Months before the Paris global climate summit, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid down red lines, saying said he would not succumb to foreign pressure to commit cuts in carbon emissions and stressed on the country’s plan to focus on ramping up the production of clean energy and home growth methods to combat climate change.
He underlined that respecting nature is engrained in our cultural values and India could lead the world in battling climate change, rather than merely following Western guidelines.
Inaugurating a two-day conference of state environment and forest ministers in New Delhi, he said that “we have a legacy of thousands of years in this field… India can show the way to the world out of this crisis”.
India is today the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Though our per capita emissions remain way below the developed countries (1.7 metric tonnes per capita, as opposed to China (6.2 mtpc) and USA (17.6 mtpc)), they are slated to increase with economic growth and development. There is pressure on India to restrict emissions, especially after the US and China committed to reductions in a land mark announcement last year (China agreed to cap emissions latest by 2030 and have 20% share of renewable energy in energy mix). Mr Modi highlighted India’s initiatives in solar and wind energy sectors and the need to switch to renewable energy and find innovative solutions to global warming.
PM to West: Don’s lecture us
The prime minister also underscored that the West-led lobby on climate change should not harp on emission cuts, but focus more on clear energy (India remains excessively dependent on fossil fuel) and aid in transfer of technology to achieve the requisite shift. He was highly critical of the West’s inability to supply India with nuclear fuel to aid in developing nuclear power.
He mentioned that citizens should take proactive initiatives as switching off street lights on full moon to save energy. In a bid to curb air pollution, a national air quality index to monitor pollution level in 10 cities was also launched at the event.
The United Nations Climate talks in Paris later this year will be crucial in trying to draw the roadmap for emissions reduction in to curb GHG emissions, in the post-Kyoto Protocol scenario. For the talks be a successful, the global South, in which India is an important voice, needs to agree to emission reduction commitments. India has prioritised development to lift million out of poverty, and pushes the Common But Differentiated Responsibility (CBDR) stand and historical responsibility of the global North to take leadership in climate change (by reducing per capita emissions) rather than burdening the developing countries.
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