Indian PM Narendra Modi says no climate change pressure on India after US-China pact

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday India was not under pressure on climate change after the US and China signed an emissions deal, but added global warming itself was reason to take action.

India, the world's third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has resisted pressure to commit to a timeline for capping emissions after China and the United States announced a bilateral pact in November.

"India is an independent country. There is no pressure as such," Modi said after talks with US President Barack Obama in New Delhi.

"But there is a pressure of a different kind, the pressure of what kind of legacy we want to leave for our future generations," Modi said, standing alongside Obama. "Global warming is a pressure... We understand this pressure and we are responding to it."

Obama has been keen to clinch a deal with India ahead of a key climate summit in Paris late this year.

Under last year's ambitious joint plan between the world's two largest economies, the US set new targets for carbon emission reductions while China said it would cap emissions and get more of its electricity from renewable energies.

India relies hugely on coal to generate its electricity, while its population is set to overtake that of China's by 2030.

Since coming to power in May, Modi has pledged to increase India's renewable energy in a bid to lower coal use and bring electricity to more than 300 million poor people without power.

The Modi government set a target in November for as much as 100 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2022, five times the previous goal.

Modi said Sunday that clean energy was a "personal and national priority" for him and that he was looking forward to a "successful" Paris conference in December.

Obama said the two leaders had made a "personal commitment" to work together and pursue a strong global climate agreement at the event.

The Paris summit will see some 195 countries hold talks to find ways to curb the fossil-fuel gases warming the planet.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.