Obama and Modi promise to back strong UN climate pact

Leaders present cooperation package covering clean energy, nuclear, air pollution and Paris climate summit

By Ed King

The leaders of India and the US will work together to ensure an ambitious global climate change agreement is reached in Paris later this year, they said in a joint press conference.

Speaking after a meeting in New Delhi, US president Barack Obama and India’s prime minister Narendra Modi both committed to deepening cooperation between the two countries.

“The President and I expressed hope for a successful Paris Conference on Climate Change this year,” Modi said.

The US and India would “enhance” its partnerships on increasing clean and renewable energy in India, he revealed, adding he felt climate change placed a huge “pressure” on countries to act.

“All those who think about a better life and a better world for the future generations, those who are concerned about this, then it is their duty and their conscience, they would want to give a better lifestyle to the future generations, a good life and a good environment,” he said.

Over 190 countries are working towards a UN agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The US and India are the second and third largest source of emissions after China.

Only brief details of what was agreed between the two leaders were released to the media, but they include projects to improve air quality in cities and boost solar and nuclear power deployment.

Under today’s agreement the US will accelerate efforts to improve the efficiency of India’s air conditioning sector, which in hot periods can consume up to 60% of the country’s electricity capacity.

They will also work together to try and phase out the use of HFCs, potent climate warming gases used in refrigeration, said Obama, who confirmed both leaders had made a “personal commitment” to make Paris a success.

“As I indicated to him, I think India’s voice is very important on this issue,” he said.

“Perhaps no country could potentially be more affected by the impacts of climate change, and no country is going to be more important in moving forward a strong agreement than India.”

The World Resources Institute welcomed the announcement. Manish Bapna, executive vice president and managing director, said: “This announcement builds on the recent progress on climate made between the US and China.

“The Obama administration is demonstrating a real commitment to work with multiple major countries to drive greater international action on climate change.

“Ongoing, direct engagement between President Obama and Prime Minister Modi can set the stage for a higher level of cooperation in the lead up to a global climate agreement later this year.”


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