Event ReportsPublished on Oct 13, 2021
The India-Denmark Green Strategic Partnership

The India-Denmark Green Strategic Partnership, launched in September 2020, was the backdrop for this event, where Her Excellency Mette Frederiksen, Prime Minister of Denmark gave the keynote address along with Ambassador Freddy Svane, Ambassador of Denmark in India, who gave the welcoming remarks. He started the proceeding with a simple and powerful message, stating that countries had to be green if they have to check in to the future.

In the keynote address, Her Excellency Mette Frederiksen highlighted the green strategic partnership between India and Denmark, a first of its kind for both countries. She mentioned that the partnership was aimed at addressing the most important issue of our time, climate change.

Addressing global climate action, the Prime Minister highlighted the importance of the upcoming COP26 Summit in Glasgow.  She mentioned that there is now a renewed global political will to tackle the climate crisis. Referring to the recent IPCC report, she highlighted how climate change is happening faster than expected and its consequences are more severe. Climate change is not a distant reality but one that affects millions already through extreme weather events, forest fires, and heat waves. She mentioned that the most important message is that we should live, consume, and transport ourselves in a way that takes care of the planet and each other. We should use natural resources in ways that account for future generations. It will take difficult choices; a green economy growth is needed which can also provide the same level of prosperity to middle class in emerging economies as seen in more developed ones. Green transition must uplift society and not limit welfare.

The Prime Minister mentioned that Denmark is proof that you can grow and be sustainable at the same time. She highlighted that Denmark has achieved economic growth while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The key message is that we can make tomorrow better than today by following the principles of clean air, green jobs, sustainable growth, and green future. She mentioned the need for all world leaders to show courage to make strong political decisions today.

The Prime Minister stressed that the first step is to set high climate mitigation targets; ambition must set the pace of the transition. She mentioned that Denmark had aimed to reduce 70 percent of the carbon emissions by 2030. This included a pledge to end the use of coal, oil, and natural gas by 2050, new green solutions, promoting renewables, and increasing private sector participation. The path had been uncertain, but due to strong political will, Denmark has already been able to achieve 50 percent of its target. She mentioned that the key focus areas are carbon capture, green fuels, green farming techniques, and expansion of renewables. There is also a need to provide more choices for consumers in terms of affordable electric vehicles, sustainable farming products, and green electricity. Going forward, Denmark plans to set up more offshore wind plants, a new energy island, and produce greener fuels for hard-to-electrify segments of the economy. She stressed the green transition also had the potential to create millions of new jobs.

Stressing the role of the private sector, the Prime Minister highlighted the key role private businesses can play in catalysing the green transition. Public private partnerships can be a strong tool to this end.

The Prime Minister highlighted that the transition will take difficult choices which alter the status quo and rock the boat. She highlighted Denmark’s tough choices in shutting down oil and gas in the North Sea, closing coal-fired plants, and reducing financing of fossil powered projects abroad.

Talking about the India-Denmark Strategic Partnership, the Prime Minister mentioned that this provides a unique framework for cooperation. Denmark has the skills while India has the scale to implement the knowledge. Already there is cooperation on offshore wind and renewable energy. Going forward, further cooperation is expected in environment, water management, and urban planning.  She also mentioned India’s significant progress in setting ambitious renewable energy goals and achieving significant success in achieving 100 GW of renewable energy.

Speaking of Denmark’s role, the Prime Minister stressed that Denmark’s experience shows green transition can enable both jobs and growth. Since 2005, Denmark had grown 20 percent while reducing GHG emissions by 34 percent. She mentioned the essential role of financing the green transition, stressing the need for rich countries to deliver and scale up funding. She announced Denmark’s ambitious goal of providing US $500 million a year in grant-based funding to green transitions. At least 60 percent of this will be towards adaptation measures in developing countries.

The Prime Minister ended her address stressing on the need for a productive COP26 summit to successfully meet the Paris Climate Goals. Expectations are high, and there is a need to scale up ambitions given the dire warnings of the IPCC report. She highlighted the need for countries to take responsibility, set high ambitions, and put actions before words.

The event was concluded with an interactive Q&A session, where the Prime Minister fielded a number of questions that were moderated by Samir Saran, President, ORF.  Responding to a question about creating a diversified green supply chain less dependent on China, the Prime Minister mentioned that Denmark, Europe, and India need to work closely to make this happen. Acknowledging that it is easier for developed economies to transition, she highlighted the increasing need for India to play a larger role in shaping global climate agenda and other global issues.

Another question was related to the need for an inclusive green transition for businesses. The Prime Minister highlighted that it is easier for bigger businesses to make the transition. However, both India and Denmark have predominantly smaller businesses. Governments need to be actively involved to create an ecosystem which makes it easier for them to transition. She stressed that only if social welfare is incorporated in the green transition can all developing nations be brought on board.

Responding to a question about increased climate ambitions from other European countries, the Prime Minister highlighted the importance of the upcoming G20 summit in addition to COP26. She acknowledged that Denmark is prepared to overachieve in terms of their commitments, to become a role model for the world. However, there are some differences in the starting point of different European countries which could lead to different commitments. Responding to another question, the Prime Minister stated that she would like Denmark to play a bigger role in promoting solar power through the International Solar Alliance. She acknowledged the role of global alliances in bridging the gap between stated climate targets and achieving concrete results. She also addressed the issue of global vaccine inequity, where she stated that she does not feel the COP26 negotiation would be hindered as a result of this.

The session ended with the moderator thanking the Honorable Prime Minister for her leadership in the global climate transition as well as partnering with India for the same.

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