NEW DELHI (AFP) – Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Sunday his commitment to ramping up India’s renewable energy supplies is not aimed at “impressing the world” following international pressure to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Modi, who stormed to power at May elections pledging to reform the economy, said he was determined to meet the energy needs of India, which suffers regular blackouts and is heavily reliant on polluting coal to produce electricity.
“Our stress on renewable energy is not aimed at impressing the world, but to meet the energy requirements of our people,” Modi said, as he opened a conference on renewable energy aimed at attracting foreign investment.
While India has committed to hugely expanding its solar and wind sectors, it has long resisted pressure to commit to any emissions targets on the grounds that it could hamper its economy and hurt the poor.
During a visit to India last month, US President Barack Obama said the world does not “stand a chance against climate change” unless developing countries such as India reduce their dependence on fossil fuels.
But Modi has denied he is under pressure from other countries, after China and the United States announced a pact in November in the build-up to a UN climate change conference in Paris, France, later this year.
Currently about 60 per cent of India’s electricity comes through coal, while some 300 million people do not have access to electricity at all.