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US-China climate deal, bad for the world: Sunita Narain

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 25, 2017

Sunita Narain



The deal struck by the US and China on Wednesday at the end of the APEC Trade Summit held in Beijing has faced criticism from Sunita Narain, Director General of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). Narain said the deal, heralded as “ambitious”, was actually “not ambitious enough or effective enough and may be bad for the entire world”.

She was speaking on the sidelines of the India-US cooperation on climate change and energy, organised by the Ananta Centre, along with the Aspen Institute and Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation.

However, according to sources, the Indian Government was positive about this deal, which comes ahead of the climate talks to be held in Peru in December.

Narain said the deal effectively means that China and the US will converge at a very high per capita emissions level (of about 12 tonnes per capita a year) by 2030. “This will get the world towards a 4 degree centigrade rise (in average temperature). This deal may be good for the US, it may be good for China, but it is not a deal that is good for the planet,” Narain said.

Biggest emitters

The US and China — two of the biggest emitters — have agreed to cut emissions over the next two decades. The US, which was the largest emitter till recently, has agreed to reduce its emissions by 26-28 per cent from 2005-levels by 2025. China, the largest carbon emitter today, will reach its peak by 2030 and then start reducing emissions. According to analysis by CSE, this would bring the US and China at par in terms of emissions with both standing at around 11-12 tonnes per capita a year.

In comparison, if India were to continue its growth rate, without taking significant steps to cut emissions, it would reach about 4 tonnes per capita by 2025.

Narain said if all developing countries were to follow suit and seek convergence at 10-12 tonnes per capita, the world would over-reach its climate capacity and head for a 4 degree centigrade rise in temperature.

Globally, it is recognised that temperature rise has to be capped at 2 degree centigrade, since the 1990s levels, to avoid instability.

In case of a 4 degree centigrade rise, several species of animals could become extinct, several islands could disappear due to rising ocean levels, droughts and floods would affect food generation .

Published on November 12, 2014

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