US-India Summit Focuses on Climate Change and Energy Security

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

“Universities must continue to advance the science of climate change and its consequences and devote significant resources to the area of energy technology research,” said President Peter Salovey during the opening session of the 5th US-India Energy Partnership Summit, which took place on September 30-October 1 in Washington, D.C.

Organized by Yale University and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the summit brought together stakeholders from all sectors to address U.S.-India collaborations on energy access, efficiency, security and technology. This year, it coincided with meetings between India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss expanding cooperation in fields that include energy.

The summit has consistently offered viable and innovative solutions on a range of issues drawing from the experiences of the different stakeholders, including multi-lateral organizations, governments, businesses, and think tanks. Sessions at the summit this year were organized into two tracks – “Smart Solutions for Sustainable Cities” and “Institutional Investment in Renewable Energy.” Climate change also formed a key component of the discussions, with the proceedings of the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Climate Summit providing significant inputs to the summit deliberations.

Underscoring the importance of energy in the U.S.-India bilateral strategic relationship, the United States was represented at the summit by two U.S. cabinet officials – Dr. Ernest Moniz, United States Secretary of Energy, and Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, USAID – as well as Daniel Poneman, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy, and Bruce Andrews, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce.

“There are huge environmental risks by not building environmentally, or in a way to mitigate climate change. We have every reason to act together. Given the scale of the challenge, government cannot do it all,” said Poneman. “Capital markets move more money in a day than governments move in a year.”

Both energy and climate are areas that demand international collaboration. The U.S. and India face unique yet related challenges, and there is potential for bilateral cooperation between them, which the summit tries to cultivate.  

Rajendra K. Pachauri, president of TERI North America, and Director General of TERI, said, “… We really have to now start looking at the future and setting in place policies and actions for what we want to develop as scenarios for the future.”

The first U.S.-India Energy Partnership Summit, held in 2009, laid the foundation for dialogue between the two countries on matters of collaborations between private organizations, research institutions and government for clean energy and R&D of related technologies. The second Summit, held in 2010 under the theme “Technologies and Policies for Energy Security,” discussed technologies and partnerships for energy security. At the third Summit, held in 2012, participants discussed how the U.S. and India could improve collaboration on clean technologies under the theme, “Fostering Innovations for a Sustainable Future.” The 2013 edition of the Summit, themed, “Stimulating Technology, Development and Trade,” discussed energy security, access and bilateral trade opportunities. These summits have encouraged greater interactions across sectors in both countries.

For more information about the summit, click here >>