Proposal soon for India emissions to peak in 2030-50

  • Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 13, 2014 00:34 IST

A proposal to fix India’s peak year for carbon emissions between 2030 and 2050 is likely to be discussed during talks to broker a climate deal set to be announced during President Barack Obama’s Republic Day visit. Carbon emissions of a country grow till the ‘peaking year’, when levels are highest, and decrease thereafter.

India is currently the world’s fourth-biggest polluter with China leading the pack, followed by the US and the European Union. India is under pressure from the global community to announce a peaking year after its ally in climate talks China declared last month that its emissions will top off in 2030.

New Delhi, however, wants to grow to Beijing’s levels before capping off its carbon emissions, not possible before 2035. India’s decision will also depend on what Washington offers on climate finance – used to compensate developing nations for cutting emissions – and other issues. Preliminary findings of a recent environment ministry study indicated India’s per-capita carbon emissions in 2050 would be about 13 tonnes ---- the same as that of China in its peaking year, 2030. This would mean a seven-fold increase in the country’s per-capita emissions compared to 2012 when emissions per person touched 1.9 tonnes, four times less than China’s 7.2 tonnes the same year.

“We should be allowed to grow to China’s levels in per-capita terms for arriving at the peaking year,” said Kirit Parekh, former Planning Commission member in-charge of energy, who is studying the different scenarios to calculate the peaking year. One scenario sets the economic growth at 4-5% and pegs the peaking year at 2050, while another assumes a GDP growth of 7-8%, saying India will reach China’s emission levels between 2035 and 2040. “One thing is clear. India won’t agree to China’s peaking year of 2030,” a senior official said. Sources said that Obama and PM Narendra Modi would also discuss another proposal of having a range of years for the emission peak instead of a one cutoff date.

A US diplomat told HT the Indo-US climate deal is important for Obama, who wants to end his presidency on a high note as a global “deal maker”. The President had missed his goal during the 2009 climate talks when trust deficit between the rich and the developing world caused the collapse of the Copenhagen Accord. Indian officials, however, say they want Washington to increase its ambition on climate finance so that the Green Climate Fund has an annual collection of $ 100 billion or more by 2020.

In 2014, the GCF has received $9.7 billion from rich nations, lesser than the commitment of $10 billion a year from 2012 onwards. “Providing money to the developing world for meeting challenges of climate change is key for an Indo-US climate deal. We will champion the cause of the developing world, not just India,” an official said, adding that Modi would like to showcase the deal as India emerging as a leader of the developing world.

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