India Calls for End to Extravagance as It Works on Climate Plan

India’s Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar called on richer nations to change their lifestyles in an effort to halt global warming, noting his own country is working on a robust series of initiatives for curbing pollution.

“Extravagant consumption will not sustain the Earth forever and therefore all will have to change,” Javadekar said in an interview in New Delhi on Monday.

He also said India will present two scenarios for its own greenhouse gas emissions in time for the landmark United Nations summit on global warming this year -- one charting what India can do on its own and another showing what’s possible with increased financial and technical aid from overseas.

The comments give the clearest sense yet for the terms on which India will join the international effort on restraining greenhouse gases. Once in the second-tier of polluters, India’s emissions now rank fourth in the world behind the China, the U.S. and European Union. And unlike the others, it hasn’t yet made any pledge on when its levels will start to decline.

The remarks were meant to pressure richer nations into making good on their 2009 pledge to raise the level of climate related aid for poorer nations to $100 billion a year by the end of this decade.

Developed countries forked out about $10 billion a year in aid from 2010 through to 2012, but have refused to spell out how they’ll meet the $100 billion pledge. So far they’ve pledged about $10 billion to the Green Climate Fund that was set up to channel a portion of the promised aid, a figure described by Javedekar as “ridiculous.”

Climate Promises

So far, almost 50 countries constituting over half the world’s emissions have submitted their promises for the UN talks. India is still working on its submission.

The minister said the plan will indicate parameters like energy efficiency, reducing the energy intensity of the economy, expanding the energy mix and increasing the stock of forests that absorb carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas.

“We’ll also give a scenario where if finance and technological support is available what more can be done,” he said.

India, the minister said, will need more coal, though it’s seeking cleaner ways to burn the fuel. It also has enlarged its green energy target and pledged to invest $17 billion over the next five years in forests.

When asked if he had a year of peaking emissions in his mind, Javadekar said, “no country has asked us this question.”