Macron pledges €700 million for new solar projects

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (front R) and French President Emmanuel Macron (front L) pose with world leaders and representatives for a group picture at the start of the founding conference of the International Solar Alliance in New Delhi. (AFP)
Updated 11 March 2018
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Macron pledges €700 million for new solar projects

NEW DELHI: French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday pledged hundreds of millions of dollars for solar projects in developing countries, as world leaders met in India to promote greater investment in renewable energy.
Macron, who in December warned that the global shift to a green energy future was too slow, said France would extend an extra €700 million ($861.5 million) through loans and donations by 2022 for solar projects in emerging economies.
France had already committed $300 million to the initiative when it co-founded with India a global alliance in 2015 to unlock new cash for solar projects in sunny yet poor nations.
“We need to remove all obstacles and scale up,” Macron said at the launch of the International Solar Alliance in New Delhi on Sunday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi — who has committed to reducing India’s sizeable carbon footprint through a massive scale-up in renewable energy — said it was vital that nations were not priced out.
“We have to make sure that a better and cost-effective solar technology is available to all,” Modi told the gathering of investors and world leaders from about 20 mainly African nations.
“We will have to increase solar in our energy mix.”
India, the world’s third-largest polluter, is undergoing spectacular growth in its solar sector and is on track to become one of the world’s largest clean energy markets.
It pledged at the Paris climate summit in 2015 to source at least 40 percent of its energy from renewables by 2030, mainly via solar.
The energy-hungry giant of 1.25 billion people is banking on solar to electrify homes for hundreds of millions of its poorest citizens without adding to its considerable emissions output.
Macron and Modi hope the alliance will spur $1 trillion in new solar spending by 2030 in 121 countries lacking investment in the sector.
These countries have “the paradox of being the sunniest in the world while enjoying the least solar energy,” said Ségolène Royal, a former French minister in India as a special envoy for the alliance.
Macron told world leaders in Paris in December that “we are losing the battle” against climate change and urged faster action to combat global warming.
The French leader called on private sector attendees in New Delhi to engage more actively because “solar investments are becoming more profitable.”
He and Modi will open a new 100 megawatt solar plant near the holy Indian city of Varanasi on Monday. The French leader will also visit the Taj Mahal in Agra later Sunday.


Apple’s Cook to China: keep opening for sake of global economy

Updated 14 min 39 sec ago
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Apple’s Cook to China: keep opening for sake of global economy

  • Cook’s comments come as Apple weathers sinking sales in China
  • Despite official pledges and repeated assurances that China would continue to open its markets

BEIJING: Apple chief executive Tim Cook nudged China on Saturday to open up and said the future would depend on global collaboration, as the United States and China remained locked in a bitter trade dispute.
“We encourage China to continue to open up, we see that as essential, not only for China to reach its full potential, but for the global economy to thrive,” Cook said at a China Development Forum in Beijing.
Despite official pledges and repeated assurances that China would continue to open its markets, some analysts worry that its reform project has slowed or even stalled under President Xi Jinping, who has sought greater control over the economy and a bigger role for state-owned firms at the expense of the private sector.
Cook’s comments come as Apple weathers sinking sales in China because of a contracting smartphone market, increasing pressure from Chinese rivals, and slowing upgrade cycles. The company reported a revenue drop of 26 percent in the greater China region during the quarter ending in December.
Before those results came out, in a January letter to investors, Cook blamed the company’s poor China performance on trade tension between the United States and China, suggesting that pressure on the economy was hurting sales in China.