Climate Justice: Indian PM: ‘developing countries must be allowed to grow’
Rich countries which developed their society through fossil fuels must allow developing countries to do the same, said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Writing in the Financial Times in the UK to coincide with the opening of the global climate change conference in Paris, Mr Modi called for climate justice for India and other developing countries.”
“Justice demands that, with what little carbon we can still safely burn, developing countries are allowed to grow. The lifestyles of a few must not crowd out opportunities for the many still on the first steps of the development ladder,” he said.
“Some say advanced countries powered their way to prosperity on fossil fuel when humanity was unaware of its impact.
“Since science has moved on and alternative energy sources are available, they argue that those just beginning their development journey bear no less responsibility than those who have reached the zenith of their progress.
“New awareness, however, should lead advanced countries to assume more responsibility. Just because technology exists does not mean it is affordable and accessible,” he added.
Mr Modi said that the best political and technical measures will be ineffective unless world leaders review the lifestyle that overburdens the planet.
He said that India was doing its part such as launching, with France, an international solar alliance with 121 solar-rich countries in the tropics, aiming to bring affordable solar power to villages that are off the grid.
“We expect the same from the world with respect to responding to climate change. The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities should be the bedrock of our collective enterprise. Anything else would be morally wrong,” he said.
The prime minister said that as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, India was seeking to meet the aspirations of 1.25 billion people and to take a sustainable path to development.
Leaders from more than 150 countries are meeting to agree on a global climate change pact – the second since the Kyoto Protocol was signed in 1997.
In his opening address, French President Francoise Hollande told world leaders that concrete action is needed.
“To resolve the climate crisis, good will and statements of intent are not enough,” he said, “we are at breaking point”.
He also said that the fight against terrorism and global warming were closely linked.
“I can't separate the fight with terrorism from the fight against global warming,” he said at the opening of the talks, two weeks after a terrorist attack in the French capital left 130 dead.
“These are two big global challenges we have to face up to, because we have to leave our children more than a world freed of terror, we also owe them a planet protected from catastrophes.”
There have been protest rallies across the global coinciding with the start of the conference calling for concrete action as the Kyoto Protocol was regarded as a failure because big rich industrialised countries did not live up to agreements rich.
Other countries such as India and China did not sign it while the United States, though signing it, did not ratify it.