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Modi Underlines Paris Climate Summit's Significance For India's Future

The Indian pavilion at COP21 showcases the country's commitment to climate change and renewable energy initiatives

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi underlined the importance of Paris Climate Summit, saying the outcome of the meeting of world leaders will have a great impact on the future. As the COP-21 summit started on 30 November 2015, Modi inaugurated the Indian pavilion. In his inaugural speech, Modi mentioned that the summit is of immense significance for India's future and called the pavilion as the window to India's rich heritage and progress, tradition, technology, aspirations and achievements.

He also mentioned that India's economic growth momentum is a subject of international attention and a source of global opportunity. He said India's progress will not only accelerate growth of one-sixth of the global population but it will also pave the path for progress and development of the world as a whole.

The Indian pavilion at COP21 showcases the country's commitment to climate change and renewable energy initiatives. The prime minister made a point by mentioning that climate change is the result of global warming that came from an industrial age powered by fossil fuel. He also expressed his worries about the rising sea levels, retreating glaciers and increasing temperatures. He appealed to the global leaders that India wants the world to act with urgency and is looking for a comprehensive, equitable and durable agreement based on the principal of equity and common but differentiated responsibility, which will lead in restoring the balance between the humanity and nature. He called out for a partnership in which those who have the luxury of choices and the capability of technology will make adjustment to sharply reduce their carbon emission.

The prime minister said the Indian government is committed for providing clean air, clean rivers, resilient farms, healthy habitats and forest rich with life. He mentioned that we should not just aim for higher income but for a better quality of life. He highlighted the fact that in Indian culture and tradition nature has always been treated as mother so it is meant to be nurtured and not to be exploited. He also mentioned the steps government is taking in order to reduce its carbon emissions through massive investment in renewable energy sources and by making environment friendly policies which will reduce the pressure on scares resources. He also highlighted the government's ambition to undertake mass level investment in research and innovation in clean energy. He said the government is working to make conventional energy sources such as coal cleaner and renewable energy cheap and more convenient to install for household use.

As the summit started, all eyes were on India this time as India is the fastest growing economies and 3rd largest greenhouse gas emitter only after the US and China. India has announced that it will reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33-35 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels, achieve 40 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based resources by 2030 and create and additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

Although a lot of hue and cry has been made by the developed world over India's increasing emissions levels but the reality is that despite having close to 20 per cent of the world population, India only accounts for 3 per cent of its historical global emissions. And while its aggregate current emissions accounts for only 6 per cent of annual global emissions, making India 3rd highest green house gas emitter in the world, this is still significantly lower than its share of global world population would warrant. The average Indian is responsible for just 1.6 tons of CO2 a year. Meanwhile, the average American accounts for a whopping 16.4 tons, the average Japanese for 10.4 tons and the average European for 7.4 tons.

India is taking a proactive role this time in combating climate challenges by spearheading a global solar alliance. Modi launched the initiative at the summit where India invited many developed nations to join it in this alliance. The Solar Alliance seeks to secure better finance and technological support from investors in the growing renewable energy market and to foster a genuine global public partnership that makes clean energy affordable which provides finance and technology to developing countries; and the means to adapt to the impact of climate change.

While there is going to be a lot of pressure from the developed nations on India regarding reducing its carbon emissions, India's environment minister has made it clear it will not bow into pressure from developed countries during the summit. He stressed that India would not be bullied by countries, including the US. The firm stand came amid comments from US Secretary of State John Kerry, who said India would be "a challenge" during the climate change negotiations.

For next two weeks there will be a lot of unusual political intrigue and drama. Let's hope that our world leaders are able to reach consensuses which pave a path for bright and sustainable future of the earth.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Pranav Sharma

Young entrepreneur and founder of Augmen which works with development sector agencies, NGOs and startups by empowering them to work more efficiently by developing technology, solutions and strategies for fast paced and sustainable growth

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