Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Commentary: Paris Climate Summit and the Indian viewpoint

The Indian Prime Minister is back in India after a short visit to Paris for the International Climate Summit. But the Indian experts will continue to negotiate concrete terms in Paris during the week and next. Long before the conference, US Secretary of State John Kerry had declared India to be a challenge during the Paris meet, a remark that the Indian government did not appreciate. Spelled out by Narendra Modi in Paris, the Indian position on controls over carbon emission is as insistent as it is clear and it is indeed difficult to see any other option for India and other countries in a similar position.

Power generation is a most urgent need for a country where a shockingly small population enjoys the benefits of electricity. Add to it the shortfalls for industrial usage and you still arrive at a scale of emissions that remains at one fourth level of China’s. So India is single-mindedly looking at its coal mines as the solution. This is why Modi spoke of ‘climate justice’ in Paris insisting that “developing countries should have enough room to grow.” “We hope advanced nations will assume ambitious targets and pursue them sincerely,” he said. “It is not just a question of historical responsibility. They also have the most room to make the cuts and make the strongest impact.”

Despite the talk of ‘energy justice’, when a clear commitment to curtailing carbon emission was expected, India did initiate an International Solar Alliance (ISA), aiming to reduce greenhouse emissions. All the 121 countries which are located between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn have signed up to the alliance and have met to coordinate their efforts. This article from a global platform takes a fair look at both the urgency for reducing carbon emissions as well as India’s energy needs.

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