Limping to Paris
Modi Insists on India’s Need to Grow

Speaking at the UN General Assembly in New York this week, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi insisted on his country’s “uncompromising commitment on climate change.” But this statement was not the encouraging sign negotiators prepping for December’s Paris climate summit might have hoped for from the leader of one of the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, as Modi also reiterated India’s position that any potential climate deal ought to be implemented “without affecting our ability to meet the development aspirations of humanity.” The Wall Street Journal reports:

In a series of one-on-one meetings in New York with the leaders of the U.S., France and Britain on Monday, Mr. Modi resisted efforts to pressure India to cap its carbon emissions, India’s Foreign Ministry said. […]

Mr. Modi’s position Monday suggests India will continue to lead the charge of developing nations that say more prosperous countries, that have burned large amounts of fossil fuels for years, must make large emissions cuts and help poor nations with funding and technical know-how to transition to a more environmentally-friendly growth model.

India has long insisted on its right to grow, telling the world at this time last year that its carbon emissions would rise over the next thirty years even as other nations began preparing plans for reducing emissions. “We need to grow. Our emissions will grow…Our growth cannot be compromised. Poverty must be eliminated immediately”, said Indian environment and forest minister Prakash Javadekar said last summer. Modi seems to be echoing that sentiment heading into Paris.

Moreover, just two months away from the conference, India remains one of 114 countries that has yet to submit its national plan, what the UN calls the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC). Of those countries who have yet to turn in their INDC (which had a soft deadline way back at the end of March), India is by far the largest emitter, and as such looks to be one of the biggest hurdles delegates will have to overcome in Paris. Greens hoping for any kind of robust Global Climate Treaty should take note.

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