Twitter, TIME and Paris: CSE chief takes on US ambassador Richard Verma

  • Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 25, 2016 12:45 IST
US ambassador to India, Richard Verma tweeted out his congratulations to Indians on the TIME’s 100 most influential people in the world, but didn’t mention the director general of CSE, Sunita Narain who was also named by TIME. (Virendra Singh Gosain/Hindustan Times)

The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)’s tough stand against the US’ climate change policies seemingly spilled onto Twitter after the centre’s director general was named among TIME’s list of 100 most influential people.

US ambassador to India, Richard Verma had twitted out his congratulations to the Indians on the list, including Priyanka Chopra, Sania Mirza, Sudhir Pichai and Binny and Sachin Bansal, but conspicuously omitted Sunita Narain, CSE’s chief.

Quick to point it out, Narain took to Twitter and asked Verma whether she was deliberately left out because her views on climate change were too “inconvenient” for the United States. “I am also listed in TIME100,” Narain wrote. She jokingly added, “I may not be as sexy as Sania or Priyanka.”

Narain was ranked by the magazine for taking up the issues of environment and climate justice at the global level.

The reason for the seeming unfriendliness between the two is apparently CSE’s publication Captain America that came out before the Paris climate summit in December 2015 which contradicted US president Barack Obama’s stand on climate change.

While Obama was asking the world to adopt low carbon growth and sign the ambitious Paris climate deal, the US would continue to emit high rate of emissions, the book claimed. “The US is the villain of climate change,” Narain had said at the time.

Indian officials used data from the publication to show that US had not done enough to fight climate change, apparently irking the US team at the Paris climate summit, led by Secretary of State John Kerry.

Read more | Paris climate deal a compromise, will lead to 3 degree temp rise: CSE

The US embassy, however, did not give any reason for Verma’s actions.

In including Narain on the list, TIME Magazine appreciated her role for opposing “environmentalism of the elite” and speaking for the poor. Novelist Amitav Ghosh wrote in the magazine appreciating Narain for taking up the cause for poor forest dwellers and indigenous people.

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