Calling progress India’s “destiny and right”, Modi’s position signalled commitment to checking climate change without being bullied” as environment minister Prakash Javadekar had stated before Paris.
World leaders at the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris; US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping; (right) Russian President Vladimir Putin with other leaders
Taking a stand along the lines of justice, morality and the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities”, prime minister Narendra Modi kicked off India’s sojourn at the climate change summit in Paris on Monday. In a strongly worded opinion piece in the Financial Times, and in his speech while inaugurating the Indian Pavilion, the PM said that “climate change was not our fault” and “advanced countries” must bear more responsibility.India has been seen dually as a stubborn spoilsport by Western nations, especially after the previous acrimonious conference in Copenhagen 2009, and as a voice among the developing nations that won’t let negotiations led by more advanced ones curtail its own agenda for development. In that context, Modi wrote, “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 those are still on the first step of the development ladder.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Those with luxury of choice should sharply reduce emissions,” he added at the inauguration, hauling up developed nations for jettisoning bulk of the emission cuts onto developing nations with their dependence on energy sources such as coal, which has been criticised previously by US Secretary of State John Kerry.190 countries have gathered for the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21), to figure out an agreement to limit global warming to less than two degrees celsius. Amidst them, Modi, with French President Francois Hollande, launched the international solar alliance with 121 solar-rich countries in the tropics, with the stated goal of bringing affordable solar power to off the grid villages.Sending a strong message, Modi took cues from India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution, and the country’s “tradition of harmonious co-existence between man and nature”, writing, “since ancient times, we have seen humanity as part of nature, not superior to it”. This, he implied was where India’s commitment to its pledges lay.Calling progress India’s “destiny and right”, Modi’s position signalled commitment to checking climate change without being bullied” as environment minister Prakash Javadekar had stated before Paris.This commitment was outlined in the PM’s piece, where he reiterated the country’s pledge that “by 2030, we 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 added that India would have 175 Gw of renewables by 2022, and had already imposed levies on coal and rationalised subsidies on petroleum products. “We will clean our rivers and create smart cities. We are replacing diesel with clean energy, and building 50 new metro railways, he promised, as well have enough green cover to absorb 2.5bn worth of carbon dioxide.At the moment India is the third largest carbon emitter. However, the argument goes that since India entered the Industrial Revolution so late, it couldn’t be held equally responsible for the state of the climate. Additionally, India’s per capita emission are lower, 1.75 tonnes of CO per capita as compared to the world average of 4 and developed country average of 10+.At the moment, countries’ pledges are voluntary, with a push from the Western nation to make them legally binding, and have no difference in responsibility between them and the developing nations. Modi, through his writings seems keenly aware of his role as upholding the justice he mentions, for India and the rest of the developing nations, emphasising on India’s role in sharing “modest resources with the developing world, helping small island states and African nations with renewable energy.
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