Dismissing Western media’s criticism over its coal consumption to meet energy needs, India today said that such reports will not deter the country from its stand at the crucial climate change conference here.
“Certain criticism without attributing any motive to them, I take it as compliment. It does not deter me from my positions,” Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said.
His comments came after India was targeted by the Western media for its expansion plans for usage of coal to meet its energy needs.
India has said it was ready to reduce its reliance on coal if the developed nations provide it with finance and technology to switch to clean energy sources.
India in its climate action plan has announced its ambitious plans to have 40 per cent of its electricity from renewables by 2030.
“When we are increasing our renewable by seven fold, definitely our coal consumption comes down. In absolute terms, US and many other countries, are much more than us.
“If we are third largest emitter, we might be third in sequence but the smallest. India is burning 1/7th of coal that the first two (emitters) are doing,” he said on the first day of ministerial-level talks at the summit.
When asked about a US proposal to expand the donor base for climate financing, Javadekar said that the USD 100 billion as committed by certain parties should be fulfilled first.
“100 billions dollars is a commitment of certain parties…If you promise something you have to walk the talk. They need to fulfil the commitment. Climate action cost is not limited to 100 billion dollars. The annual cost of climate actions is in trillions of dollars which each country is going to bear,” he said.
“Even the developing world will bear majority of cost of its mitigation and adaptation. 100 billion is a very important and symbolic gesture. One should not run away from it. We helped Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, African countries and many others.
“If we are doing this, it is our bilateral voluntary action. That is additional. It does not become a part of 100 billion dollars. We are doing our actions bilaterally, it is not part of the 100 billion dollars. The commitment by some should come first.
“There should not be double accounting. That should be a clean exercise which will create a new confidence in the world. Let that happen,” the Minister said.
Commenting about the debate that is going on in the conference about limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, Javadekar said that that is a point which nobody will oppose.
“I say freeze it now. Why they should rise further. There is no issue of opposing 1.5 degree target. Science has proved that we have only 3,000 Giga tonnes of carbon space to maintain below 2 degrees. Already 2,000 GT is occupied and 90 per cent of that is by developing countries. Only 1,000 remains. If somebody now says, freeze it today I will say okay.
“But first allow us the carbon space. You cant have two worlds where one world develops and the other is not allowed to…Climate justice is about poor countries and poor in the world. We must start delivering in human intent and intentions, science and technology that will change the whole debate,” he said.
He maintained that practically a majority of the country have given a ten year cycle period of their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).
“What is the general and broad agreement that after ten year, one would give more progressive INDCs and there will be no backsliding. That is where convergence has taken place and we should build on that. We should not think we have to review every year. If some country thinks that they can. Our biennial report is ready and we will soon announce it,” he said.
Asked about India’s stand on the element of loss and damage which is also being deliberated, Javadekar pointed out to the example of Chennai floods.
“Its a curious irony of whole dialogue. In terms of loss and damage, if I take the case of loss and damage of Chennai, developed world will immediately say it is not case of loss and damage as it has not been conclusively proved that the floods were climate event but say it was a natural event. Natural event is not a case for loss and damage. We should come out with this,” he said.
Commenting about India’s focus on technology transfer, Javadekar said that finance is a key thing for getting technology and climate change can be mitigated through development of science.
“Finance is also needed for technology. The climate change can be mitigated through the development of science and technology. And faster dissemination at a affordable cost. We are seeking justice for all developing world. There are certain countries which have technology advantage and I wish them best.
“They have built their capacities and they should expand. But once you decided to fight HIV-AIDS, the world came out with solutions by not thinking about IPR, patents and license fees. We came out with an extraordinary solution to deal with extraordinary situations.
“I think climate change is a bigger threat than HIV…To that end the world has to develop. I never say researchers should be robbed. But they should be well compensated. Shun the patent no..shun the IPR no,” he said.
Javadekar also termed China’s development in the last 30-40 years as a “story” in itself and said India is working with close cooperation with China and BASIC countries.