Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan at the India pavilion in Bonn, Germany
India considers climate change a "major threat" and will play a "constructive" role in combating it, Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan today said at the UN climate summit which kicked off in Bonn, Germany, today under the shadow of the recent US pullout from the historic Paris Agreement.
Noting that solving the "crisis" of climate change is not a question of politics but a moral obligation, Mr Vardhan said although India's per capita emissions are only one-third of the global average, and its contribution to global stock of carbon dioxide is less than three per cent, it has still moved ahead with implementation of pathbreaking initiatives.
On the first day of the summit, India also called for early time-bound ratification of second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol by developed countries to ensure the highest possible mitigation efforts under the UN Convention by all countries.
The minister said India has been ambitious in its climate change actions and expects other countries to be ambitious based on their historical responsibility. He said contributions of citizens, sustainable lifestyles and climate justice provides an alternative means to address climate change which must be rigorously pursued.
"India considers climate change a major threat to our collective well-being and wishes to play a positive and constructive role in combating it. We have large vulnerable populations and therefore, we take the challenge seriously," Mr Vardhan said.
The 23rd meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) began in Bonn today. After the inauguration of the India pavilion at the summit, Mr Vardhan said countries have gathered at Conference of Parties (COP-23) in Bonn to move forward and work toward developing guidelines for efficient implementation of the Paris Agreement under the convention.
The objective of the Paris Agreement, adopted on December 12, 2015, by 195 parties to the UNFCCC is to prevent an increase in global average temperature and keep it well below 2 degree Celsius.
US President Donald Trump had had announced his decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement on climate change and renegotiate the deal that was agreed upon by over 190 countries during the previous Barack Obama administration.