India may submit climate change plans in September; Javadekar assures pledges will be submitted “in time”

India is likely to submit its plans to tackle climate change, including steps to curb the amount of carbon pollution, in September.

Tuesday was the first informal deadline for “countries that are able to do so” to file their pledges to combat climate change. All countries have agreed to put forward their plans ahead of the crucial Paris meet in December.

So far, the  European Union, the US, Switzerland, Norway and Mexico have sent in their plans to the  UN climate secretariat. Before the UN-sponsored climate change negotiations in Lima in December, India had said it would not submit its climate change plans before June. In February, environment minister  Prakash Javadekar announced that India would tender its pledges in June.

In recent weeks, amid consultations on preparation of pledges, there had been indications that India would not submit its plans by June-end and would instead push it to August-September.

“There is thinking on those lines that we should take more time to work out the post-2020 plans. Because once we make a commitment, we should be prepared to meet it,” a senior official said, stressing that India has always fulfilled its international obligations.

The environment ministry is non-committal about when the plans will be submitted. However, officials say that work is on in full swing. Experts say that given the government’s thrust on manufacturing, demands of urbanisation and ensuring total electricity coverage by 2022, working out India’s post-2020 pledges to tackle climate change, especially curbing the amount of carbon it produces, is a challenging task. India is yet to provide electricity for about 350 million people.

Javadekar has assured that the pledges will be submitted “in time.” Countries can tender their plans till end September. The UN climate change secretariat will publish on November 1 a synthesis report on all submissions made before October 1.

The environment ministry has commissioned two studies on its greenhouse gas emissions profile and is awaiting the final report. Officials have held meetings with various stakeholders, including a two-day consultation with the states, on the national and state action plans to address climate change.

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