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January 31, 2015

U.S.-India Climate Agreement Even “Less Substantive” Than U.S.-China Agreement

In Jan. 25, President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a broad new agreement between the two countries to address climate change. According to the White House, the U.S. and India agreed to:

  • Work together and with other countries to achieve a global climate pact;
  • Cooperate to phase-down Hydroflurocarbons (HFCs);
  • Expand the Partnership to Advance Clean Energy Research (PACE-R), which will extend research funding for solar energy, energy efficiency and advanced biofuels;
  • Accelerate clean energy financing;
  • Discuss how to reduce the environmental and emissions impact of heavy-duty vehicles and transportation fuels;
  • Promote super-efficient off-grid appliances; and
  • Work together on “additional pilot programs and other collaborative projects, including developing an innovative renewable energy storage project and hosting a smart grid workshop.”

Tim Profeta from Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions says the U.S.-India pact is not as strong as an agreement signed by the U.S. and China last year. (Click here to see Connecting the Dots’ explanation of the agreement with China.) Profeta explained, “Rather than committing India to cap its emissions, the U.S.-India deal called for ‘enhancing bilateral climate change cooperation’ in advance of the United Nations effort to reach an international agreement on emissions and finance in Paris in December.” The New York Times said the agreement with India lacks any “sort of specific commitment” to address greenhouse gases. 

As Connecting the Dots has noted previously, MSCI will support federal legislative and regulatory efforts to address climate change once China and India, the world’s first and third polluters respectively, agree to specific policies to address climate change. (Both the China and India agreements lack these type of specifics.) Otherwise, U.S. businesses would be at a competitive disadvantage without those commitments. Indeed, we already know Environmental Protection Agency efforts to reduce greenhouse gases have already had a negative effect on U.S. energy producers. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Peabody Energy lost $787 million in 2014, a reading that was 50 percent larger than the company’s 2013 loss and that was larger than analysts had predicted.