Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Can’t win climate fight without India: Obama

The US could not get a climate deal with India, but President Barack Obama on Tuesday made a strong pitch for emission cuts and said the world does not "stand a chance against climate change" unless developing countries like India cut their carbon emissions by reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

"I know the argument made by some, that it's unfair for countries like the United States to ask developing nations and emerging economies like India to reduce your dependence on the same fossil fuels that helped power our growth for more than a century," said Obama in his Town Hall address.

"But here's the truth: even if countries like the United States curb our emissions, if growing countries like India — with soaring energy needs — don't also embrace cleaner fuels, we don't stand a chance against climate change," he said in his last public speech before leaving the country.

Though India does not deny the importance of mitigation (emission cuts), the country lays greater emphasis on fighting climate change through massive adaptation measures and by moving on renewable energy (solar, wind and bio-fuels) path if it gets economically viable technology and investment.

Barack Obama greeting his audience at the Siri Fort auditorium in New Delhi, on January 27, 2015.

India took this stand at all platforms and meetings ahead of Obama's visit. As a result, both the countries agreed for cooperation in renewable energy sector but did not go for the climate agreement that may factor in India's emission cut targets.

Obama, in fact, welcomed India's "ambitious targets" for generating more clean energy and promised to help the country to achieve this. He said, "We will continue to help you deal with impacts of climate change because you shouldn't have to bear that burden alone."

He also said with the breakthrough achieved during this visit, the two countries can finally move to fully implementing the civil nuclear agreement which would mean more reliable electricity for Indians and cleaner energy that helps fight climate change.

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