India’s decision to reduce emissions by 20-25 per cent by 2020 is seen as “a very positive step” by the UN chief Ban ki-Moon, ahead of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.

“The Secretary General is also encouraged by the recent announcement by both India and China regarding their efforts to reduce their emissions through reduction in energy intensity,” Janos Pasztor, Director of the Secretary General’s Climate Change Support Team, told journalists here.

“This is a very positive step for a country where some 400 million people still do not have access to electricity,” he added.

The UN official noted that China “has already embarked on an aggressive climate change plan.” Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia, Mexico have announced ambitious carbon emission reduction plans ahead of the climate conference.

The Climate Change Conference slated to start this coming Monday at the Danish capital, where negotiators meet to chalk out a new climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012.

Three major players -- the US, China and India -- have made concrete commitments with Washington promising emission cuts of 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 per cent by 2050, while Beijing has agreed to reduce its carbon intensity by 40 to 45 per cent compared to 2005 levels by 2020.

India’s emission cut better than China: Kerry

Welcoming New Delhi’s announcement of reduction in emission intensity, a top US Senator has said that India’s proposal in this regard “with respect to accountability” is better than that of China.

“They have put the language on the table that’s actually stronger than China’s with respect to the accountability and the measuring,” Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the PBS news channel in an interview.

Kerry is a key architect of the Kerry-Boxer bill in the US Congress that aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 83 per cent by 2050 and 20 per cent over the next decade from 2005 levels.

Kerry said the recent emission cut announcements made by China and India is a result of US President Barack Obama’s personal talks with the leaders of these two countries.

While Mr. Obama went to Beijing last month, the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in the US soon thereafter on the first State Visit of his presidency.

“If the President had not had the conversations that he had when he was in China, I don’t think that he would have come to the point of making a decision to do 17 per cent reduction and I don’t think China would have followed a day later with its decision,” Kerry said.

India has decided to offer a reduction in carbon emission intensity by 20-25 per cent by 2020 over 2005 levels.