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Solar Alliance Meets in Delhi, Financing and Import Duty Issues Darken the SkyA total of 121 countri

As International Solar Alliance Meets in Delhi, Financing and Import Duty Issues Darken the SkyA total of 121 countries have signed up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative but any big push to solar energy will need less protectionism and more technology sharing.New Delhi: The International Solar Alliance (ISA) summit being held here on Sunday may provide Prime Minister Narendra Modi an opportunity to score some political brownie points with green activists and the Indian electorate but is unlikely to give any big push to solar energy itself. This is because mobilising financial resources for additions to global solar capacity has become tougher after the United States backed out from the Paris climate agreement, under which industrialised countries have committed to provide $100 billion a year from 2020 onwards to developing countries to help them fight climate change and implement mitigation and adaptation measures. The pledged fund is meant to support renewable energy, energy efficiency, forest conservation and other projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The money would also help poorer countries adapt to the consequences of climate change. For example, climate finance could fund levees to protect cities from flooding, said environmental experts. In 2014, the US offered about $2.7 billion in climate finance, a sum comparable with contributions from Germany and France. If it refuses to finance climate mitigation and adaptation in developing countries, industrialised countries could have a hard time keeping their promise to offer $100 billion in climate finance every year from 2020, said analysts. The ISA itself is a treaty-based international body for promotion of solar energy in 121 countries, which are fully or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Heads of state from 23 nations including France, Australia and Sri Lanka are expected to attend the event on Sunday, which is jointly being hosted by India and France to promote solar energy. Also read: With unstable solar policies, Modi government could erase the gains it has made so far Were India’s domestic content requirements the least trade-restrictive option to achieve clean energy? Besides heads of state, deputy prime ministers and energy ministers have confirmed their participation in the summit. Several global bankers including Werner Hoyer, president and chairman, European Investment Bank, K.V. Kamath, president, BRICS Development Bank, Nandita Parshad, managing director, energy and natural resources, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Banbang Susantono, vice president, Asian Development Bank are also due to participate in the jamboree. President Ram Nath Kovind, along with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, will host the summit. The meet will focus on various aspects of promoting solar energy in ISA member countries, including credit mechanisms, crowd funding and sharing of technology breakthroughs. The summit will be held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan’s Cultural Centre. It has targeted to mobilise $1 trillion in financing and deploy solar capacities of 1,000 GW by 2030 as part of the strategy for the mitigation of climate change. Potential fault lines However, India can neither supply technology nor provide the financing needed for the massive capacity addition envisaged by the ISA. 

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