New Delhi: Emphasizing that ‘all’ have to fight the global climate change, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid the contours of his stand at COP21 summit that gets underway in Paris on Monday. On the opening day itself, Modi and French President Hollande will propose a collaborative pact among 122 countries, many of them located between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, for an alliance to be named the International Agency for Solar Policy and Application. This is a grouping of countries that have 300 days of sun round the year and plan to harness this power to generate clean energy.
Modi has committed to produce 175,000 MW of green power by 2030. India had submitted on October 2, coinciding with Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, its action plan on climate change, called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, pledging to slash emissions by 33-35 percent over 15 years, while also pursuing its own sustainable development agenda. These submissions, asked from the 196 members, will serve as the basis for negotiations.
In terms of the global agenda, India’s environment minister Prakash Javadekar has already spelt out that developed countries have been the major polluters over centuries and should assume greater role in fighting global warming by funding and transferring low-cost technology to developing nations. President Barack Obama has already changed gears to shift his focus from the terrorist attacks in Paris to the global response to climate change. “What a powerful rebuke to the terrorists it will be when the world stands as one and shows that we will not be deterred from building a better future for our children,”Obama said at a press conference of the climate conference. The issue has become a hallmark of Obama’s second term and the American president is determined to leave on the climate policy his signature. “He comes to Paris with a moral authority that no other president has had on the issue of climate change,” said a presidential historian to New York Times, noting that Obama’s domestic climate efforts already stand alone in American history. “No other president has had a climate change policy. It makes him unique.”
Speaking out on the issue in his regular radio programme, “Mann ki
Baat,” Modi said on Sunday: “The whole world is worried about climate change. There are discussions everywhere over it and concerns are being expressed. There is acceptance of it as an index before any work is done. The temperature of the Earth should not increase now. It is the responsibility and concern of all.”In his address, Modi also touched on the subject of the recent floods in Tamil Nadu that are believed to be one of the after effects of the worsening global climate situation. He said: “We keep receiving news about natural disasters from every corner of the world. We had never heard of or imagined such tragedies earlier. We are now experiencing the impact of fast-changing climate. In our own country, massive rains recently hit Tamil Nadu and caused losses to it as well as other states.” The prime minister, who has skipped an important session of Parliament to attend this global event, has a busy international agenda with global leaders during his stay in Paris. Along with the French President, he will jointly host a meeting of International Solar Alliance. After Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s unilateral offer to have talks with India without any pre-condition an unscripted meeting with him cannot be ruled out as both prime ministers would be in Paris for the global summit.
INDIA’S CLIMATE AGENDA
The following are the highlights of India’s position:
- Formation of solar alliance
- To strive for equitable and just climate agreement
- Push for funding and technology transfer from developed countries
- Propose a healthy and sustainable way of living based on tradition, conservation and moderation
- Propose to cut CO2 emissions by 2-3 billion tonnes by 2030 through forest, tree cover
- Mobilise funds from rich nations for bridge resources required towards mitigation
- Push for global framework for quick diffusion of technology and collaborations