India may follow China’s example and for the first time set a specific target to limit the growth of its greenhouse gas emissions, Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said here on Friday.

While absolute emission cuts were “out of the question” for India, Mr. Ramesh said, “it made sense” for countries like India and China to announce targets to limit the intensity of their emissions, or the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of the GDP.

China on Thursday announced it would reduce its carbon intensity to 40-45 per cent of 2005 levels by 2020. Its net emissions, however, are set to continue growing.

“We can’t sweep [aside] the fact that China, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa and peer-group countries have put down voluntary, unilateral, non-legally binding, quantitative targets. This has implications for us,” Mr. Ramesh said. He argued that there was “considerable room” for India to reduce both energy intensity and its emissions intensity “without jeopardising” a 7-8 per cent growth trajectory.

Mr. Ramesh was speaking to reporters here after a 70-minute meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and ministers from Brazil, South Africa and Sudan, which is the acting chair of the G77 group of developing countries.

In a bid to encourage the industrialised nations to commit to greater cut in their greenhouse gas emissions ahead of next month’s climate summit in Copenhagen, several developing countries have proposed voluntary emission reduction targets. Brazil has announced a 36 per cent decrease in emissions from a “business as usual” projection by 2020, while South Africa has said its emissions will peak by 2025.

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