The strong commitment to the Paris climate agreement by India and Mexico could make the deal work despite the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the 2015 accord, says an official of Mexico’s National Council of Science & Technology (CONACYT). “We are talking about two very big countries with a very significant population and a lot of manufacturing. Countries like India, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa and some other big developing countries staying behind Paris pact… that could work… even if the US is temporarily not part of the agreement,” Arturo Borja, Director of CONACYT’s International Cooperation, told IANS on the sidelines of the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting here.
Borja’s comments come against the backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with President Donald Trump last month. Borja lauded India’s thrust on renewables and asserted if the US doesn’t also make the switch, it will be in a disadvantaged position in the future. “Renewable energies are fundamental to overcoming the problem of climate change. We will be using more and more renewables in the future. If the US doesn’t make that technological change, it will be at a disadvantage in the future,” he said.
Talking about India-Mexico cooperation in science and technology, he highlighted the linkages revolving around seismology, solar energy and water technology. “In the National Council we chose strategic partner countries and India is one of them because India is playing a very important role internationally, particularly in science. India is investing a lot of resources. Indian science is very robust; so we are looking at ways to develop bridges with India,” he explained.
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The other pull factor for Mexico to collaborate with India is based on common social problems. “India faces a lot of challenges that we face in Mexico… water access for the marginalised populations, rural areas, new energies and the like. We share social challenges that science can resolve,” he said. Noting that both the countries invest close to $1 million every two years in S&T projects, Borja batted for a bigger budget in international cooperation.
“Mexico puts $500,000 and India puts the same and we open a call for joint proposals. We wish if we had a bigger budget in international cooperation in the Council, we would do a lot more with India and a few other countries,” he remarked. “Unfortunately the oil prices went down and the budget in Mexico has been very strict and there have been cuts and we are not doing as much with India we would like to,” he lamented. Asked on Trump’s plan to build an “impenetrable” wall between the US and Mexico, Borja said the President does not have the budget to execute this.
“As in many other issues, Trump has found its not easy to change things and it is very easy to make promises during campaign and he has not got the budget to build walls and probably he will not get it because many in US Congress think it’s useless to build a wall. While Trump has always insisted on Mexico paying for it, the latter has been equally insistent on the opposite. “Trump has not really had an impact on scientific relations between the US and Mexico,” Borja signed off.