As Trump Threatens to Withdraw from Climate Pact, What Step Will India Take

It was not long back when environmental activists from around the world looked at India with concern.

India, one of the world’s fastest growing economy and one of the largest carbon emitters, was constructing coal-fired power plants at a fast pace. The leaders, however, argued that carbon-spewing fossil was necessary evil for India’s development.

But since Modi’s administration came into power, they have suspended major coal power projects and also announced their plans to increase its renewable energy capacity by 3 folds by the year 2022.

India is dropping its image as an unproductive country in the fight against climatic changes. However, President Donald Trump has promised to allocate more funds for the United States’ coal industry and also threatened to exit from the 2015 Paris agreement. The agreement required signatories including developing countries such as India to take necessary steps to cut down the emission of greenhouse gases, which was leading to rise in global temperatures.

Anjali Jaiswal, the head of the India initiative at the National Resources Defense Council said, “Trump is investing in our grandfather’s technology while India is looking ahead to the future. It’s a starkly different approach.”

If Donald Trump does go back on the Paris accord, it could create an undesirable impact in India.

It is estimated that India’s emissions would triple between the year 2005 and 2030; however, the increase in emission would be greater if India did not keep up its pledges, said an official.

While the Indian officials have not yet publicly commented on Donald’s campaign promise to withdraw from the Paris accord, many experts cite there is some frustration that the United States is undermining the agreement, which developing countries firmly believe was largely written to satisfy and safeguard the Western interests.

Some experts think India is far from reaching its target.

India, just like many other developing nations, is relying on the richer nations to finance its investments in renewable energy. However, the Trump administration has threatened to withdraw its $2 billion, a pledge that was made by the Obama administration to the Green Climate Fund, whose sole purposes is to help poor nations deal with climatic changes.

Rattani said, “If the U.S. cuts its pledges, or does not contribute to international funding, that may have an impact on the implementation of the climate plans of developing countries.”

The demand for coal supply is likely to soar again as the Modi govt. moves forward with its plans to set-up industries in rural areas, urging urban middle-class people to buy more air-conditioners and electricity-intensive appliances.

An Ex-Indian climate negotiator, Prodipto Ghosh said, “Even by mid-century it is projected that the major share of power generation will be from coal-based sources.”

However, Ghosh cited that India wouldn’t follow suit if the United States withdrew the Paris accord.

He further explained, “India would seek to retain its reputation for adhering scrupulously to international agreements it has acceded to.”

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