Rich nations that “powered their way to prosperity on fossil fuel” must shoulder the greatest burden in the fight against global warming, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote in the Financial Times ahead of the Paris climate talks on Monday.
His article issues a blunt warning to advanced countries that have been pushing big emerging economies to share equal or more financial responsibility to combat climate change — a sticking point before the nearly 200 countries meet at the two-week Paris talks.
“We expect the same from the world with respect to responding to climate change. The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities should be the bedrock of our collective enterprise,” he writes.
According to FT, this principle underpinned the 1997 Kyoto protocol, which only required wealthy nations to cut their emissions.
“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 still on the first steps of the development ladder,” Modi writes.
The Prime Minister emphasised on the need for cleaner energy alternatives. India, which is the world’s fourth-largest carbon emitter, will launch an international alliance among 121 solar-rich countries.
“Since science has moved on and alternative energy sources are available, they (rich nations) argue that those just beginning their development journey bear no less responsibility than those who have reached the zenith of their progress. New awareness, however, should lead advanced countries to assume more responsibility. Just because technology exists does not mean it is affordable and accessible,” he writes.