India’s environment minister Jairam Ramesh admitted his country has now overtaken Russia as the world’s third highest emitter of carbon dioxide. He also warned against continuing down a path of economic growth without regard for climate implications.
“We will unilaterally, voluntarily, move on a low-carbon growth path,” Ramesh told fellow delegates gathered in the Chinese city of Tianjin for U.N. climate talks. “We cannot have 8-9% GDP growth and high-carbon growth. It has to be low-carbon 8%, 9% and that is the objective we’ve set for ourselves.”
Despite the fact that the gap between the United States as the world’s #2 emitter (at 22%) and India as the new #3 (at 5%) is quite large, Ramesh said “we need to be conscious of our contribution.”
India’s newly announced climate plan will focus on renewable energy technologies like solar, yet the majority of its power comes from coal-fired power plants. Nearly half of India’s 1.1 billion people do not have access to electricity.
Ramesh’s comments come at a time when the U.N. climate talks to craft a successor to the soon-to-expire Kyoto Protocol are especially fragile, with the divide between rich and poor nations growing over contentious issues such as transparency, emissions reduction pledges, and lack of trust. Read more..