India Says It's Not Ready to Project When Pollution Will Peak

  • India is third-biggest emitter of greenhouse-gas emissions
  • Envoy cites `lower economic development' in not setting goal

India isn’t ready to project when its annual greenhouse gases will peak, the country’s lead climate negotiator said.

“It is premature for us because of our lower economic development to make an accurate assessment of when the country can peak in terms of greenhouse gas emissions,” the envoy, Susheel Kumar, told reporters in Paris on Friday. “When we develop further and our economy matures, maybe then we can make an assessment.”

Delegates from 195 nations are in the French capital to forge the first global deal on climate change that would require all nations to limit emissions. As part of that deal, India has said it will cut the emissions per unit of economic output by as much as 35 percent by 2030 from 2005, a goal that still allows its overall total to rise.

India’s efforts matter because the nation is the third biggest greenhouse-gas emitter, accounting for 6.1 percent of global total. It’s also the largest country that hasn’t committed to begin reducing its pollution levels. They’re already falling in the U.S., and China has said its emissions will peak around 2030.

It’s a “challenge” to model future emissions from the subcontinent, according to Anjali Jaiswal, India initiative leader at the Natural Resources Defense Council, a New York-based advocacy group.

“India’s carbon footprint has yet to be determined,” she said. “India is going to build a clean energy economy. No other country has done that on this scale that also brings millions of people out of poverty.”

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