Driving Sub-national Engagement on Climate Action in India
October 6, 2017
The Under2 Coalition is setting a precedent for bold climate leadership, with states, regions and cities, as well as national governments, driving ambitious commitment on emissions reduction in support of the Paris Agreement. In this blog, Awinash Bawle, Deputy Director of International Affairs and Business Development, State of California, addresses the importance of increasing sub-national engagement on climate action in India.
The power of strong partnerships and effective cooperation between sub-national governments in countering the global impact of climate change has never been more evident. The Under2 Coalition, for which The Climate Group acts as secretariat, is a world leading example of this. Founded in 2015 by California and the German state of Baden-Württemberg to galvanize ambitious climate action from states, regions and cities, the Coalition now includes 188 members who share some of the boldest climate change mitigation targets in the world.
The Coalition is a diverse group of primarily sub-national governments, with signatories making a public commitment to reduce their GHG emissions by 80-95% below 1990 levels, or two metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent per capita, by 2050. The coalition’s 187 jurisdictions span 38 countries and six continents, representing 1.2 billion people and US $28.8 trillion in GDP – equivalent to 16% of the global population and 39% of the global economy.
Currently, the Indian states of Telangana and Chhattisgarh are signatories to this pact and the further participation of Indian jurisdictions is seen as vital to global progress in the fight against climate change. The State of California, on behalf of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., is therefore striving to establish deeper collaboration with Indian states to drive wider cooperation on climate change-related issues.
A greater representation of Indian cities and states in the Coalition would enable India to adopt a more robust and collective approach to fighting climate change, and more Indian sub-national entities would enjoy the major benefits of knowledge and technology sharing.
The Under2 Coalition is in the process of shifting to an implementation phase that includes helping sub-national governments develop long-term deep decarbonization pathways, sharing best practices on policy solutions and measuring carbon emissions transparently and accurately; many of these functions represent similar aspirational objectives voluntarily and independently set forth in individual Indian state initiatives.
SHARING KNOWLEDGE AND BEST PRACTICE
In practice, executing these functions will necessarily require the expansion of climate change technology-related trade and investment in several key areas, for the mutual benefit of Indian states and California.
More specifically, in various areas of clean energy, clean technology, water treatment and conservation, and environmental sustainability, California’s industry is world renowned for its technological prowess, entrepreneurial spirit, and innovative culture. Due to the combined stresses in India of population growth, poverty, and weather-related disruption to agricultural output, Indian states have a keen interest in seeking advancements on all these areas.
For India to better capitalize on those interests and better leverage California’s demonstrated expertise, Indian states should increase the frequency and variety of visiting environmental trade delegations to California in the coming months.
The State of California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, or GO-Biz, would warmly welcome them and would stand ready to assist in facilitating productive exchanges for those delegations.