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India Resists Global Climate Change Efforts at G20 Summit

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20 summit in Turkey.Photograph by Saul Loeb — AFP via Getty Images

As world leaders at the G20 summit in Turkey attempted to draft regarding climate change, India voiced unpopular opinions that thwarted their efforts.

The statement is supposed to require that all signatory countries pledge to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. As the Financial Times reports, many officials agreed that the accord should focus on a review mechanism that would allow for periodic monitoring of each country’s progress.

Some suggested that each country’s commitment to climate change should be assessed every five years with the opportunity to upgrade that commitment if necessary. India expressed disapproval of G20 talks interfering with an upcoming Paris summit that will focus on climate change, and effectively blocked the mention of “period monitoring” from appearing in the final communique.

UN climate talks first began 20 years ago, and India has been resisting the notion that every country should share the burden of reducing greenhouse gas emissions ever since. UN countries agreed five years ago that they would attempt to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2°C above pre-industrial times. At the G20 talks this past weekend, India and Saudi Arabia resisted the inclusion of that target so as to not “prejudge” Paris talks.

The final statement reaffirms the 2°C target, but warns that Paris talks would have to be negotiated “flexibly,” which some believe waters down the goal.