India's plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions have been commended by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who said it demonstrated the country's "seriousness" towards confronting climate change. His comments came days before the UN Climate Summit begins in Paris on 30 November.
Noting India's concerns over the lack of climate change action on behalf of the West, Ban Ki-Moon said that there was "no question" that developed countries should take the lead and that the Paris negotiations must result in a deal that is "fair" for all countries, particularly the poor and vulnerable countries.
"We have to recognise that all countries have to do their part, to the extent they have the resources and capacity to take action," Ban Ki-Moon told PTI. "Developed countries need to lead but all countries need to contribute. [The agreement] has to recognise and respond to the circumstances and needs of the most vulnerable, who have not contributed to the problem of climate change yet have the most to lose due to its impacts."
The UN chief's comments came one day after India warned that it would not be "bullied" by the West during the climate negotiations in Paris. India's environment minister Prakash Javadekar said that India would like to see the developed world compensate for the carbon emissions that they have emitted over the course of many years and Narendra Modi's government would be asking for an "equitable and just" agreement to be signed at COP21.
On the same day a senior member of India's negotiating team for Paris told Reuters that India would not be committing to a deal to phase out fossil fuels by 2100. With India being dependent on coal for most of its energy requirements, Ajay Mathur said that it would be "problematic" for them to end the use of fossil fuels anytime soon.
Mathur also noted that it was "unfair" of developed countries to push this deal for higher cost energy on to others when "the entire prosperity of the world has been built on cheap energy". He stressed that India would be pushing for an agreement that allows countries like India to do more over time as they become wealthier, rather than pledge to end carbon usage straight away.
Despite the rejection of the fossil fuels deal, India's commitment to climate change action was commended by Ban Ki-Moon. He said: "I welcome India's submission of its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC). I believe it indicates the seriousness with which India is confronting the challenges of climate change, and it will help the world 'bend' the temperature projections for the rest of this century."
India's INDC noted that it would cut greenhouse emissions per-unit of gross domestic product figures to 35% by 2030. More than 120 world leaders are expected to convene in Paris for the UN Climate Summit, where they will aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement to prevent the planet from warming more than 2C.