India's environment minister has made it clear it will not bow into pressure from developed countries during the UN Climate Summit. The climate change negotiations will begin on 30 November in Paris, bringing together world leaders from 190 countries.
However, India stressed it would not be bullied by countries, including the US. The firm stand came amid comments from US Secretary of State John Kerry, who said India would be "a challenge" during the climate change negotiations.
Prakash Javadekar, India's minister of environment, forests and climate change, called Kerry's remarks "unfair and unwarranted", noting India's position on climate change deals had already been arrived at and it would be sticking with what it had decided.
"We are geared up for the battle ahead in Paris and I want to make it clear that India would not be bullied into accepting the position of developed countries," Javadekar told Indian newswire IANS. "What we are asking for is absolutely fair and the developed world must recognise that they have to atone for the historical carbon emissions that they have been putting out in the atmosphere for over 150 years in their search for prosperity."
Javadekar's comments came as India announced it would reject a deal to phase out fossil fuels by 2100. Some countries have indicated that the Paris agreement should include a commitment to decarbonise, however, with India being dependent on coal for most of its energy requirements, a government official said it is unlikely to end the use of fossil fuels any time soon.
"It's problematic for us to make that commitment at this point in time," said Ajay Mathur, a senior member of India's negotiating team for Paris, told Reuters. "The entire prosperity of the world has been built on cheap energy. And suddenly we are being forced into higher cost energy. That's grossly unfair."
Mathur stressed India is committed to the aim of COP21 to secure a deal that will prevent the planet from warming more than 2C. However, the official said Narendra Modi's government would push for an agreement that allowed countries such as India to do more over time as they become wealthier, rather than pledge to end carbon usage straight away. In October, the country of 1.2 billion people committed to slowing the rate of growth in its carbon output by a third over the next 15 years.
Javadekar said what India would be asking for an "equitable and just" agreement to be signed at COP21, which would take into account the need of developing countries to further their economic growth.