India wants right to carbon space to uplift millions from poverty

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Barack Obama and Chinese premier Xi Jinping are among 150 heads of state gathering in Paris to push negotiators for an ambitious climate deal to be taken up during a UN conference beginning on Monday to tackle global warming.

Around 175 countries have tabled INDCs, or pledges, to cut their carbon emissions which, if implemented, would limit global warming to 2.7°C by the turn of the century. The figure is higher than the UN goal of keeping the temperature rise to within 2°C.

Before leaving for Paris, Modi urged people around the world through his monthly radio show on Sunday to conserve energy, citing it as a crucial measure to take on climate change.

“Climate change, global warming are issues of discussion and concern,” he said in the programme Mann ki Baat. “Energy conservation is the first solution to stop rising temperature. This is everyone’s responsibility.”

With their climate action plans for 2030 on the table, negotiators from nearly 200 countries will aim to clinch a futuristic deal that takes the world on a low-carbon growth path.

India’s leading climate negotiator and director general of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Ajay Mathur, said the Paris climate agreement would not only be for the 2020-30 period, but an “evolving” document to provide a climate framework for the future.

The Indian team led by environment minister Prakash Javadekar will raise the issue of India’s right to carbon space in a bid to lift around 300 million from poverty and energy deprivation. Sources said Modi is expected to talk about “carbon budget” and “climate justice” for the poor in his opening address at the summit.

“We want an equitable and just climate agreement,” Javadekar told HT, adding that India will not bow to any kind of pressure. “We have asked the rich nations to walk the talk on their commitments as India is already doing its bit to fight climate change.”

US lead negotiator Todd Stern said at a news briefing this week his country was looking for a broad and fully participatory agreement, while the European Union said on Sunday they were hoping for a binding pact in Paris. The most-vulnerable least-developed and island nations, on the other hand, seek a treaty for a climate resilient global economy, paving the way for more funds to adapt.

Following this month’s terror attacks, France has deployed around 1,20,000 security personnel to ensure a hassle-free conference that officially ends on December 11. Already, around 1,000 people, considered security risks, have been refused permission to enter the country.

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