| NEW DELHI
NEW DELHI Jan 25 U.S. President Barack Obama on
Sunday offered to help finance India's ambitious solar energy
target and sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's support at
global climate talks in Paris later this year.
India is the world's third-largest greenhouse gas emitter
and often acts as the voice of the world's developing countries
in United Nations talks on everything from climate change to
It is reluctant to commit to emission targets on the ground
that this could hinder economic growth, which is vital to
lifting millions of Indians out of poverty. Instead, Modi has
made it a priority to expand India's renewable energy capacity
and lessen the need for polluting fossil fuels.
"We very much support India's ambitious goal for solar
energy, and stand ready to speed this expansion with additional
financing," Obama said in a joint press conference with Modi on
the first day of his three-day visit to New Delhi.
India is seeking investments of $100 billion over seven
years to boost the country's solar energy capacity by 33 times
to 100,000 megawatts.
The United Nations asked governments on Thursday to submit
plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions as the building blocks of
a deal due in Paris in December to limit global warming, after
scientists said 2014 was the hottest year on record.
"The prime minister and I made a personal commitment to work
together to pursue a strong global climate agreement in Paris,"
Obama said. "As I indicated to him, I think India's voice is
very important on this issue."
Modi said a deal between Washington and China committing to
a peak year for emissions did not put pressure to do the same on
India, where industrialisation is far behind its larger
neighbour and where hundreds of millions have no electricity.
The U.S. Export-Import Bank is exploring projects for a $1
billion clean energy financing for companies willing to ship
equipment from the United States to India.
First Solar and SunEdison Inc <SUN E.N> are two
U.S. solar companies that already have sizeable businesses in
India, and together with local firms, are expected to invest $6
billion in India in the fiscal year to March 31 and $14 billion
in the next fiscal year.
To further mobilize private capital for the clean energy
sector, the U.S. Agency for International Development will
install a field investment officer in India this summer, the
White House Press Office said in a statement after the summit.
(Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Crispian Balmer)