India, US start $50 mn fund for clean technology

India, US start $50 mn fund for clean technology

New Delhi: The United States and India announced a joint $50 million fund to promote research in clean energy technologies on Wednesday, a step seen as part of efforts to whittle down their differences over how to fight climate change.

The fund will help establish the Indo-US Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Centre which will finance academia, institutions and industry from both countries to undertake the research.

“This is the first collaborative research effort of its kind, where Indian and US researchers will be jointly selected," US Ambassador to India Timothy J. Roemer said in a statement.

“It elevates the US-India clean energy cooperation to a new level and is a testament to the strength of our continued strategic partnership."

In the global fight against climate change, two of the world’s most populous democracies sit on the opposite end of the debate, their differences a major hindrance in achieving an international agreement on curbing global warming.

Under existing rules, only rich countries have to meet binding emissions targets and report actions regularly. But developed nations led by the United States, which never ratified Kyoto, want emerging economies such as China and India to take on a greater share of climate actions.

Developing nations now emit more than half of greenhouse gas emissions and that portion is growing quickly. China has already passed the United States as the world’s top carbon polluter.

Emerging nations say they will accept international consultation and analysis (ICA) of their emissions actions, but not anything equal to the standards expected of rich economies. They blame the rich for much of the greenhouse pollution pumped into the atmosphere over the past two centuries.

A huge gap also exists between rich countries reluctant to pay the fiscal and lifestyle costs of deep cuts in their emissions, and developing states which say they must be allowed to increase emissions so their economies can catch up.

The US statement said the awards from the new fund will be made to a consortia with the knowledge and experience to undertake collaborative research programs.

“These consortia will help bring together top talent from both countries and are expected to generate key technological advancement through genuine collaboration between US and Indian researchers," it said.