The United States on Thursday said it would like to work more closely with India on issues of climate change but ruled out a ‘China-like’ bilateral deal with New Delhi during President Barack Obama’s visit in January to attend the Republic Day.
US lead climate negotiator Todd Stern said the climate agreement with China in November was the result of months-long engagement with Beijing and that kind of ‘process’ was not currently on with India.
“We don’t have anything in the works of the kind we were involved in with China,” Stern said.
The China agreement, he said, had been first discussed with the Beijing leadership during Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Beijing in February and the idea itself had developed several weeks earlier. “So that was the first time we had raised the topic with China and then we worked upon it for the next eight or nine months. It wasn’t something that was a quick idea and some weeks later we did it. We don’t have that kind of process going on with India,” he said.
The United States and China announced a surprise bilateral climate agreement last month which was hailed as a huge breakthrough that would give a major push to ongoing efforts to finalise a global climate treaty. The United States agreed to cut its emissions by 26 to 28 per cent by 2025 relative to 2005 levels while China announced a peak year, saying it will ensure that its emissions start reducing from the year 2030.
China happens to be the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases followed by the United States in the second place. India is the fourth biggest emitter.
The announcement of Obama’s visit to New Delhi in January had sparked off speculation about some kind of climate deal with India as well.
Indian officials in Lima do acknowledge that there could be a substantial climate component to the bilateral talks during Obama visit but said nothing was finalized as yet.
Stern said the US already had a close engagement with India on issues of clean technology and renewable energy and this might get strengthened further as India goes for a major scale-up of solar energy in the next few years for which an estimated $100 billion investment is required.
“We do a lot of bilateral work with India on clean energy and we will be certainly continuing that. We are highly engaged with India on a number of energy and clean energy efforts and initiatives. I am sure that would contribute to any goals that they might have for clean energy investment,” he said.
Meanwhile, Stern announced that US Secretary of State John Kerry would make a brief, three to four hour, visit at the climate conference on Thursday.