US and India to Announce Joint Climate Change Action During Obama Visit

Dec 16th, 2014 | By | Category: Government Policies, India

b7a8b59a-9b6b-45c1-8ddf-9a30234652bf-460x276America and India will unveil joint efforts to fight climate change when Barack Obama visits New Delhi next month, as the US tries to keep up the momentum of international negotiations.

Obama’s visit – on the back of the United Nations talks in Lima – is seen as a key moment to persuade one of the world’s biggest carbon polluters to step up its efforts to fight climate change.

After China and the US, India is the world’s third largest producer of the greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change – although it is responsible for only about 6% of such emissions globally.

During the visit, Obama and the prime minister, Narendra Modi, are expected to unveil a number of modest initiatives to expand research and access to clean energy technologies.

The announcement in the works for Obama’s visit to Delhi will be modest in scale – nowhere near last month’s milestone agreement between the US and China to cut their carbon pollution.

“I am expecting a useful meeting but we don’t have anything in the works of the kind that we were involved with in China,” Todd Stern, the State Department climate change envoy, said.

But the visit still represents a key moment as major economies begin to deliver on the promises made in Lima to fight climate change.

Under the deal, all countries are expected to announce by 31 March emissions reductions targets and other actions to fight climate change.

With China already agreeing to cut its carbon pollution, and South Korea and Latin American countries paying into a climate fund for poor countries, the new all-inclusive nature of the Lima deal has put India under a spotlight.
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“Are we expecting from India too much and leaving the polluters without any accountability?” the environment, forest and climate change minister, Prakash Javadekar, said. “This is a big thing that developing countries are doing.”

India is already understood to be working on its targets for the United Nations, but it will not put forward those numbers until June, Javadekar said.

However, he added that India would make ambitious efforts. “We are doing very aggressive actions on our own. So we would like to put them on record and on public domain,” he said.

Indian newspapers reported earlier this month that Modi was working to announce an “aspirational” year for peaking emissions ahead of Obama’s visit.

Javadekar pushed back on that idea – and on the entire notion that India should be required to peak its emissions at all, arguing that its emissions still represented only a fraction of China’s.

But he said that India was stepping up its efforts to deal with climate change, and was increasing its targets for expanding solar power and energy efficiency. “In the next two years, there will be major changes,” he said.

He said Modi would press Obama to set up a global clean energy research consortium or make funds available for licences for clean energy technologies, perhaps from international climate finance.

“They can compensate from Green Climate Fund to their companies,” Javadekar said. “Why should companies profit from disaster?”

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