Heading into the December global climate talks in Paris, India’s leaders continue to assert they will not announce when their greenhouse gas emissions will peak.
One leading Indian politician, however, former Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh, recently said that the country could plateau emissions starting in 2025 or 2030. Ramesh, a former self-described “economic hawk,” called this goal “doable and necessary for India.”
For many years, India had been teaming up with China in international climate negotiations to argue that the rapidly developing countries did not need to take major early action to constrain emissions since the rich countries were responsible for the vast majority of cumulative emissions. This argument has become progressively weaker as the reality of human-caused climate change made the dangers of inaction more and more obvious — and as the price of renewable power just kept dropping.
The big game changer, though, was the U.S.-China climate deal announced last November. The United States committed to a 26 to 28 percent reduction in carbon pollution by 2025 compared to 1990 levels — and China for the first time committed to peak in carbon pollution by 2030, if not sooner.
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