The obstacles complicating a comprehensive international agreement on climate change are melting away. Last week, India announced its long-term plan to combat climate change by slowing the rate of emission increases and investing heavily in renewable energy. Prior to this long-awaited announcement, India remained the last major country that hadn’t committed to specific actions against climate change. As the world prepares for a major climate summit in Paris this December, firm climate commitments from the world’s largest democracy adds momentum to what could be significant global action.

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Historically, India has been reluctant to firmly commit to any international efforts to reduce emissions. The nation’s officials have defended India’s right to grow its economy as other industrialized nations have done, even if that growth includes carbon-intensive systems. However, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government has made climate change a top priority, but on their own terms. “Poverty reduction is our top priority. Providing power in the next 2,000 days is our priority. We want faster development. My people have a right to grow,” says Prakash Javadekar. “Climate change is also a priority. We have the world’s largest renewable energy sector. We want to clean our air, our water, our energy, our environment. It’s not because someone else is saying so. We want that.”

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Under the recently released plan, India will produce 40% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by the year 2030. India’s emissions will triple by that same year, but if no action were taken, Indian emissions in 2030 would be seven times where they are today. Collectively, the detailed plans released by the major global powers would result in a global warming of 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit by century’s end. While an improvement over the 8.1 degree temperature rise if the status quo continues, it falls short of the international goal set in 2010 of limiting warming to 3.6 degrees.

Via New York Times

Images via UN and USNews