China and the United States, the world's largest producers of carbon, have already agreed to reduce their emission over the next 15 years but India, the third largest polluter, has long said that its economy is too small and that its population is too poor for such a move to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
With the Asian country filing its climate action plan to the United Nations climate secretariat on Thursday, however, India could make significant contributions in the global fight against climate change.
In its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) document, India said that it would cut its emission of planet-warming carbon relative to its GDP by 33 to 35 percent from 2005 levels by the year 2030.
The country also pledged that, by this time, 40 percent of its electricity would come from more environment-friendly sources such as solar and wind power.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that investments in solar power could hopefully bring reliable electricity to another 300 million Indians. A fourth of the country's population currently has no access to electricity and hundreds of millions more have limited access.
Environmental groups have hailed India's move of sharing responsibility with other countries in protecting the planet from climate change.
"India now has positioned itself as a global leader in clean energy, and is poised to play an active and influential role in the international climate negotiations this December," said Natural Resources Defense Council president Rhea Suh.
All countries that will take part in the Paris Climate Conference in December are to publish INDCS, which show the carbon emission reduction goals of each country.
India was among the last major global economies to submit its pledges before the landmark climate change congress at the end of the year.
India's document said that Mahatma Gandhi's famous pronouncement, "Earth has enough resources to meet people's needs, but will never have enough to satisfy people's greed," has provided the inspiration to its climate commitments.
Countries are being held responsible for preventing the world's temperatures from increasing by over 2 degrees Celsius, which scientists say is crucial to preventing disastrous consequences.
Experts have long blamed heat-trapping carbon from the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas as primary contributors of warming temperatures, which could cause intensified droughts and flooding.
Although pledges that were put forth before the climate conference could help slow down global warming, two climate research groups said this week that the temperatures are still projected to rise.
Photo: Vijay Chennupati | Flickr