India on Saturday told the UN General Assembly that countries that have exploited the nature for their immediate needs cannot abdicate their responsibilities and developed nations must lift the deprived with financial and technical resources. Under-developed and developing nations are the worst victims of climate change and these neither have the capacity nor the resources to meet this crisis, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in her address to the General Debate of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly here.
“The biggest challenge of our era comes from the existential threats of climate change and terrorism,” she said. “Those who have exploited nature for their immediate needs cannot abdicate their responsibilities. If we have to save the world from the adverse effects of climate change, then developed nations must lift the deprived with financial and technical resources,” Swaraj said.
She asserted that the principle of common and differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities was reiterated in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.
Swaraj told the 193-member UN body that India has risen to meet the challenge of climate change. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in partnership with France launched the International Solar Alliance (ISA). The ISA is a treaty-based body which intends to promote solar energy in the 121 tropical countries.
Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron were conferred this week with the UN’s highest environmental honour — Champions of the Earth Award — for their contributions. The two leaders are recognised in the Policy Leadership category for their pioneering work in championing the ISA and promoting new areas of levels of cooperation on environmental action, including Macron’s work on the Global Pact for the Environment and Modi’s unprecedented pledge to eliminate all single-use plastic in India by 2022, she said.
Swaraj said that the ISA now has 68 nations and in March, India and France chaired the Founding Conference of the ISA in which 120 countries participated. “Our Prime Minister has described his vision of sustainable and available energy in a typically apt phrase: One Sun, One Grid. This breakthrough concept can become the solution we seek to the problems,” Swaraj said.
Earlier this week in the high-level meeting on climate change convened by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Swaraj said India is willing to take the lead in climate action and the country’s commitment to combat climate change is rooted in its ethos, which considers Earth as mother.
India is the sixth largest producer of renewable energy, and fifth largest producer of solar energy in the world. It has set a target of generating 175 Giga Watts of solar and wind energy by 2022. India has installed over 300 million LED bulbs saving USD 2 billion and 4 GW of electricity.
She also cited the example of the Kochi airport which is the first solar-powered airport in the world. The Cochin International Airport was also among six of the world’s most outstanding environmental changemakers recognised this week with the Champions of the Earth Award.
The airport took home the award for Entrepreneurial Vision for its leadership in the use of sustainable energy. “The UN Environment said that Cochin is showing the world that our ever-expanding network of global movement doesn’t have to harm the environment. “As the pace of society continues to increase, the world’s first fully solar-powered airport is proof positive that green business is good business,” she added.