India hosted the International Climate Summit 2021 on September 3 in New Delhi, with the focus on making India the new global hub of Green Hydrogen and its quest of becoming a leader in renewable energy. The summit witnessed various stakeholders putting forth their views and promising collective efforts to devise solutions pertaining to hydrogen and its applications as a green fuel.

In the beginning, a video from the Prime Minister’s this year’s Independence Day speech was played, where he had announced the Central government’s decision to set up the National Hydrogen Mission, aimed at making India the new global hub and exporter of green hydrogen. The speakers in the summit called for forging partnerships in ramping up the transition towards net-zero carbon emissions through adopting clean energy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a target of 2047 on India’s 100th Independence day — to achieve self-reliance in energy production.

The summit was organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) in collaboration with the Central government’s Department of Science & Technology, Environment, Forest & Climate change, CSIR, and the NITI Aayog.  iTV network was the media partner in the summit.

Minister of State (Independent charge) for Earth Sciences & Science and Technology Jitendra Singh, Speaking at the summit, stressed the urgency to address climate challenges through a consolidated approach and timely interventions. He also called for shifting to cleaner options like Green Hydrogen as a potential energy source for a more sustainable future. Singh said that the investments made in Hydrogen Energy Processes will pay us in the long run as it will benefit not only in the overall economic development of our country but also in our mission for decarbonisation. “Creation of new hydrogen, carbon capture, use and storage technology hubs (CCUS) hubs will offer a noteworthy value transition to net-zero emissions. With CCUS hubs, we can achieve the least-cost low-carbon hydrogen production. They can be retrofitted to existing power and industrial plant. CCUS hubs have the potential to tackle emissions in sectors like cement, iron and steel or chemicals, where other technology options are limited. They will offer the potential to balance emissions that are unavoidable or technically difficult to abate. Investment in these hubs will also be beneficial in the creation of jobs, encouraging innovation, and enhancing skills and training efforts, ” he said at the summit. Launching the National Hydrogen Portal, the minister emphasized that the platform will become a one-stop information source for research, production, storage, transportation, and application of hydrogen across the country and technology.

Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change  Ashwini Kumar Choubey spoke about the need for creating a sustainable platform for clean energy. Choubey said, “We all have to work towards creating a sustainable platform for clean energy. Our goal is to achieve 40% of non-fossil usage by 2030 and green hydrogen is a ray of hope in achieving that goal.” He added, “India’s population has increased and we need to control it as it is not easy for a country with such a huge population to ensure its development and provide clean air to all people, along with keeping in check the impacts of climate change. Such a huge population is not just difficult to handle for developing countries but for developed ones too. The government is committed and concerned about air pollution for which we have already made a commission. We are also focused on low carbon and reducing the dependency on fossil fuels. We urge the stakeholders in climate change to work together towards a solution,” the Minister said. During the event, Choubey also launched a special knowledge book ‘Self-Reliant India – Harnessing the Power of Hydrogen’, co-authored by Dr Karen Landmark from Greenstat, Norway and JP Gupta, Chairman, Environment Committee, PHDCCI.

Norway was the partner country for the summit. Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Tina Bru, in her virtual address at the summit, said, “Green hydrogen has the potential to release low to zero-emission solutions in the transportation, industry, and shipping sectors, thus opening up new opportunities and several green jobs. I am certain that an increase of hydrogen in the energy mix will be important to reduce greenhouse emissions globally. Closer collaboration between Indian and Norwegian companies can accelerate our steps to a common low-emission future. Climate change has no borders and the common challenge is to cut emissions, the whole world needs to come together and cooperate transcending borders.”

In his keynote address, Mukesh D. Ambani, Managing Director of Reliance Industries, emphasised the need for a rapid transition to a new era of green, clean, and renewable energy. He said, “We should rapidly transition to a new phase of green, clean, and renewable energy as climate change is the most daunting challenge facing human civilisation today.” Ambani also revealed, “Reliance Industries has started developing the green energy complex in Jamnagar with an investment of Rs 75,000 crore.” Calling for investment in smart microgrids, efficient storage solutions, and smart meters so that people and communities would become both consumers and producers of energy, Ambani stated that green hydrogen and zero-carbon energy will play a fundamental role in the world’s decarbonisation plans. He also outlined the company’s plan to become a net-zero carbon company by 2035, in line with India’s target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The company will also work on bringing down the cost of Green Hydrogen to $1/kg in the next decade and set up a renewable capacity of at least 100GW by 2030.

Gopal Krishna Agarwal, President, Jaladhikar Foundation and his wife Yuthika Agarwal were felicitated with an award at the ceremony. Setting up of “Centres of Excellence” as collaborative hydrogen competence centres were announced as the summit neared its end.

The International Climate Summit 2021 saw the coming together of all the major stakeholders in their quest for green energy solutions and to arrive at a consensus in matters pertaining to climate change and sustainability.