India

India 'will not announce' carbon emissions peak year

A labourer works inside a steel factory on the outskirts of Jammu, India Image copyright MUKESH GUPTA
Image caption Prime Minister Modi is seeking to boost manufacturing which will mean higher emissions

India will not announce a target year for its carbon emissions to peak, its environment minister tells the BBC.

Prakash Javadekar said that Delhi would submit plans to cut emissions to the UN, but would not announce a target date for when it expected its total carbon emissions to drop.

His comments came two days after China told the United Nations that its emissions would peak around 2030.

India is the world's third largest carbon emitter, after China and the US.

Scientists say global emissions need to peak and drop soon if the world is to avoid catastrophic climate change.

"The world is not expecting... India to announce its peaking year," said Prakash Javadekar, in an exclusive interview with the BBC.

"Countries know where India stands and what its requirements [development needs] are and therefore nobody has asked us for [the] peaking year."

The peaking year is when a country's emissions reach the highest level before they begin to drop.

Beijing went public with its peak year when it submitted its climate plan to the United Nations climate convention.

The US has pledged to cut its carbon emissions by 26-28% by 2025.

All 190 plus countries in the convention have been asked to submit their climate plans - known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) - in the UN negotiations.

Over 40 countries have submitted them and many eyes are now on India.

In the spotlight

"We will soon submit our INDCs and they will be much ambitious than what the world is perceiving," said Mr Javadekar.

"Some people are trying to put pressure on us, saying that India too needs to declare its emissions peaking year.

"China's per capita annual emission is nearly 20 tonnes whereas ours is only two tonnes."

Mr Javadekar said the document would show projections for energy efficiency in India as well as a lower rate of energy intensity (energy used per unit of Gross Domestic Product) compared to other countries.

The INDCs will give a rough idea of cuts in carbon emissions globally and indicate whether they will be enough to limit the temperature rise to a 2C threshold.

Scientists say the world is already 0.8C warmer than it was in the pre-industrial revolution period.

Image copyright SANJAY BAID
Image caption Rural life in India has not changed for many people with no access to electricity

India argues that more than 20% of its population has no access to electricity and they have a right to development.

Coal-fired power plants are India's major source of emissions.

Delhi has announced that it will double the production of the dirtiest fossil fuel to one billion tonnes annually within five years.

Indian officials say they have also launched massive renewable energy projects involving solar, wind and hydro power, that would generate 175,000 MW of electricity.

Experts say India's position is key if a climate change deal is to be signed in Paris later this year.

In the past, Delhi and Beijing have clubbed together and argued that developed countries needed to make the first move to cut carbon emissions because of their historic responsibility.

But wealthy countries insist that fast emerging economies like China and India must make cuts too.

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