Hitting out at rich nations for their approach towards climate change, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told developed countries which powered their way to prosperity on fossil fuels that it would be “morally wrong” if they shift the burden of reducing emissions on developing countries like India. “The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities should be the bedrock of our collective enterprise. Anything else would be morally wrong,” he wrote in the Opinion section of ‘Financial Times’. Mr Modi asked the developed nations to fulfil their duty to shoulder the greater burden of the fight against climate change.
In an article published in the UK’s leading financial daily, Mr Modi said, “Some say advanced countries powered their way to prosperity on fossil fuel when humanity was unaware of its impact.” “Justice demands that, with what little carbon we can still safely burn, developing countries are allowed to grow. The lifestyles of a few must not crowd out opportunities for the many still on the first steps of the development ladder,” Mr Modi added.
Reiterating his plans to launch an alliance of 121 solar-rich nations in the tropics aimed at bringing affordable solar power to villages that are off the grid, Mr Modi said: “We expect the same from the world with respect to responding to climate change.”
Nearly 150 world leaders are in Paris to attend the opening of the global climate summit, with the overarching aim of sealing a new agreement to keep global warming below 2°C over pre-industrial temperatures.
Alluding to Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of harmony of nature, Mr Modi said: “We look forward to Paris with the sense of duty that Mahatma Gandhi called us to assume: We should act as trustees’ and use natural resources wisely as it is our moral responsibility to ensure that we bequeath to future generations a healthy planet. India will do its part for success in Paris.”
Mr Modi sent out a strong message to the developed world, days after US Secretary of State John Kerry said India could be a “challenge” at the climate change talks which began on November 30 in Paris as it “has been more cautious, a little more restrained in its embrace of this new paradigm”.
Speaking about India’s potential, Mr Modi spoke about access to modern sources of energy. “Democratic India is among the world’s fastest-growing economies. We are striving to meet the aspirations of 1.25bn people, 300m more of whom will soon have access to modern sources of energy while 90m gain running water,” he wrote.
“India is also experiencing the impact of climate change caused by the industrial age of the developed world. We are concerned about our 7,500km of coastline, more than 1,300 islands, the glaciers that sustain our civilisation and our millions of vulnerable farmers,” Mr Modi said.
Mr Modi pledged that by 2030, India will reduce emissions intensity by at least 33 per cent of 2005 levels, and 40 per cent of installed power capacity will be from non-fossil fuel sources. He also spoke about the alternate sources of energy and the path to progress that India would take. “We should meet our need for clean energy and healthy habitats in a spirit of partnership, not put nations on different sides. India will work with governments, laboratories and industry to facilitate a natural transition to a clean energy era through affordable and accessible renewable energy.”
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