s policy is to have no unabated coal-fired power plants by 2030, meaning the existing plants either have to close, be converted to a different fuel such as natural gas or install carbon capture systems that trap all emissions and bury them back underground.

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