Why did Modi decide to ratify the Paris climate deal?

Muddled leadership and a poor negotiating strategy have dominated India’s path towards ratifying the Paris deal. Now comes the hard part: an energy policy

The US and India agreed to fast-track approval of the Paris agreement at a meeting between Obama and Modi earlier this year (Pic: White House/Flickr)


The wonder is it took so long. After months of prevarication, India prime minister Narendra Modi announced this week the country would formally join the Paris climate agreement on 2 October.

Turns out it’s a fairly simple procedure, requiring cabinet approval. That’s not what diplomats said on the sidelines of the G20, arguing India needed time to work the deal past lawmakers.

So what has been going on? Why has the world’s fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases – and a key reason why last year’s deal was passed relatively smoothly – suddenly gone all out to join the US, China, Brazil in signing up?

Few know the insides of Indian climate diplomacy like Nitin Sethi, environment correspondent for the Business Standard, and few government officials will like his take on events – tweeted earlier today.

Delhi climate professionals will read and weep.

Read more on: India | UN climate talks