John Kerry stresses importance of international cooperation to tackle climate change during India visit

24 June 2013

NEW DELHI: John Kerry has used his first visit to India as US Secretary of State to advocate that the rapidly growing economy should work with the US to negotiate a global treaty to curtail climate change.

Speaking in the Indian capital of New Delhi yesterday, a day before the annual US-India Strategic Dialogue forum began, John Kerry stressed that both countries have a duty to curtail global warming. In an impassioned address he highlighted that "the health of our planet and the irreversible climate challenge speeding toward us, crying out for a global solution, is the place to begin this conversation”.

Currently over half of India's power comes from coal and the nation has so far resisted international pressure to comply with targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for fear of their impact on economic growth.

However, Kerry argued that every state must play its part: "When the desert is creeping into East Africa, and ever more scarce resources push farmers and herders into deadly conflict ... then this is a matter of shared security for all of us. [...] When the Himalayan glaciers are receding, threatening the very supply of water to almost a billion people, we all need to do better," he said.

Kerry added that developing collaboration between the countries' clean technology sectors will actually generate greater growth and create jobs, insisting: "If we do this right, it won't hurt our economies - it will grow them". At present, the US and India are cooperating on clean energy through the US-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE). This joint initiative has generated more than US$1.7 billion to fund clean energy projects and provides a foundation for further climate driven alliances. 

Evan Juska, US Head of Policy, The Climate Group, said: "India is a key partner for the US on climate change. As the recent agreement between the US and China to reduce HFCs demonstrated - there are numerous opportunities for countries to work together, both bilaterally and multilaterally, to reduce global emissions and benefit their respective economies."

Today, Kerry will meet with India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other leaders to discuss potential business and trade opportunities for the two countries. On Tuesday he will travel to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the third country of his diplomatic tour of the Middle East and Asia.

The US will also unveil its climate change strategy tomorrow at Georgetown University. In a video available on the White House website, President Barack Obama said the plan will make the US a world leader in this crucial area.

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By Alana Ryan

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