After U.S.-China Climate Deal, India Feels the Heat on Growing Emissions

After U.S.-China Climate Deal, India Feels the Heat on Growing Emissions
Smoke rises from burning garbage as an Indian woman looks for recyclable material at a dumping site on the outskirts of Gauhati, India, Nov. 14, 2014 (AP photo by Anupam Nath).

The United States and China surprised other G-20 members when they announced a new agreement last week on curbing greenhouse gas emissions just a few days prior to the group’s summit in Australia. But the G-20 member who perhaps noted this development more than others is India, currently the world’s fourth-largest greenhouse gas emitter.

India was taken off guard by what amounts to China’s first step back from its previous ironclad refusal to make any binding commitments on limiting overall emissions. New Delhi is now preparing to fend off greater pressure directed its way to make similar pledges in the run-up to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. India is likely to emphasize how it differs from the U.S. and China in terms of its developmental status, while holding out the carrot of investment opportunities to global companies in the clean technology sector as New Delhi looks to embark on a new phase of industrial growth.

India has sought to downplay the current excitement surrounding the secretly negotiated U.S.-China agreement by officially stating that it was a “good beginning,” but not ambitious enough. India points out that the agreement, in which the U.S. pledged to reduce emissions by 25 percent or more by 2025 from 2005 levels and China committed to “peak” emissions by 2030 or earlier, will not do nearly enough to avoid the dreaded 2 degree Celsius rise in global temperatures, which scientists warn is the point of no return for a future of dangerous and irreversible warming. Avoiding that internationally accepted climate goal requires much bigger commitments from the world’s two largest polluters.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.