US-China pact raises stakes for India as climate talks begin

A promise by the world’s third largest polluter behind the US and China to limit emissions would send a message that every country needs to contribute in the fight against climate change.

NEW DELHI // A breakthrough deal between the US and China to rein in fossil fuel emissions has put the spotlight squarely on India and other major economies as the world’s governments gather in Peru to find a plan to tackle climate change.

Carbon dioxide emissions will jump 34 per cent in India by 2020 and double by 2030 under its existing policies, according to the International Energy Agency.

A promise by the world’s third largest polluter behind the US and China to limit emissions would send a message that every country needs to contribute in the fight against climate change.

Having India on board is politically essential, both to advance a UN push toward a global agreement, and for Barack Obama to gain support for his deal with China.

The US senate rejected the 1997 climate deal signed in Kyoto, Japan, because its limits only applied to rich nations.

“No one expects India to make the same kind of pledge that China did – an absolute peak – but they want to see some fairly ambitious effort,” said Alden Meyer, from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The move by the US and China marked a diplomatic step forward in the UN talks on global warming.Previously, China together with India, Brazil and South Africa argued that rich countries created the problem and should pay to fix it, and that poorer ones need room for their economies and pollution levels to grow. China’s decision for the first time put a major developing country on the side of the US, Europe and Japan in signalling caps on pollution.

India is “really trying to internalize what this sort of tectonic shift would mean,” said Peter Ogden, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and former a climate adviser in Mr Obama’s White House. The talks that begin this week in Lima are aimed at putting in place the foundation for a deal the UN is pushing for in December 2015 in Paris that would limit fossil fuel emissions in all nations, rich and poor alike. That means more countries including India need to step forward with commitments.

* Bloomberg

Published: December 1, 2014 04:00 AM

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