U.S expects India to ratify Paris treaty this year

The Hindu , Friday, September 16, 2016
Correspondent : VARGHESE K GEORGE
The official said a lot of countries are expected to ratify the pact during the UN General Assembly this month.

The U.S is confident that India will be able to ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change before the end of the year, according to a senior Obama administration official. The Obama administration is actively persuading members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to admit India into the 48-member club, the official told The Hindu. However, these issues are not linked, and both countries are pursuing these on the individual merits of each, he said. "There is a lot of activity around that," he said of the U.S efforts to push India's NSG membership.

The official said a lot of countries are expected to ratify the pact during the UN General Assembly this month.

India has not yet publicly declared a timeline for ratifying the Paris Agreement. After the recent meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama in Laos, a White House official had said “the leaders noted our joint commitment, fulfilled by the United States... to join the Paris Agreement this year…” The White House had made a similar assertion after Mr. Modi’s June visit to Washington.

After India’s bid for NSG membership was stalled, India had also linked it to its ability to join the Paris Agreement. MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup had then said: “Our application has acquired an immediacy in view of India’s INDC – Intended National Determined Contributions -- envisaging 40% non-fossil power generation capacity by 2030. An early positive decision by the NSG would have allowed us to move forward on the Paris Agreement.”

Ratification – how does it work?

The formal ratification will have to be done by the Union Cabinet, but the process before it reaches that stage could be a lengthy one, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar had explained in response to a question by The Hindu, after the June meeting between Mr. Modi and Mr. Obama.

“So once you laid out your INDC, you have to look, practically speaking, how does that gets implemented on the ground? There are a set of groups looking at different part of those commitments. They would be reporting in over a period of time..” he said. The Prime Minister’s council on climate change council will evaluate these inputs before it reaches the cabinet.

“In terms of what are the issues involved, well, there will be different angles. This is a hugely complicated issue. For example…it would impact how our electricity legislation is framed; how the Motor Vehicle Act is done, because it concerns emission norms. You have mandatory reporting from, whether its power plants or airlines,” Mr. Jaishankar said, explaining the issues to be resolved before INDC can be translated into real action.

“So there is really a cascading implication for very different segments of the economy. Now it’s probably likely that developed countries are able to address those cascading consequences much faster. In our case, there is probably a lot of work to be done,” he said.

In the U.S that ‘inter-agency process’ was set in motion well in advance, the official told The Hindu, equipping it to ratify the treaty as it did earlier this month along with China. “Our impression is that India also is moving fast and efficiently,” but added that it did not expect India ratify the treaty during the UNGA.

The treaty enters into force after 55 countries accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 per cent of the total global greenhouse gas emission ratify it. With China and U.S, 27 countries accounting for 39.08 per cent of emissions have ratified it. India accounts for 4.10 % of global emissions.

SOURCE : http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/paris-draft-agreement-us-expects-india-to-ratify-paris-treaty-this-year/article9111307.ece

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