India Stops Short Of Promising To Cut Fossil Fuel Emissions

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India is the third biggest polluter after the U.S. and China, and it’s ready to make some investments in changing that, although it won’t make any promises just yet. Both China and the U.S. have promised to cut their fossil fuel emissions, but Indian lawmakers won’t bow to pressure from the United Nations.

India targeted for fossil fuel emissions

Bloomberg Businessweek reports that China became the first big developing country to make a deal with U.S. President Barack Obama last month when he went to China. Obama is scheduled to visit India next month.

The United Nations is holdings a climate meeting in Lima this week, and delegates want to see signs that Indian officials will make a pact similar to the one Chinese officials made with the U.S. president. If India steps into the pact as well, UN delegates hope other developing countries will take steps in the same direction as well

Indian Environment Minister Prakesh Javadekar made his first public comments on Tuesday in Lima. He explained their plan to spend at least $100 billion on sustainable energy like solar or wind. However, he neglected to say when they will spend that money or how they will fund their planned clean energy projects.

Limiting global pollution

The UN conference is aimed at setting some guidelines for countries to sign an agreement in Paris next year. The agreement would place limits on worldwide pollution for the purpose of halting or at least slowing down global warning. Proponents of the agreement say India’s fossil fuel emissions will likely double by 2020, which is why it’s so important for India to be part of the broader push to cut back on emissions.

Javadekar said they already have “$3 million in the kitty” to help them cut back on emissions and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will back more funds on the project. His remarks and a policy document that’s 22 pages long suggest India does plan to move away from using coal, which currently produces approximately 60% of India’s electricity.

India hesitates

Poverty is widespread in India, with approximately 30% of the nation’s residents getting by on no more than 75 cents per day. As a result, Indian lawmakers have been hesitant to sign up for the types of agreements Europe has already enacted as part of past climate deals.

Just last week, Javadekar said his nation’s pollution levels must keep increasing because the nation itself needs to grow. He said the burden on cutting emissions should be on the wealthier industrial nations that bear the most responsibility for global warming so that poorer countries can have “space for more development.”

The document India released in Lima listed at least $62 billion in planned projects related to cutting emissions. Included in the list is $1.4 billion for solar power, $5.75 billion in projects related to the water supply and $17 billion in projects for sustainable agriculture. The document also highlighted requirements for budgets in state climate-related programs adding up to $188.7 billion, although details on those projects were not provided.

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