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NEW DELHI: India and the United Kingdom plan to explore the possibility of setting up a world bank for green energy. This was discussed during a meeting of United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-26) president Alok Sharma with union power and new and renewable energy minister Raj Kumar Singh in the national capital on Tuesday.

Sharma is in New Delhi on a three-day visit, started 16 August. Mint earlier reported about the second visit of COP-26 president to India in the run up to United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Glasgow later this year.

According to a power ministry statement, Sharma expressed UK’s willingness to collaborate with India on green hydrogen. This comes in the backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech on Sunday announcing the National Hydrogen Mission.

“The UK side was invited to participate in the upcoming bids for Green Hydrogen and lithium-ion," the statement said.

Green hydrogen is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, using an electrolyzer powered by electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, and can be a game changer for India, which imports 85% of its oil and 53% of gas demand.

India has also rolled out a 18,100 crore production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for building Tesla-style giga factories to manufacture batteries. The plan is to set up a 50 giga watt hour (GWh) manufacturing capacity for advance chemistry cell batteries by attracting investments totaling 45,000 crore.

“Both the sides expressed their willingness to explore the possibility of establishing a World bank for Green Energy which could materialise the proposal for $100 billion climate finance pledged by the developed countries under the Paris Agreement. The UK side requested India’s support for organizing a successful COP26," the union power ministry statement said.

There hasn’t been much traction on the Green Climate Fund, set up to provide developing nations $100 billion annually by 2020 to counter climate change. The International Solar Alliance (ISA) co-founded by India has been exploring to launch a World Solar Bank (WSB).

“Shri RK Singh expressed India’s interest in collaborating with the UK on offshore wind. He also stressed on the need of the developed and developing countries to work together for bringing down the cost of storage. He informed the delegation that India is the only G20 country whose actions are in accordance with the NDCs set by them under the Paris Agreement," the statement said.

According to the union government, India is the only major economy with actions in line to keep global warming below 2°C of pre-industrial levels and the only G20 country whose energy transition is consonant with this goal.

This visit comes in the backdrop of India resisting the pressure of declaring a net zero emission goal. Instead, India has called out nations on their carbon neutral intent announcements and termed its as ‘meaningless’.

“India has already retired 16369 MW of inefficient thermal units till March, 2021. This was stated by the Union Minister of Power and Renewable Energy, Shri RK Singh, in a meeting with the Rt Hon Alok Sharma, COP 26 President, here today. The COP26 President had raised the topic of phasing out of coal fired power plants, in the meeting. Secretary (Power), Secretary (MNRE) and High Commissioner of UK in India were also present," the statement said.

This is Sharma’s second visit to India as COP-26 president and comes at a time when the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned of extreme weather events impacting lives, livelihoods and businesses in India and South Asia.

Sharma will meet leaders of a country that is the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China. In his previous visit to India in February this year, Sharma met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior cabinet ministers including former environment, forest and climate change minister Prakash Javadekar, external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Sherpa to the G7 and G20 Suresh Prabhu and Raj Kumar Singh.

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