Page last updated at 08:24 GMT, Friday, 27 November 2009

China carbon cut target puts pressure on India

Smoke from a power plant near Delhi
Experts say India's emissions are lower than more developed countries

China's decision to unveil carbon emissions targets two weeks before the Copenhagen climate change summit has put pressure on India, a minister says.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has said China's decision is a "wake-up call to India".

India, like China previously, says it will not commit to cuts until developed nations also pledge to meet targets.

China said this week it aimed to reduce its "carbon intensity" by 40-45% by the year 2020, compared with 2005 levels.

Carbon intensity, China's preferred measurement, is the amount of carbon dioxide emitted for each unit of GDP.

According to a recent government report, India's greenhouse gas emissions will rise from about 1.2bn tonnes at present to between 4bn and 7bn by 2030.


Mr Ramesh says India might have to look to being "flexible" about its stance after China's announcement.

"China has given a wake-up call to India," Mr Ramesh told the Hindustan Times newspaper.

"We've to think hard about our climate strategy now and look for flexibility... to avoid being isolated at Copenhagen.

Mr Ramesh said "the flexibility can be achieved without taking binding emission cuts".

Mr Ramesh had said in September that India would be prepared to set itself a non-binding carbon emissions target that could be "shared with the rest of the world".

But no announcement has been made by the government since.

The government report, published in September, says India's per-capita emissions will be much lower than major industrialised countries.

The report will form the basis of India's negotiating position at the Copenhagen climate change conference in December.

At present India accounts for about 5% of global carbon emissions. China, the US and Russia are placed higher.

There is growing international pressure on India to sign up to emission cuts at the December summit, something which it is refusing to do.

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