India will ratify the Paris climate-change deal on October 2, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday, a surprise announcement that will accelerate efforts to control global warming.
The pact that is expected to kick in by year-end requires countries to come up with plans to limit greenhouse gas emission to keep global temperature rise to below 2°Celsius.
He chose Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary as the freedom icon’s life was an example of minimum carbon footprint, the PM said at the BJP national meet in the coastal town of Kozhikode.
India, which accounts for around 4.5% of global greenhouse emissions, held up the final steps of ratification to induce the US to put pressure on China to let New Delhi into the nuclear suppliers’ group, the elite club of countries that control trade in nuclear technologies.
At the recent G20 summit, US President Barack the Obama did urge his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to let India in and after that New Delhi concluded it had extracted what it could on that front, sources said.
China and the US, the world’s biggest carbon emitters, ratified the accord ahead of the summit.
Dithering on joining Paris would give China and others, who have already ratified the deal, first-mover advantage in setting the rules and parameters for the provision of technology finance and standards for future climate-change policy, sources said.
India would not be able to complete the domestic procedures to ratify the deal by the end of 2016, Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya had said on the sidelines of the G20 meet.
The cabinet has to approve the ratification of the climate deal following which New Delhi will send the documents (instrument of ratification) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to complete the process.
India took a tough stand on emissions and funding when the deal was hammered out in Paris in December. The agreement requires all countries to put forward their best efforts through “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs) and to strengthen these efforts in the years ahead.
India submitted its action plan on October 2, 2015, committing to reduce growth of its carbon emissions by 33-35% of the economy by 2030.
To cut down emissions, India has pledged to increase its clean energy share -- solar and wind -- by 40% by 2022.
For the deal to come into force, at least 55 countries – responsible for 55% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions - have to ratify it.
The US welcomed India’s decision. “We welcome the news India will join the #ParisAgreement October 2,” US ambassador to India Richard Verma said.
“Congrats Prime Minister @narendramodi for your leadership to #ActOnClimate,” Verma tweeted.
(With HTC, agency inputs)