Paris climate agreement: India

Country stands to benefit, say experts

An Indian Sikh man uses handkerchief as protective mask against the smog as he rides a motorcycle in a busy street of New Delhi, India, Dec 8, 2015.
An Indian Sikh man uses handkerchief as protective mask against the smog as he rides a motorcycle in a busy street of New Delhi, India, Dec 8, 2015. PHOTO: EPA

India, which has been criticised by rich countries for posing a significant hurdle to the climate pact, has welcomed the breakthrough in Paris, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling it a victory of "climate justice".

"Outcome of #ParisAgreement has no winners or losers. Climate justice has won & we are all working towards a greener future," the Indian Prime Minister tweeted yesterday.

Still, Mr Modi noted that climate change remained a "challenge" for the world.

India, one of the top three carbon polluters, is already seen to be feeling the impact of climate change, with Mr Modi early this month calling the recent floods in Chennai, in which 347 people lost their lives, a result of "climate change's fast-growing impact".

According to one estimate, the Chennai floods will cost the economy an estimated US$3 billion (S$4.2 billion) in losses.

 

In climate negotiations, India has maintained that rich countries need to take a larger role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and make deeper emission cuts, given their history of pollution.

 

The new climate agreement acknowledges this "common but differentiated approach", asking developed countries for "absolute" emission reductions and that developing countries continue "enhancing their mitigation efforts".

 

Experts said that India stands to benefit from the pact.

"It also, importantly for India, recognises that developed countries have to take the lead in mitigation and in providing finance. For a large developing country with high future needs for energy for development, this is an important outcome," said Professor Navroz K. Dubash, a senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi.

 

Others said India could easily take the lead in implementation of the climate pact.

"There is no other country better placed than India to deliver the true spirit of this historic deal... in terms of implementing stringent and pragmatic policies," said Mr Krishnan Pallassana, India director of non-profit organisation The Climate Group.

He added that there was a "golden opportunity" for the private sector to "move towards a prosperous low-carbon future by demanding as well as investing in clean energy".

READ MORE STORIES FROM THE SUMMIT

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 14, 2015, with the headline 'Country stands to benefit, say experts'. Print Edition | Subscribe