The White House told reporters Monday Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had agreed to move as quickly as possible to bring the Paris climate deal into force this year.
Media outlets were quick to report Modi intends to “join Paris climate agreement this year,” which came as news to Indian officials who denied making such a promise.
The Hindu newspaper reported Tuesday that “Indian officials said this was not the case.”
Modi met with President Barack Obama Monday to discuss a wide range of issues, including global warming. While Modi and Obama did agree to phase out hydrofluorocarbons and promote green energy, Indian officials insisted the prime minister did not promise to sign onto a United Nations climate deal this year.
“While the U.S. side insisted that Mr. Modi and the President agreed that both countries would ratify the climate treaty within the current year — 2016 — Indian officials said this was not the case,” according to The Hindu.
The media firestorm hit before The Hindu published its article, but such reports were fueled by statements from the White House claiming Modi wanted to bring the UN agreement into force this year — a major goal of the Obama administration and environmental groups.
“I believe what Prime Minister Modi has said about this is that India shares the objective that the United States has laid out, which is to see the agreement come into force this year,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a briefing Monday.
The White House also released a carefully worded joint statement with Modi’s regime, which suggested India would sign the Paris agreement this year — although the statement never explicitly said this.