Global strategies to address climate change must be based on "equitable sharing" of the burden of mitigation and adjustment, Singh said. "On any principle of equity, industrialised countries have to bear a large share of the burden. They are historically responsible for the bulk of the accumulated greenhouse gas emissions, and this alone suggests greater responsibility," he added.
Singh painted a grim picture of the climate change negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, saying the goal of stabilising global temperatures at acceptable levels was nowhere in sight.
He clarified the government's stand on continuation of incentives for setting up costly renewable energy capacities. "Market forces alone will not provide sufficient financing for green energy. For the moment, green energy is not viable on its own, without subsidy or regulatory incentives. Investors obviously need an assurance that these incentives will continue," he said.
The industry cheered Singh's remarks. "This is a positive announcement by the government and would put further emphasis on the renewable sector. Over the last few years, private equity players and lenders like us have become comfortable investing in renewable energy companies, thereby providing the much-needed capital for the sector to grow. The potential for generating energy using solar and biomass is very large," Avijit Bhattacharya, chief executive of Tata Cleantech Capital, told Business Standard.
Singh also noted India's commitment to cutting its energy intensity 20-25 per cent by 2020. Speaking at the event, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said India was interested in creating a competitive domestic production base and the government would have to take a "difficult decision" by incorporating wind and solar energy into the integrated energy policy.
Non-governmental organisation Greenpeace termed the prime minister's speech "disappointing, lacking ambition and a repeat of past promises". It blamed the government of not doing enough to promote renewable energies.