In what is considered as a big leap on the measures announced by governments to cut emissions, India announced on Friday that it would cut emissions by 20-25 per cent. The Indian announcement comes in the wake of a similar announcement by China on Thursday and according to analysts signals the country's desire to be seen taking constructive initiatives ahead of the climate talks in Copenhagen in December.
Environment minister Jairam Ramesh who is in Beijing for a meeting of key emerging countries acknowledged that India could not afford to be seen as dragging its feet in offering voluntary action on reducing emissions. He added that India could not afford to ignore the fact that China, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa and peer group countries have agreed to voluntary, unilateral, non-legally binding, quantitative targets.
On Thursday China announced it would consider reducing its energy intensity by 40-45 per cent from 2005 levels in the next decade, which was itself a response to the US offer to reduce its emissions by 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020.
By announcing voluntary reductions, India, China and US hope to ward off criticism from other developed countries and NGOs driving the green agenda.
According to Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reihfeldt, the Chinese announcement was an important signal and a move in the right direction though there was scope for greater reductions.
He said the EU feels China could do more and hopes to get further commitments in a statement on the web site of the EU presidency. Sweden presides over the 27 nation European Union.