Prime Minister Narendra Modi enumerated India’s tough stand at the Paris climate conference, saying any agreement without differentiation would be “morally wrong” and asked rich nations to ratify the second commitment period of the existing climate treaty, Kyoto Protocol.
Modi’s crisp and short speech after a series of meetings with leaders of advanced nations, such as US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron, underpinned India’s unwillingness to budge from its stand and that it would stand up for the poor across the world.
“World’s billions are at the bottom of the ladder and are seeking a place to grow,” he said, addressing the high-level segment of the Paris climate talks.
“India needs to grow as 300 million people are still without access to energy. We are determined to do so.”
Unlike other world leaders, he mentioned that India would not agree to a Paris agreement without a clear differentiation in responsibilities and action between the rich and developing worlds in all elements of the proposed deal such as mitigation, adaptation and transparency.
Rich nations are keen on diluting differentiation in the Paris agreement and, instead, have a universal agreement for all 196 nations who are party to the climate convention.
Modi spoke on all elements of the proposed deal from mitigation to adaptation to technology transfer to proposed transparency mechanism, putting forth India’s point of view. In all, he made India’s stand clear and it may not ring pleasant bells in the ears of negotiators from rich nations.
Their attempt to put curbs on use of coal fuel received a clear no from the Prime Minister. He said conventional energy — coal — was needed for growth and warned against any attempt to impose “barriers to economic growth” in the name of climate change.
Modi’s refrain on Monday was clear that rich nations need to do more to fight climate change and provide enough of the “remaining” carbon space to the developing world to grow and meet aspirations of billions of poor people living there.
Carbon space is the amount of emission that can be added to the atmosphere without huge implications.
“Climate justice demands carbon space and this also means aggressive mitigation action before 2020, including ratification of second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol,” he said, holding the developed world responsible for global warming.
Also, the Prime Minister underscored India’s assistance to the fight against climate change, called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), saying it was doing much more than its capability.