India should stick to Paris climate deal even if US pulls out: Experts
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India should stick to Paris climate deal even if US pulls out: Experts

US President Donald Trump is expected to pull out of the Paris climate deal signed by 195 countries to cut carbon emissions to fight global warming.

india Updated: Jun 15, 2017 12:53 IST
Malavika Vyawahare
Malavika Vyawahare
Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Climate experts and environmentalists are of the opinion that India should stick to the Paris climate deal even if US President Donald Trump pulls out of the accord signed by 195 countries to fight global warming.

Trump is expected to announce his decision by Friday morning (India time) on the 2015 accord under which all countries, barring Syria and Nicaragua, agreed to cut carbon emissions to fight climate change.

“It is not a good thing or bad thing,” Ravi Shankar Prasad, joint secretary with the climate change division of the environment ministry, said on Thursday about the possibility of a US pullout.

Both China and India have said they will honour their commitments regardless of the US position. But a pullout could see countries revisit their emission targets, which are fairly ambitious.

“Nobody can say climate change is not a concern,” Prasad said but added, “countries like India would not do anything that is not equitable. The way that the agreement is structured, the developed countries have to take the lead.”’

Experts say India should stay on course to benefit from rapidly transforming global energy economy, where there is a distinct shift from fossil fuels to renewable sources such as wind and sun.

“India must use this as an opportunity to stress its climate leadership credentials on the world stage,” Ashish Fernandes, senior campaigner at Greenpeace India, said.

While a US withdrawal could ease pressure on India to meet its own emission target but it could also see the US reduce or junk its financial commitment to the Green Climate Fund.

The fund was set up with contributions from developed countries to help developing countries such as India to cope with climate change.

Of the $3 billion promised, the US, which is the second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, is still to pay $2 billion.

Greenhouse gases trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere and warm the planet. China is the largest emitter while India is ranked third.

Trump, who has called climate change a hoax, in the run-up to the presidential election spoke against the Paris accord.

He promised to “cancel” the deal, saying it was bad for US business. The US had committed to cut emissions by 26 to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025.

Ranjeet Mehta, director at PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Delhi, made a business case for staying with Paris agreement.

“The renewable energy market is estimated to be worth $6 trillion by 2030,” he said.

India has set an ambitious target of meeting 40% of its energy needs using renewable sources by 2022 and increase renewable capacity to 175 gigawatts (GW), with 100 GW coming from solar power.

India is feeling the effects of climate change with rising temperature, water shortage and agricultural stress, Arunabha Ghosh, founder-CEO of the Council on Energy, Environment and Water, an NGO, said.

“A US withdrawal will most certainly affect the mood inside and outside the negotiation chambers… But India will persist,” Ghosh said.

Despite the positive spin, a US retreat will be a big blow for the planet. Whether he pulls out of the Paris agreement or forces a revision of US targets, Trump spells bad news for the global movement to tackle climate change.

First Published: Jun 01, 2017 14:40 IST