New Delhi: India never intended to profit from the Paris climate deal, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Monday, rejecting suggestions from US President Donald Trump that some nations were exploiting the global pact on fighting climate change.
As he announced the US would withdraw from the Paris Agreement, Trump singled out India and China as two major polluters that he said would gain a financial advantage over the US under the agreement.
Swaraj denied India was acting disingenuously, saying it remained committed to the pact to tackle global warming “whether the US stays in it or not”.
“India didn’t sign the Paris climate deal under pressure or greed for money,” Swaraj told reporters.
“We signed it because of our belief—a 5,000-year-old belief in environment. If someone says we signed it for money or under pressure, I’ll reject it. It is wrong.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed to go “above and beyond” the Paris climate deal during a visit to France last week, reaffirming India’s commitment as the world’s third-largest polluter.
In his speech announcing the US would withdraw from the landmark treaty, Trump repeatedly faulted the Paris Agreement as failing to “put America first” and “imposing no meaningful obligations on the world’s leading polluters”.
“China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants...think of it. India can double their coal production. We’re supposed to get rid of ours,” he said in a speech Thursday.
Unlike other signatories to the Paris climate deal, India has not agreed to cap or reduce its emissions outright but instead to greatly increase its use of green energy.
This means India’s emissions will continue to grow, but at a slower rate.
India, an energy-hungry giant of 1.25 billion people, has long insisted it needs coal to lessen crippling blackouts and electrify its many regions without access to reliable power....