Obama and India’s Modi promise deals on climate change and energy

By:  Steven Mufson

The leaders of India and the United States vowed Tuesday to ratify the Paris climate accord this year, pledged to nail down terms for limiting a potent greenhouse gas used as a refrigerant in air conditioners, and set a one-year deadline for concluding a deal for six commercial nuclear power plants.

But the two sides provided few specifics about how they would achieve those goals beyond saying that President Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who were meeting at the White House, share the same objectives and have established time frames for resolving differences.

Even without the agreed deadlines, the recent pledge by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to renegotiate the Paris climate accord if he is elected has added a sense of urgency among world leaders to make sure the pact goes into effect before the end of the year. Thirty days after at least 55 countries accounting for at least 55 percent of global emissions have moved to join the agreement, the Paris accord enters into force.

India accounts for 4.1 percent of global emissions. “If India joins, it will practically put us over the hump of 55 percent of global emissions required for ratification,” said Andrew Light, a former State Department negotiator who is now at the World Resources Institute.

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