Tue, Oct 04, 2016 - Page 5 News List

India ratifies Paris climate-change pact

AUSPICIOUS DATE:The Indian PM announced last month that Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday had been chosen because he lived his life with a low-carbon footprint

AFP, NEW DELHI

India, the world’s third-biggest carbon emitter, ratified the Paris agreement on climate change on Sunday on the birthday of the nation’s famously ascetic independence leader Mahatma Gandhi.

India, with a population of 1.3 billion people, is the latest big polluter to formally sign the historic accord which now takes a major step toward becoming reality.

Indian Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Anil Madhav Dave said: “India deposited its instrument of ratification of the Paris agreement on climate change” at the UN in New York.

“Great push to global actions to address climate change,” he added on Twitter.

The accord, sealed in December last year, needs ratification from 55 nations that account for at least 55 percent of the planet’s greenhouse-gas emissions responsible for climate change.

With India’s move, a total of 62 nations accounting for almost 52 percent of emissions have now ratified the agreement to commit to take action to stem the planet’s rising temperatures.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced last month that Oct. 2, a national holiday, had been chosen as the ratification date because freedom fighter Gandhi had lived his life with a low-carbon footprint.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and others have voiced confidence the accord will come into force by the end of the year, after a string of nations joined up, including the US and China, the two largest emitters.

“India’s leadership builds on the continued strong political momentum from Paris for urgent global action on climate change,” Ban said in a statement. “Action on climate change is crucial for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and creating a more prosperous, equitable and livable future for all people.”

The accord requires all nations to devise plans to achieve the goal of keeping the rise of temperatures within 2?C above preindustrial levels.

Environmentalists welcomed Sunday’s move, but urged India to work to phase out coal, which it relies on for electricity.

“India is one the very few large economies that has not made any promises of phasing out of coal,” said Joydeep Gupta, director of “the third pole” Web site. “This government is good on renewable energy, but not good on environmental issues. There is a lot of pushing back on air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution.”

India, the world’s fastest-growing major economy, has long insisted that it needs to keep burning cheap and plentiful coal to cut crippling blackouts and bring electricity to millions of poor living without it.

India, which accounts for 4.1 percent of global emissions, has not agreed to cap or cut its emissions outright like some. Instead it says it would increase its use of green energy and reduce its emissions relative to its GDP by up to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels — meaning emissions will continue to grow, but at a slower rate.

Modi has set an ambitious target of reaching 100,000 megawatts of solar power by 2022, up from about 20,000 megawatts.

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