Modi pledges climate alliance with small island states

India PM says India and climate vulnerable countries share same ambitions for UN pact in Paris

(Pic: Narendra Modi official/Flickr)

(Pic: Narendra Modi official/Flickr)

By Ed King

India’s prime minster will cooperate closely with small island states on work towards a global climate change pact, he said today.

Speaking alongside Seychelles president James Michel, Narendra Modi said India’s “consistent support” to low lying states would continue in the run-up to Paris, where a UN deal is set to be signed in December.

“We are two nations that are vulnerable to its impact. And we are deeply committed to combating it,” he said.

“We also called for a strong and ambitious global effort, especially from the developed world, on climate change.”

The leaders also agreed to set up a joint working group on developing the blue economy, a concept debated at the Rio+20 Earth Summit in 2012 related to the sustainable development and management of ocean resources.

“This cooperation will increase our understanding of marine ecology and resources,” Modi said.

“We will improve our ability to harness new possibilities of the ocean in a sustainable and balanced manner.”

As the deadline for a UN climate deal draws closer, comments from Modi on his commitment to addressing climate change are being watched closely.

While the average Indian is responsible for low emissions today, these are set to expand rapidly in the coming decades as the country’s economy grows, with some estimating they could triple by 2030.

In January, Modi and US president Obama released a joint statement agreeing to work closely ahead of Paris, which detailed cooperation on nuclear energy and boosting the efficiency of air conditioning units.

The Delhi government also has plans to install 100GW of solar by 2022 and provide electricity to the 300 million people who have no access by 2019.

But critics say officials are still heavily wedded to producing energy by burning coal, the most polluting form of electricity generation, with some accusing Modi of a “destruction orientated” 2015 budget after it cut funding for the ministry of environment and climate change.

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