Mike Bloomberg: Five Reasons I'm Going to India

By Michael R. Bloomberg, Fmr. three-term mayor of New York City; Founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg LP
Feb 17, 2015 12:05 PM ET

The writer is the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, and former mayor of New York City.

The last time I visited India was shortly before I was elected mayor of New York City in 2001. Now, as India's role on the global stage is rapidly growing, I'm going back. Here's why:

  1. Climate Leadership. While much of the world has yet to recognize it, India has become a leader in the global effort to confront climate change. Its voice will be critical to the ongoing conversation that is occurring in advance of the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris at the end of this year. As the U.N. Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, I am working to build support for the climate talks. Part of that work involves helping national leaders recognize how much progress can be made if they empower their cities to take action -- an idea that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is strongly committed to.
  3. Solar Power. During President Obama's visit to India last month, Prime Minister Modi re-iterated his commitment to expanding India's clean energy production, and he has set a highly ambitious goal: boosting the share of solar power in India's energy mix from less than 1 percent to more than 10 percent by 2022. The goal is driven by another goal: providing electricity to the hundreds of millions of Indians who currently don't have it. In fact, Prime Minister Modi aims to distribute solar panels to every "off the grid" household. It's a monumental task, but if successful, it will serve as a powerful model for other countries around the world. At the same time, India is developing solar power plants that will provide power that is cheaper than imported coal.

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