PM in Paris, Minister Maneka Gandhi in Delhi: 2 Voices on Climate Change

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Union minister Maneka Gandhi speaks to NDTV


New Delhi:  On the world stage, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took on developed nations, bluntly telling them at the Paris climate change summit that it would be "morally wrong" if they shift the burden of reducing emissions on developing countries like India. But back home, one of his top ministers has contradicted that stand.

Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi, who is known for her passion for the green cause, said today that the Chennai rain crisis was a result of climate change and called India one of main contributors to the global problem.

"It is a question of putting the blame always...the west did it. They may have done it 100 years ago. India is one of the main players in destroying the climate," Maneka Gandhi told NDTV.

Listing coal, animals and paddy as the three main contributors to methane, she said: "We are the largest producers of methane - we, china and Brazil. Yet we do not think about methane. Methane is 26 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in creating climate change."

The prime minister had said in Paris last week that "climate change is not of our making".

"It is not just question of historical responsibility... We hope advanced nations will assume ambitious targets and pursue them as they have the most room for impact," PM Modi said in his address at the Climate Change summit.

Mrs Gandhi's comments came in connection with Chennai, which is battling a massive flood crisis after the worst rain in nearly 100 years.

"In Chennai, of course its climate warming, the moment you have the weather change and vou have even a one degree difference, it will rain more and more and more... From now, for the next 10 years, it will be raining all the time, more and more in unexpected places. Either we gear up... Nobody has connected climate change with economic disaster. Everybody keeps thinking we can do wonderful things economically but climate change is kabhi kabhi baarish aeyegi (sometimes it will rain)."

Questioned about the government's stand that India has relatively low carbon dioxide emission, Mrs Gandhi said: "It's rubbish. We have been saying that for 50 years. And in the meantime we go on and on and on."

While the government has not commented yet, a senior minister said that there would be consultations with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


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