'India could lead the world in clean energy'
The UN Secretary-General's special envoy for cities and climate change Michael R Bloomberg Monday sought to strengthen US-India economic partnership through relaxed US immigration measures for Indian students and businessmen, and said India was poised to become a "leader" in clean energy the world could learn from.
New Delhi: The UN Secretary-General's special envoy for cities and climate change Michael R Bloomberg Monday sought to strengthen US-India economic partnership through relaxed US immigration measures for Indian students and businessmen, and said India was poised to become a "leader" in clean energy the world could learn from.
Addressing the "Renewable energy-invest 2015: First renewable energy global investors meet and expo" here, Bloomberg said: "If it were up to me, our federal government would fix our immigration system so that Indians who study in the US could stay in the US and give back to our economy... Indians who want to do business in the US should easily be able to get visas."
"I have been urging our leaders in Washington, D.C. to take those steps, and I will continue doing that. The closer the economic partnership between the two countries, the stronger we both will be," he said.
Union Minister of State for Power, Coal, and New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal sought to project India as a new destination of investment for renewable energy in view of its ambitious alternate energy programme with a target of 15 percent of total generation capacity by 2020.
He said the pre-requisite to achieving the target was to "make it easier to do business (in India), have consistent policies, ensure our investors that this country is a good place to do business, have bankable contracts, and rule of law in this country".
In view of India's potential as the world's fastest-growing economy, Bloomberg said the US is confident of the country's future, adding that President Barack Obama's January visit to India was of special interest to business leaders back home.
Drawing upon the importance of India's growth imperative along with the urgency to confront climate change, the three-time New York City mayor lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's commitment to balance clean energy goals with "smart economic growth".
Bloomberg recognised that early industrialisers with longest history of development had the "biggest burdens to bear in confronting climate change".
However, he was quick to add that "all of us, in every country, have an equal stake in this fight, because our citizens' health and economic well-being are at risk, regardless of our history, and so all of us must do our part".
He said that while big cities were large contributors to climate change due to their high emission rate, low-carbon transportation like the Delhi Metro was a potential solution to reduce congestion and air pollution while also generating employment.
Bloomberg said the large buildings in Delhi require to have rooftop solar water heaters to help clean the air and "so will the rickshaws powered by compressed natural gas".
"I took one (CNG autorickshaw) to get here (the summit venue at Ashoka Hotel) and it remind me of New York taxi - yellow and green, and fast. Sometimes too fast," he said, sharing his experience of the ride.
"The more India invests in sustainable cities, the stronger its economy will grow, and there is a great deal that cities can learn from one another," he said.
Underscoring the importance of powering cities with clean energy, Bloomberg lauded the government's target of generating 100 gigawatt of solar power across the country by 2020, adding that the initiative could poise India as "a success story told - and copied - around the world" if successful.
He said Indian business leaders were also cognizant of the opportunity in the country like Mahindra that sought to triple its investment in domestic solar power as well as Adani Enterprises's plan to build a $4-billion-dollar solar equipment manufacturing plant in partnership with US-based Sun Edison.
"All of that investment can help India keep growing without polluting the air... and it can serve as a model of sustainable development for other countries," he said.
"India's leadership is helping to show other countries how much is possible by showing that clean-energy, climate-resilient growth is the path to a brighter future," he said.