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India aims for 20 gigawatts solar by 2022 — but is it set to announce emissions targets?

We’ve seen that the “New U.S.-India Green Partnership improves prospects for global climate deal.” But Treehugger has more on the world’s most populous democracy (and the photo is B Balaji via flickr). First,”It’s Finally Official — India’s National Solar Mission Aims for 20 Gigawatts Solar Power by 2022“:

Rumors and draft reports have been circulating about India’s National Solar Mission plan since early summer, but the program has finally been officially announced. Approved just in time for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit with President Obama, the plan aims for 20 gigawatts on solar power capacity by 2022:

Greenpeace has already done some quick calculations (probably had them done months ago, truth be told) and estimates that the NSM, part of National Action Plan on Climate Change, could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 12–18%, with annual reductions of 434 million tons of CO2 avoided annually through 2050, provided that the solar power actually displaced fossil fuel-generated electricity.

Siddharth Pathak, Climate and Energy Policy officer for Greenpeace India praised the announcement,

“With the release of the NSM, the Indian Government has categorically shown that is is acting on climate change and moving away from a carbon-intensive, business-as-usual scenario. This puts pressure on the developed countries to commit and put their GHG emission reduction targets at Copenhagen.”

I’d note that the U.S. may end up doing 20 GW of solar by 2020 — but we’ll need to pass the bipartisan climate and clean energy bill and probably need two terms of Obama, and it’d be mostly concentrated solar power (see World’s largest solar plant with thermal storage to be built in Arizona “” total of 8500 MW of this core climate solution planned for 2014 in U.S. alone).

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Treehugger’s second post on India is more intriguing, albeit more speculative, “Is India Set To Announce Emissions Targets?

Let’s play a game of “Find the large economies that have put emission reductions on the table for Copenhagen.” Yay! Let’s see. U.S.? Check. China? Check. E.U.? Check. India? Hey India, where you at? Well, it seems India might be willing to make firm commitments after Indian Premier Manmohan Singh said for the first time today that his country of 1.2 billion people might be willing to commit carbon emission cuts if — and this is a big if — other countries share the responsibility.

Singh, who gave no hard figures, said today:

“India is willing to sign on to an ambitious global target for emissions reductions or limiting temperature increase but this must be accompanied by an equitable burden sharing paradigm.”

Some Indian media is reporting that Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh will offer cuts of between 20 to 25 percent, but this is unconfirmed by indian officials. Plus it’s not clear if that by 2020 or if it’s relative to economic growth or a benchmark set in the past.

China recently announced that premier Wen Jiabao will go to Copenhagen summit and that they will reduce emissions per unit of gross domestic product in 2020 by 40 to 45 percent from 2005 levels.

President Obama will also go to Copenhagen before he accepts his Nobel peace Prize and will offer emissions cuts of 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, which is consistent with proposed US legislation. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends that developed countries cut their emissions by at least 40 percent by 2020, compared to 1990 levels.

Stay tuned: The start of Copenhagen is only a days away.

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