Kerry urges climate change action on eve of India talks

NEW DELHI Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:11am IST

1 of 2. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gestures after his speech on the U.S.-India strategic partnership in New Delhi June 23, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Ahmad Masood

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged fast-growing India to work with Washington to tackle climate change and develop green technologies, on the eve of talks on trade and regional security.

Emerging economies like India have resisted pressure in global climate talks to commit to targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in a dispute with rich nations over whose industries should bear the brunt of the cuts.

But Kerry, on a seven-nation tour in the Middle East and Asia, said on Sunday failing to act would undermine growth and hurt the poorest the most.

The day before he was due to take part in the fourth annual US-India Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi, he urged India to work with the United States to negotiate a global treaty on curbing global warming.

"We should work constructively side-by-side in the UN climate negotiations. I am convinced we can move toward a global agreement ... that is sensitive to and respectful of the diversity of national circumstances," he said in a speech.

"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," Kerry added.

Cooperation on developing clean technologies would also spur economic growth and create jobs, he added.

"As we look forward, India and the United States, with our traditions of innovation and technology, are particularly well-positioned and ready to roll up our sleeves and take advantage of this opportunity," he said.

"If we do this right, it won't hurt our economies - it will grow them," he said, noting that new energy markets were worth $6 trillion.

Over the years, the United States and India have expanded cooperation on clean energy through the US-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy, or PACE, mobilizing more than $1.7 billion to finance clean energy initiatives.

Kerry's talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other leaders on Monday are expected to focus on increasing opportunities for business and trade.

In recent weeks, U.S. business groups have increased their calls for the Obama administration to press India to change policies they say threaten American exports, jobs and innovation.

In a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama earlier this month, U.S. lawmakers said Indian policymakers and courts had taken a series of actions designed to block imports by forcing local production of a wide range of manufactured goods.

Monday's talks will also hone in on regional security issues, including the drawdown of NATO troops and an election in Afghanistan next year together with political transitions in Pakistan and Iran.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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