PM Modi’s ‘good friend’ Donald Trump has accused China, India and Russia of not taking care of their "filthy air," even as he justified America's withdrawal from the "unfair" Paris climate agreement.
"Look at China, how filthy it is. Look at Russia. Look at India, it's filthy. The air is filthy," Trump said during the final presidential debate with his Democratic challenger Joe Biden in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday night.
Strictly speaking, the air in several north Indian cities is nothing to write home about, especially in winter; the residents have to bear with a toxic mix caused by stubble burning, vehicular emission, fireworks etc. In fact, according to the pollution monitoring agency, one-fourth of Delhi air is 'severely' polluted and residents often claim to have breathing difficulties.
Trump's remarks were the top of the trends on Twitter but users seemed to connect them more with the "Howdy! Modi" extravaganza and less with the lethal cocktail that envelops them at all times.
Congress leader Kapil Sibal was a case in point. Describing it as fruits of friendship, almost mocking at Trump’s special equation with Modi, he recalled how the US president has also questioned the accuracy of India's COVID data besides branding it a "tariff king." All this is the result of "Howdy Modi "! Sibal tweeted.
Trump, a known climate change sceptic, has repeatedly blamed countries like India and China for not doing enough on climate change. In 2017, Trump pulled the US out of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, saying the international deal to keep global temperatures rises below 2 degree Celsius was disadvantageous to US workers. He has also continuously argued that countries like China and India are benefiting the most from the Paris agreement.
Speaking to his cheering supporters at an election rally in North Carolina last week, Trump had charged: "We have the best environmental numbers, ozone numbers, and so many other numbers. In the meantime, China, Russia and India, all these countries, they're spewing stuff into the air."
(For the record, China is the world's biggest carbon emitter followed by the US, India and the EU.)
Presidential race rival Biden, on the other hand, has said that if voted to power in November, he would re-join the historic Paris agreement on climate change and hold countries like China accountable for pollution.