Over nineteen months after India signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Saudi Arabia, the two countries have been strengthening ties with bilateral business deals for mutual benefits. In their latest move, India and Saudi Arabia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the fields of electrical interconnections, green/clean hydrogen, and supply chains. The agreement was signed between India’s Union Minister of Power and New & Renewable Energy, R K Singh, and the Minister of Energy, Government of Saudi Arabia Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud, in Riyadh late last week.
Speaking with reporters on the sidelines of the popular event, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Climate Week in Riyadh, India’s energy minister, Singh, stated, “MENA Climate Week is extremely important in exploring and sharing opportunities to shape the future of energy production, consumption, and sustainability on a global scale. The gathering at MENA Climate Week holds great significance for the MENA region and collectively possesses immense potential in influencing the current and future narrative of energy transition.” The Indian minister was addressing a session on “Global Stocktake of the Paris Agreement (GST) Regional Dialogue: Highlighting enablers and technologies for ambition and just and inclusive transitions”.
This MoU aims to establish a general framework for cooperation between the two countries in the field of electrical interconnection, exchange of electricity during peak times and emergencies, co-development of projects, co-production of green/clean hydrogen and renewable energy, and also establishing secure, reliable, and resilient supply chains of materials used in green/clean hydrogen and the renewable energy sector.
The two countries also decided that mutual Business-to-Business (B2B) Summits and regular B2B interactions will be conducted to establish complete supply and value chains in these areas of energy sector cooperation. In order to strengthen bilateral and regional business, India signed a CEPA agreement with Saudi Arabia on February 18, 2022.
The five-day event MENA Climate Week is being held in Riyadh from October 8 to 12 to discuss climate solutions ahead of COP28 (the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties under the aegis of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, scheduled to take place in Dubai this year from November 30 – December 12, 2023). Almost all signatories of the United Nations, almost 200 countries, congregate at the COP event every year and discuss the progress made to protect the environment and reduce global temperature by 1.5 degrees Celsius, as agreed in the Paris Agreement in 2015.
The MENA Climate Week is an important event that brings together a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss many topics, including the global stocktake, and the economic and energy security aspects of climate action in the context of the Paris Agreement. It provides a valuable opportunity to share insights and best practices, and to develop ambitious climate strategies for the rest of this critical decade.
The minister told the global community that India today is one of the world’s most vital voices in the energy landscape and has emerged as a leader in energy transition. “India, with almost 17 percent of the world population and being the world’s fifth largest economy, is taking significant steps to reduce emission intensity of its gross domestic product (GDP) by 45 percent by the year 2030 and to achieve the goal of Net Zero by the year 2070. India’s energy sector has undergone a remarkable transformation, aimed at providing reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy to its people.
“The country has made significant strides in enhancing power generation capacity from non-fossil fuels, established a unified national grid, and has strengthened the distribution network, promoting renewable energy, expanding access to energy and achieving 100% household electrification, and implementing innovative policies. Green hydrogen is a promising alternative for accelerating India’s energy transition. It brings me great pleasure to inform you that the government of India has launched the National Green Hydrogen Mission for harnessing hydrogen energy and has approved an initial outlay of US$ 2.3 billion for this Mission,” said the minister.
India further called upon MENA countries to join the Global Biofuel Alliance, in order to advance international cooperation in sustainable biofuels to realize the full potential of the alliance, which aims to facilitate cooperation in intensifying the development and deployment of sustainable biofuels, to facilitate trade in biofuels and much more, in collaboration with international biofuels organizations.
India firmly believes that all nations must recognize that the energy transition will have different challenges and opportunities for developing countries and the global south in particular. Therefore, it is imperative that India works together with the MENA countries to support each other in this transition. The MENA Climate Week that individual actions and sustainable behavioural choices are crucial for both partners to achieve the energy transition in a sustainable manner. In this regard, the Minister called upon the MENA region to join India’s initiative on Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE).
A global stocktake of the Paris Agreement
The high-level GST (Global Stocktake of the Paris Agreement) regional dialogue at the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Climate Week will bring together policymakers, key stakeholders, and partners in the intergovernmental process to discuss key messages from the region with a view to shaping the GST outcome. The dialogue will further serve as a platform to discuss the challenges, barriers, solutions, and opportunities for enhancing climate action and support within the context of MENA and for enhancing international cooperation.
The GST allows countries to periodically take stock of the implementation of the Paris Agreement to assess the collective progress towards achieving the purpose of the Agreement and its long-term goals. It is done in a comprehensive and facilitative manner, considering mitigation, adaptation, and the means of implementation and support, and in the light of equity and the best available science. The first GST started in Glasgow in 2021 and will conclude at the climate change conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (at COP28). The outcome of the GST shall inform Parties in updating and enhancing, in a nationally determined manner, their action and support, as well as in enhancing international cooperation for climate action.
The recommendations of the first global stocktake will be an important political moment to highlight collective progress made globally towards the achievement of the Paris Agreement provisions and goals. It is an important moment to underscore challenges, but also the plenitude of opportunities to accelerate climate action including various regional priorities. It will also be critical to signal a positive message of unity and cooperation to the world, to enable ownership of the outcome and subsequent buy-in for effective implementation.
Source: Polymer Update