India must set emission target: US

India must set emission target: US

India must set emission target: US

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged India to set an ambitious target to cut carbon emissions, amid indications that cooperation to deal with climate change will be high on the agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s forthcoming meeting with US President Barack Obama in New Delhi.

As the US-China carbon deal, struck last November, resulted in growing international pressure on India to spell out its emission cut targets, Washington is understood to be prodding New Delhi to announce a new ambitious commitment when Obama comes to attend the Republic Day ceremony on January 26 and meet Modi.

“India should come out with an ambitious target to cut carbon emissions,” said Ban while addressing the “Vibrant Gujarat Global Investor Summit” in Gandhinagar on Sunday. 

He added that India was in a unique position to lead sustainability, energy efficiency and the global efforts to deal with climate change.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who also addressed the inaugural session of the conclave, stressed on Indo-US cooperation to deal with climate-change challenges. Kerry’s remark assumes significance, coming as it does just a couple of weeks before Obama's visit.

Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping had announced a breakthrough in bilateral climate-change negotiations in Beijing on November 15 last year.

Obama announced a new target to cut the US' net greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2025.

Xi too announced that China’s carbon dioxide emissions would peak around 2030, though the intention is to peak even earlier. Beijing also vowed to increase the non-fossil-fuel share of all energy to around 20 per cent by 2030.

The deal between the two largest emitters put pressure on New Delhi to make firm commitments on emission cuts over the next 15-20 years.

The issue figured prominently when Kerry called on Modi shortly after the “Vibrant Gujarat” conclave's inaugural session.

Kerry is understood to have conveyed to Modi that the US is keen to do more with India, both bilaterally and multilaterally, to deal with the challenges of climate change and global warming.

Kerry earlier told the conclave that climate change had already started affecting economies, by interfering with crop production and raising the cost of doing business.

“Global climate change is already violently affecting communities, not just across India but around the world. It is disrupting commerce, development and economic growth. It is costing farmers their crops.

It is costing insurance companies unbelievable payouts. It’s raising the cost of doing business, and believe me, if it continues down the current trend-line, we will see climate refugees fighting each other for water and seeking food and new opportunity,” he said.

“We can do more together, and we must do more together, and we have to do it faster.”

New Delhi and Washington are understood to be discussing a solar energy deal that is being considered as one of the deliverables of the Obama-Modi meeting on January 25.