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Thank you Sripriya, who has been a fantastic partner.  India is very lucky to have her as leader here.  Although she has to worry about every aspect of the U.S.-India relationship, I know she really thinks this is the most important.  So, thank you, Sripriya, for being with us.

I have spent much of my career working in and around India.  I first rode down Shanthipath to the embassy in 1992, which was a very, very different India [inaudible].

So, I’m really pleased to be here today, especially because of the investment that in ENR has made in working with CSS on this absolutely critical area of some sub national energy and climate engagement.

I was away from the relationship for 10 years serving as US Ambassador to Ukraine and then in Greece.  And when I went back to India in February to Mumbai and Pune, and I intentionally started away from Delhi, which shows that I learned something during my time.

I was really struck by all the changes that have occurred, the remarkable growth and the development which is accelerating along with the extraordinary infrastructure investments.

And I was really pleased to be part of the team in support of the Prime Minister Modi’s very successful visit here.  I know that for Sripriya and the Embassy team, this was huge.  It was a fantastic opportunity to lift up the strategic relationship.

I think the warmth and the breadth with which your Prime Minister was received is a reflection of the big investment, the big bet that the US government has made on our relationship with India.

As Secretary of State Blinken, my boss, said in the course of that visit, the US partnership with India is closer and broader and more dynamic than it ever has been, and I am extremely proud to have been part of the team that got us where we are today.

President Biden has made clear the importance that he personally places are two great countries and the potential for our two countries to really define the course of the 21st century.

But I want to talk for a second about the issues that I’m responsible for concerning the Energy and Climate space.  And Joseph, I’m so glad you’re back to India.  I hope you go back soon.  At one point and I hope you will help us to lift up and I know that Andrew Light, our counterpart at the Department of Energy has exactly the same view.

We have no more important relationship in the entire world on issues of energy and climate than with India, both, because of the critical importance of what you and I talked about, which is your energy pathways.  That is India’s choices in terms of how to power your economy going into the future is going to play the deciding role in whether or not we meet our 1.5-degree Celsius target, whether or not we are successful in meeting the challenge of the climate crisis.

We can decarbonize the US economy, the European economy, and the Chinese and the Japanese economy.  And if India is not successful, we will not solve the climate crisis.  So, this is the indispensable relationship.  But equally important, because of the size of your economy, because of the growth of your middle class, the growth in energy demand that is taking place, you are now the key driver of global energy markets.

And you can see that for instance, in the aftermath of Russia’s weaponization of its gas resources and the incredible disruption of global crude oil markets that Russia has created and the role that India has played in absorbing much of that Russian crude and then helping to stabilize global markets.

So, we have a lot to do together at the national level.  But equally important as Joseph said is what happens at the sub national level.

I traveled all over India.  I’m looking at the delegations here.  I think I visited every state represented here except for a Sikkim, which is still on my list.  But I have an appreciation of how diverse and the importance of the federal relationship in India as it is in the United States.

Our Supreme Court justices called the states the laboratories of democracy.  And I see that all the time.  When I talk to our national politicians, for instance, the Chairman of our Senate Foreign Relations Committee, our good friend, Senator Menendez, he makes the point all the time the most challenging job he had was actually being a mayor in New Jersey.

It’s local politics that are representative of the fusion point where the rubber meets the road for implementing policy and delivering results.

I’m from California, a state here in the US.  It is a state that sets the bar for many of our climate ambitions policies nationally because it is so large because the choices that Californians make, with their very ambitious vision for energy transition, creates a marketplace.  But California is also a Pacific basin state.  So, it a has a very strong economic and social connection to the Indo Pacific, which is the region which will see the largest growth in demand for energy in the years ahead.

So, we have to we have to find ways and California encapsulates that.  We have to find ways to meet energy demand in a way that delivers what citizens care about, which is the time when they switch, to do so in the least damaging way possible, and leveraging all the fantastic opportunities that we have ahead of us in terms of clean hydrogen, income from carbon sequestration.  wind, solar, geothermal, small modular reactors.

I was so excited, for the different story.  I heard, just yesterday.  in parliament where your Minister of Energy indicated a strong interest in the government and opened up the civil nuclear sector.  to private companies like Tata Power and reliance to develop SMRs as part of the ESM to commence and I will say here in the United States, where power is 20% percent of our energy mix, we cannot expect continuing to grow at sector and SMRs is going to be a key part of that story as well.  So how we work together on technology is a key aspect of our bilateral Strategic Energy relationship.

But it also goes to the sub national aspects of this because so much of the energy technology story in India is not coming from Delhi.  It’s coming from Mumbai, including Chennai and Ahmedabad.

Just as in the United States, it’s happening in the Bay Area.  It’s happening in Chicago.  It’s happening in Houston in terms of the clean energy technology transition.   I feel, in the State Department, the Bureau of Energy Resources has tried to facilitate these kinds of sub national engagements.  We do that with, for instance, the Smart Cities and Digitization Program, which is a program under which our Power Sector program is working with the cities of Kuala Lumpur in Bangkok on grid modeling to help policymakers develop a roadmap to manage energy transmission variability that is inherent to renewable power.

The Power Sector Program is also working on a Just Energy Workforce Transition project.  It’s going to help sub national governments in Indonesia to develop jobs and job collection methodology to inform policy decisions.

And then another example is a State Department and CSIS partnership on the US and India State and Urban initiative which continues to facilitate collaboration between the US and Indian states.  This is the first place in the world that we have done this.  And I’m really delighted that it has been so successful and to be part of this conversation.

I see we have a number of other senior officials here from Maharashtra.  When I was in Mumbai in March, I had the opportunity to talk with the Maharashtra state government about the specific results of the work that we have done, that ENR has helped to facilitate assessing the opportunities that Maharashtra has for faster deployment of renewable power and the technical requirements that will bring as well.

We’ve done the same with Gujarat, with Karnataka, with Rajasthan, to develop technical studies that assist states to identify these kinds of pathways to incorporate flexible resources without needing additional thermal power investments.

So, this is about driving forward the pace and the ambition of our energy transition plans, just as we’re doing in the United States.

Let me finish with a couple of points that I really look forward to hearing from Sripriya and everybody else about.

First of all, just to underline how important sub national diplomacy is to the State Department a d to my boss Secretary of State Blinken.  Secretary Blinken actually appointed our first Ambassador-at-large for sub-national diplomacy.  Ambassador Nina Hachigian, former deputy mayor of Los Angeles,  – so another Californian – and somebody who’s passionate about energy and climate issues and has been a great partner for me.

Ambassador Hachigian’s job is to help drive that sub-national engagement and to create additional opportunities through American localities and municipalities and states to work with counterparts around the world.

We do this everywhere.  It comes most naturally in the US-India context, because the challenges that you all face in Maharashtra, or Gujarat, or Kerala, are very much analogous to the challenges that state officials are working through Texas or California.

Let me underline in that context as well, our commitment to continuing to build these partnerships and really hear from you.  Where are the areas where we the State Department and we the US government can be the most helpful in informing your own choices on your energy pathways.

Because to finish where I started out, the choices that India makes matter.  They matter more than almost anything else that we’re working on.  In terms of energy transition, we strongly support Prime Minister Modi’s ambitious 500 gigawatts of coal. But that is going to require an accelerated pace.  People are accelerating of the pace of investment in renewables, requiring the mobilization of capital and it will require continued innovation, which I’m confident is going to be another very fruitful collaboration between researchers and institutions.  So, thank you, Joseph.  Thank you Neelima.  I look forward to hearing from everybody.

U.S. Department of State

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