India to announce carbon emission cuts on October 2

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Sep 26, 2015 17:18 IST
India is likely to announce its carbon gas emissions cut targets — Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)— on October 2. ((Dijeshwar Singh/HT Photo))

India is likely to announce its carbon gas emissions cut targets — Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)— on October 2, Gandhi Jayanti, a day after the deadline.

Every country is expected to announce its emission gas targets before the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties in Paris in December.

Most countries missed the first deadline, March. But they are now expected to submit their targets before October 1, the next deadline. India is likely to miss it too, but only by a day.

“October 2 is the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi,” said foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup, “who himself was a passionate believer in sustainable development.

“So that itself might be a very good opportunity for us to declare out INDCs,” he added, ending speculation about the timing of the announcement, but not the fact of it.

Faced with the October 1 deadline, just five days away, there was speculation about when India would announce its emission cuts targets, not how much, or if at all.

There was speculation that the announcement may come on September 28, at, before or after Prime Minister Modi’s meeting with President Obama on his return from Silicon Valley.

White House said Thursday climate change would figure at the meeting, as, among other things, the president had made the issue “front and center” of his diplomacy in recent months.

There was speculation if India would be under pressure to announce it emission targets, just as China did in a reciprocal deal during President Obama’s visit in 2014.

The US announced it would cut its greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28% by 2025, and China said it would cap its greenhouse gases by 2030. They are the world’s two worst emitters.

But India, the third worst, was uncomfortable announcing anything around the meeting with Obama — “no matter how you frame it, it would look like it was done under US pressure”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s UN speech on Friday, in which he framed the Climate Change debate as one of Climate Justice, triggered another round of speculation about India’s plans.

“Climate Justice” is a catch-all phrase intended to frame in two words India’s standard position that developed countries must bear larger responsibility for environmental degradation.

And, therefore, must do more than developing countries to address the issue. India also wants to turn away the focus of climate change away from restrictive, negative no-nos.

In his speech, the prime minister argued instead for using technology, innovation and finance to make clean and renewable energy easily available to all.

Observers wondered if that was a negotiating position ahead of the Paris convention. Indian officials refused to confirm or deny, indicating it may be so, to get a better deal.

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