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Ratifying Paris deal will give us role in shaping climate rule

Ratifying Paris deal will give us role in shaping climate rule

India’s decision to ratify the Paris climate change agreement on October 2 will give New Delhi a role in shaping global rules of the emerging climate order. It’s a statement that India is no longer a compulsive contrarian, but wants to be in on the creation of new global movements.

By ratifying now, India gets a seat at the 55/55 conference – when 55 countries with 55% emissions ratify the agreement, the countries set up a conference that is expected to write the new rules of the game. This is different from yesteryear when India has been late to the party, then spent years trying to gain entry.

Climate change
is the new global movement, which will set rules and benchmarks for everything from energy to technology to trade. The Paris agreement was seen to be one of those things where India was part of the leadership that actually hammered out a deal, with Modi and Obama working the phones and working together to get there. It was one of those rare moments when India played a proactive role, different from a traditional carping and blocking approach. The climate change deal is a big part of
Barack Obama’s legacy
. By ratifying, Modi has indicated India would play a role in it, even though government recently denied a US statement on imminent ratification by India.

In June, India hinted at linking its
NSG membership
with its ratification of the Paris agreement but had to walk back from it. John Kerry, US secretary of state, came out strongly against it, telling TOI that NSG issue “should not link itself to whether or not you are willing to help to save the world from the effects of climate change. And I don’t think India is doing that.”

Two weeks ago when
China and US jointly announced
they had ratified the Paris Agreement, it put the pressure back on India, specially, as climate negotiators observed, India was once again being blamed for being the problem, when it really is still China that is a problem. But Beijing’s prompt ratification made it seem like Beijing was the good guy and New Delhi wasn’t.

Its an important indicator to how India wants to present itself as a responsible global power, a contention which has greater relevance this week when India is widely believed to be launching military attacks on Pakistan and has announced it will
review the Indus Waters Treaty

Arunabha Ghosh of Council for Energy, Environment and Water said, “Tactically, it gives India an advantage in the upcoming HFC negotiations in Kigali where India has articulated it is not part of the problem but solution. Indian companies are already working on patent-free solutions to alternatives to HFC.”

On a bigger canvas it gives India a bigger heft in the UNCCC talks in Paris, the international aviation negotiations at ICAO (where things like carbon taxes will be debated). More important, India has set up parallel movements like the International Solar Alliance where India’s leadership would be questionable if it did not ratify in time.

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