Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, announced recently that India will not follow the directions of China the United States in cutting carbon emissions, but will seek its own path. While Modi has in the past spoken about the dangers of climate change, he has also argued that India needs to continue to industrialize in order to lift millions of its citizens out of poverty.
India is currently the third-highest producer of carbon emissions in the world, but Modi argues that cutting emissions isn’t the only way to stave off climate change, nor is it necessarily in India’s best interest. He makes the argument that developing cleaner, more efficient energy sources should be the priority and that doing so will have a larger effect than simply cutting emissions.
His plan is for India to do exactly that, focusing on efforts to develop alternatives to produce less emissions in the first place instead of reducing output by cutting programs. India has set some ambitious goals in that department, but at the same time, they have upped coal mining efforts in order to provide energy to the country.
In the meantime, he has also suggested following some traditional methods of emissions reduction, such as reducing electricity use by shutting off streetlights during the full moon. Efforts like this can reduce energy use and thus emissions, but may not make enough of a difference in the long run.
He did note, however, that India would be able to produce more energy at lower emissions if the country were able to make better use of nuclear energy. Unfortunately, because India has not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, many countries maintain a ban on selling them uranium, vital to powering nuclear plants. Modi called this out as hypocrisy, as the countries that refuse to sell uranium to India are often the same countries that insist they cut emissions.