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Trudeau to discuss climate change with Indian PM

India is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. But will its prime minister join environment talks in Paris?


 

Justin TrudeauVALETTA, Malta – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will sit down with his India counterpart Narendra Modi on Sunday night in Paris to make the case for a comprehensive climate change agreement.

Trudeau is departing a Commonwealth leaders summit in Malta where climate action dominated the agenda.

He’ll join leaders from more than 150 countries in France for the start of the UN’s two-week COP21 climate conference.

India’s Modi took a pass on Malta and his country is seen as a significant impediment to a global climate change pact, given India’s refusal to rein in its galloping greenhouse gas emissions.

India, the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has said its emissions could triple over the next 15 years as it expands coal-fired electricity generation to power a developing economy.

Trudeau told reporters he remains optimistic India will come onboard for the next, post-2020 climate pact being negotiated in Paris.

“India and others have repeated many times that they are committed to a successful, ambitious outcome in Paris,” said Trudeau, adding he plans to encourage Modi to “take clear action.”

Related: What to expect from Canada’s trip to the Paris climate talks

The prime minister pointed to the $2.65 billion in funding he pledged for a UN climate fund Friday in Malta.

“Canada is committed to aiding developing countries in reaching their emissions goals. The atmosphere doesn’t care where carbon is emitted. It require us to take action all around the world,” he said.

Trudeau says citizens “are going to look very negatively at countries that don’t participate.

“For a concrete example of that we need look not look much further than our own story and the difficulty we had getting pipelines built because people didn’t believe we were taking our environmental responsibilities seriously.”

Earlier, Trudeau said he’s been “thrown into the deep end” of international summitry since his election last month as prime minister.

Related: What fish have to teach the Paris climate conference

In just 40 days since his Liberals won a majority government on Oct. 19, Trudeau has been to a G20 summit in Turkey, an Asia-Pacific leaders’ summit in the Philippines, visited the Queen at Buckingham Palace and now adds Malta and Paris to his resume.

Trudeau sat down with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on the sidelines of the Commonwealth meeting, where he spoke of a quickly growing friendship fostered by repeated meetings at various summits.

“As everyone knows I was thrown into the deep end of international summits just shortly after being elected,” said Trudeau, 43.

“Malcolm, you’ve been extremely helpful in giving me little nudges every now and then as I navigate the global scene.”

Turnbull interjected that Trudeau hasn’t needed any help, calling him “very modest.”

“No, no, no,” Trudeau continued. “It’s nice to have a friendly face and that happened immediately after we first met. I knew that I could always turn to you in a crowded room and get ‘l’heure juste’ – have a little insight on what was going to happen next.”

The twists and turns of that summitry navigation were evident in their brief encounter with the news cameras over breakfast.

Turnbull told Trudeau he hopes Canada’s new government will ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership – a politically sensitive file for the Liberals, who haven’t yet fully committed to the massive trade pact negotiated by the previous Conservative government.

“We’re both part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership – or, we have signed and we are hoping that your new government will ratify,” said Turnbull as the cameras rolled on their breakfast meeting.

“I think that free trade and free markets are the best way to drive jobs, opportunities and investment in an increasingly dynamic global economy.”

Trudeau has already faced such public lobbying from U.S. President Barack Obama, who used a meeting with the prime minister at the Asia-Pacific summit in Manila to publicly state that “we are both soon to be signatories of the TPP agreement.”

Trudeau didn’t rise to Turnbull’s bait, making a brief reference to “lots of discussions on trade” and global security before stressing his own key area of interest.

Canada under Stephen Harper and Australia under former prime minister Tony Abbott were both criticized for being climate change policy laggards but Trudeau suggested the two countries have changed their tune.

He told Turnbull that “both of our countries – both energy exporters and strong on natural resources -are going to be showing strong leadership on the world stage in a way that demonstrates that you can’t separate what’s good for the economy from what’s good for the environment anymore. We have to do them both together.”

Trudeau later announced Canada is providing $15.3 million over the next four years to help young Africans develop “entrepreneurial” and technology skills.


 

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