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India, the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has formally joined the Paris Agreement on tackling climate change, according to the UN.
The announcement on the anniversary of the birth of Gandhi, viewed by many as the father of modern India, takes the global pact a step closer to its enactment.
Anil Madhav Dave, the environment minister, said “India deposited its Instrument of Ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change” at the UN in New York.
“Great push to global actions to address climate change,” he said on Twitter..
The deal, approved by nearly 200 countries in Paris last December, aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by shifting away from fossil fuels to limit global warming to “well below” 2C compared with pre-industrial times.
India, which accounts for 4.1 percent of global emissions and is the third largest carbon-emitting country, has not agreed to cap or cut its emissions outright like some.
Instead it says it will boost its use of “green energy” and reduce its emissions relative to its gross domestic product by up to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels – meaning emissions will continue to grow but at a slower rate.
India, with a population of 1.3 billion people, is the latest big polluter to formally sign on to the accord.
With India’s move, a total of 62 countries accounting for almost 52 percent of emissions have now ratified the agreement to commit to take action to check the planet’s rising temperatures.
But it needs to be formally ratified by countries representing at least 55 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions.
“The secretary-general calls on all parties to accelerate their domestic procedures in order to join the agreement as soon as possible this year,” said a spokesman for Ban Ki-moon in a statement.
Next week, the European Union is expected to complete the joint ratification of the climate pact, which will be a major milestone as it would take approvals past the 55 percent mark and put the deal into effect in advance of the next round of climate talks in Morocco next month.
The Paris Agreement received a boost last month after the United States and China, the world’s two biggest emitters, submitted their approvals to the United Nations.
India had called for more work on the agreement before its ratification on Sunday, with its environment ministry saying that the Paris agreement laid a “broad framework” but detailed guidelines and rules were needed for it to become operational.
Gandhiji believed in a world worthy of our children. In joining the Paris Agreement, @narendramodi & the Indian people carry on that legacy.
— President Obama (@POTUS44) October 2, 2016
The ministry also criticised developed countries, saying their populations “live extravagant lifestyles with a high carbon footprint”.
It said it was “very crucial” to advance key issues, including those related to finance and technology transfer, at the meeting in Marrakech next month, where India also plans to urge developed countries to do more.
“At Morocco, India will insist on a concrete road map from developed countries,” the ministry said.
Environmentalists want India to work to phase out heavily polluting coal, which it relies on heavily for electricity.