The United States on Wednesday played down prospects for a wide-ranging deal with India to curb greenhouse gas emissions next year along the lines of a plan agreed to with China last month.
President Barack Obama will visit India in January at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The visit has prompted speculation that the two nations might be preparing cooperation on climate change similar to a U.S. plan with Beijing.
"We don't have that kind of process going on with India," U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern told a news conference during Dec. 1-12 talks among 190 nations in Lima on ways to slow global warming.
Stern met with Indian Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Sunday. Javadekar told reporters he will have a second meeting with Stern on Thursday, as well as bilateral talks with Australia, Germany and Bolivia.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Lima on Thursday to underscore the U.S. commitment to a deal in Paris next year, without announcing new policies, a senior State Department official said.
China is the top greenhouse gas emitter, ahead of the United States, the European Union and India.
Under a joint U.S.-China announcement last month, the United States will cut its emissions by between 26 percent and 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025 and China agreed to cap its fast-rising emissions around 2030, its first peak.
China's per capita greenhouse gas emissions have surged in recent years to match average EU levels, while India's are below the world average.
That puts less pressure on India to cut emissions. "India is in a completely different economic situation from China," said Robert Stavins, director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program.
Javadekar said India should not rush to agree to things in Lima and that there is ample time to iron out the details of a final agreement in time for Paris in 2015.
"Let us not stretch it too far if there is something that is not agreed upon by all because there is one year to go," he said. "This is not the last opportunity."
He added that he wants to see more money pledged to support developing countries in their fight against climate change.
Javadekar said the fact that countries have surpassed a target of $10 billion in the Green Climate Fund in Lima is "happy news" because it finally signalled progress on the finance front in negotiations.
But he warned that some of what was raised is not new funding and that getting from that level to the longer-term UN goal to raise up to $100 billion per year for climate finance by 2020 will require an impossible leap.