May 15, 2015 / 8:02 AM / 2 years ago

India, China commit to work together on climate change

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) shakes hands with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during a news conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, May 15, 2015.Kenzaburo Fukuhara/Pool

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - China and India, the world's No. 1 and No. 3 greenhouse gas emitters, projected a united front on climate change on Friday with a rare joint statement that asked rich countries to step up efforts to reduce global carbon emissions.

The statement, issued by the two largest developing nations during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to China, asked wealthy countries to provide finance, technology and other necessary support to emerging countries to help reduce their own emissions.

"The two sides urged the developed countries to raise their pre-2020 emission reduction targets and honor their commitment to provide $100 billion per year by 2020 to developing countries," the statement said.

While both countries stopped short of making any commitments, they said they would submit their respective plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions well before crucial global climate talks are held in Paris later this year.

India, which is the world's No. 3 emitter of greenhouse gases, has been under pressure to make commitments after the top two emitters - China and the United States - agreed to new limits on carbon emissions starting in 2025.

Modi has signaled he will not bow to foreign pressure and will instead focus on increased use of clean energy to fight the adverse effects of climate change. He wants to quintuple India's renewable energy capacity by 2022.

India cannot commit to emissions cuts as it still needs to industrialize and lift millions of people out of poverty, the government says.

Both the countries will continue to work together in areas such as clean energy technologies, energy conservation and renewable energy, the joint statement said.

"China and India are undertaking ambitious actions domestically on combating climate change ... despite the enormous scale of their challenges in terms of social and economic development and poverty eradication," they said.

Reporting by Aditya Kalra; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Alex Richardson

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