India finally submitted its emissions reduction pledge to the UN a solid six months past the initial deadline. The UN has been collecting these pledges—called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)—in the run-up to December’s climate summit in Paris, hoping that a clearer view of national commitments will pave the way for negotiators to produce an international accord.
But if that’s the goal, then India’s submission leaves plenty to be desired, as it doesn’t actually promise to reduce emissions. Instead, New Delhi committed itself to boosting renewable energy production, and only promised to slow its rate of emissions growth rather than actually pulling it down. This is in line with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly earlier this week, where he insisted that any Global Climate Treaty needed to work “without affecting our ability to meet the development aspirations of humanity.”
India’s environment minister Prakash Javadekar reminded the world exactly where his countries priorities are earlier this week. “We want to clean our air, our water, our energy, our environment,” he said, but noted that “[p]overty reduction is our top priority. Providing power in the next 2,000 days is our priority. We want faster development. My people have a right to grow.”