With the first full day of climate talks getting underway here on Tuesday, India said it remains committed to working with all parties for a "just and sustainable" deal and asserted it wanted developed nations to commit to more progressive targets on emission reductions.
Ajay Mathur, one of the top Indian negotiators at the Conference of Parties (CoP21), admitted that India was "lax" in communicating its energy story, which has led to attacks, especially by the US, on India’s projected coal consumption.
"We are looking at enhancing renewable energy capacity in India by more than seven times. That is not getting as much attention as the fact that even after we have used all the renewable energy, used nuclear and hydro, the balance will be met by coal electricity.
"(Coal) will increase by 2 to two and half times. This is getting far more attention than the fact that it would also mean a seven times increase of renewable. We are looking at something in 200 GW of solar and wind energy by 2030. The other part is we also foresee that as we move ahead there would be an increasing amount of discomfort with the fact that every Indian also needs a lot of energy as does every other citizen in the world," said Mathur, who is also the director general of Bureau of Energy Efficiency.
India has been singled out over its projected increase in coal consumption, prominently by US Secretary of State John Kerry when he called India a "challenge" at the climate talks.
"Agreed. Many of us did not think that this issue needed a lot of international attention. We thought figures are there, if anybody wants to do the math they can do it. All of this is in public domain.
"We did not realise that we need to add up the numbers, put them there and tell people this is what is happening. We have been lax in communicating India energy story," said Mathur, who has previously reacted sharply to Kerry’s comment saying countries are now "flexing their muscles".
Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has already said that Kerrry’s comments were "unwarranted".
Mathur said as far as India’s position is concerned, it will continue to work with other nations and make the point that we are looking for "just and sustainable" agreement.
Mathur said: "Just in as much as it takes into account the interest of people who will be affected and also those who still do not have adequate access to affordable energy. We would like the agreement to move us on to a path that takes us to a temperature increase of less than 2 degrees.
"We see INDC is a good way of figuring out how we move on mitigation agenda. The provisions of global stock taking are useful as they will tell us how world is moving and what are the enhanced ambitions which has to be taken up by the world.
"We want countries to commit, act and deliver while promising even more progressive targets as time goes by. We would not like this agreement in which people step out as they did in the Kyoto protocol when they saw that they could not meet the targets."
Noting that India sees a "central" role for financing and technology, Mathur said at the 2009 Copenhagen summit there was a commitment of financial flows of USD 100 billion a year for developing nations and India wants it to be fulfilled.
"Technology is a key area. If we want to move to more renewable in the grid, we would need more of balancing solutions. Most of the world has used gas as balancing solution. We do not have it and the one we have is expensive.
We are looking at storage technology, whether it is the thermal storage in the solar systems or battery storage.
"This becomes a key issue. Therefore we are looking into the agreement for countries to establish collaborations on both development and deployment of cleaner tech. These collaborations can then be supported through technology and financial mechanism.
"We are making introductions into the text which reflect these positions wherever they were not there already. We are here to see that we get a positive negotiation and will negotiate with all partners."
Earlier, Mathur had also taken a dig at Kerry’s comment, saying his comments meant that nations could not put forward their point of views during the negotiations especially if the views were not in line with the US.