India’s resistance to accept a peak year for emissions was a prime reason why US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi failed to strike a climate deal along the lines of a US-China agreement on emission cuts.
The US wanted India to make specific commitments including a peak year for a new climate treaty to be signed at Paris later this year. But India refused as it feared it would have resulted in the world putting India in the same bracket as China on carbon emissions.
China is the world’s biggest carbon emitter while India is fourth with per capita emissions one-third those of China’s.
“Having a peaking year was not acceptable to us,” said an environment ministry official.
The officials also said the US was not willing to enhance its commitment to climate finance and reiterated that it had already offered to give $1 billion to the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) for climate finance. India has also been seeking a US commitment to provide adequate funds for adapting to climate change for developing and least developed countries.
Sources said India was also not willing to make any bilateral commitment until India submitted its intended domestically determined contribution (INDCs) to fight climate change to the United Nations by June this year.
India is likely to make its plan of generating 1,00,000 MW of solar power and 55,000 MW of wind power as part of its INDCs, apart from saving upto 20,000 MW of power from introducing energy efficient systems. “We also want to see what other countries will commit in their INDCs,” an official explained.
US Secretary for State John Kerry earlier this month had emphasised that a climate deal with India would be a top priority during Obama’s visit. But the two countries failed to hammer out a deal except for a US commitment to invest in India’s plan to generate 1,00,000 MW of solar power by 2019.
But it is not the end of the road for a Indo-US deal on climate change. The two countries will hold further negotiations on climate change in a working group in the next few months. A source said many issues are on the table and will be discussed in coming months.