india renewable energy Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images

Trump’s Climate Scapegoat

By accusing India of demanding “billions" of dollars for its participation in the Paris climate agreement, US President Donald Trump has jeopardized what promised to be a close relationship between the world’s two largest democracies. But India must not allow Trump's mercurial presidency to derail 15 years of diplomatic efforts.

NEW DELHI – By accusing India of demanding “billions and billions and billions of dollars” as a condition for its participation in the Paris climate agreement, US President Donald Trump has ruffled what promised to be a close relationship between the world’s two largest democracies.

After Trump singled out India in his speech renouncing the Paris accord, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj retorted that “there is absolutely no reality” in Trump’s allegation. According to Swaraj, India joined the agreement not “out of greed or fear,” but “because of our commitment to protecting the environment.”

Trump insists that the Paris deal is unfair, because while “India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020,” the United States is “supposed to get rid of ours.” To be sure, India still gets most of its electricity from coal-fired power plants, which account for just under two-thirds of its total energy capacity. But India does not have the access to inexpensive natural gas, which has allowed the US to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions in recent years.

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