Indian energy minister reaffirms Paris climate commitments

Source: ClimateHome

Uncertainty over continued US participation will not stop India from meeting its goals under the Paris climate accord, the country’s energy minister has said.

Speaking at a UN energy forum in Vienna, Piyush Goyal reportedly said: “India stands to commitments it made in Paris irrespective of what others do.” His speech was watched and tweeted by Paula Caballero, the head of climate at the World Resources Institute.

The statement was tweeted by others in attendance, although Climate Home is yet to confirm the exact wording.

The comment aligns India with statements from leaders around the world in response to the threat of a US withdrawal from the Paris accord.

In a call on Tuesday, Chinese president Xi Jinping and the president-elect of France Emmanuel Macron pledged to defend the international climate process.

Former president Barack Obama also praised the agreement this week in a speech in Italy.

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A White House meeting on the future of US participation, scheduled for Tuesday, was postponed. US president Donald Trump is not now expected to decide until after a G7 summit 26-27 May whether to pull out of the pact or stay in.

An Australian lawmaker from the ruling Liberal Party, Zed Seselja, has hinted a US withdrawal could affect Canberra’s stance. “If they were to pull out obviously that would change the nature of that agreement,” he told Sky News, as reported in the Guardian.

Under the agreement struck in 2015, India pledged to reduce the amount of carbon pollution its economy creates per unit of GDP, a measure known as emissions intensity, and limit deforestation. It also committed to increase its share of clean electricity generation to 40% by 2030.

Despite a rapidly growing renewable energy sector, the Indian economy will remain underpinned by coal, Goyal told the Indian parliament in April. He said that the Paris agreement “does not in any way stop the government or any country from meeting its energy needs from whatever sources of energy one may choose”.