Within hours of the bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama, a White House official Thursday said that Modi has pledged to formally join the Paris climate change agreement this year. However, responding to this comment by the White House, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, “The government has made no decision yet on ratifying the Paris agreement. Domestic processes in this regard are still underway. A decision will be taken only when they are completed.”
Earlier, the White House official was quoted by agencies as saying, “President Obama thanked Prime Minister Modi for his cooperation on a broad range of global and bilateral issues and commended Prime Minister Modi’s leadership in addressing the urgent threats posed by climate change.”
The official added that “the leaders noted our joint commitment, fulfilled by the United States in advance of the G20 Leaders’ Summit, to join the Paris Agreement this year as well as our resolve to adopt an ambitious HFC amendment to the Montreal Protocol this year”.
While the US has already taken that step, India has been resisting this year’s deadline.
In fact, despite pressure from US and China, the final G20 communique had skipped any mention of the December 2016 deadline for member-countries to ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change. It had also avoided specifying a date for ending fossil fuel subsidies.
Both moves were strongly opposed by India during the three-day meetings of negotiators before the leaders’ summit on September 4 and 5.
In his intervention on the summit’s concluding day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had acknowledged that climate change was one of the foremost challenges, with the Paris Agreement showing the way forward. However, he said, “Focus should not just be on early ratification, but full success.”
Apart from climate change, the Modi-Obama meeting, officials said, also saw the US “strongly” supporting India’s NSG membership bid.