President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Sunday that the two countries will work together to fight global climate change, laying out a set of goals that the two countries hope “will expand policy dialogues and technical work on clean energy and low greenhouse gas emissions technologies.”
While not a concrete emissions reductions agreement like the one Obama reached with China this past November, the deal includes efforts to cooperate on reducing emissions of fluorinated gases, boost India’s promotion of clean energy investment, and partner to reduce the debilitating air pollution that has plagued many of India’s cities.
US President Barack Obama’s “historic” climate deal with China last November raised expectations that his visit to India would produce something similar. Back in November the world’s largest carbon emitter, China, announced for the first time that its emissions would peak by 2030. USA, the second biggest polluter, said it would cut carbon emissions by 26%-28% by 2025 compared with 2005 levels.
“The world does not expect India to make a similar announcement (like the US-China one),” Indian Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar told the BBC during the UN climate meeting in Peru last December.
“And yet, just one major plan to install 100,000 MW (megaWatts) of solar power will mean we will be delivering more than others in the global fight against climate change.”
India’s new government led by Narendra Modi had announced that the country would generate as much as 100 Gigawatts (GW) of solar power by 2022.
During the UN climate talks in Lima, countries agreed a March 2015 deadline to publicly state what actions they intend to take to keep any global temperature increase below the 2ºC which scientists say is a must to avoid dangerous climate change.
The United States is pushing for a Paris deal that would for the first time see all major climate-polluting nations take equal legal responsibility for tackling climate change, while recognizing that wealthier and longer-polluting countries like the United States will have to take heavier cuts. India, meanwhile, has argued that the United States and other wealthy countries have essentially reneged on two decades of promises to cut emissions and deliver funding and has blasted wealthy nations for demanding that still-developing countries take on new responsibilities.