Paris: In a sharp message to developed nations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today underlined that the "lifestyles of a few" must not crowd out opportunities for developing countries and that the burden of reducing carbon emissions should not be shifted to countries like India.
Asserting that climate change is a major global challenge, Prime Minister Modi said it is the result of global warming which was "not of our making" but India is today facing consequences of progress of the industrialised countries powered by fossil fuel as seen in the risks to its farmers, changes in weather pattern and intensity of natural disasters.
PM Modi also said the world must act with urgency to craft a comprehensive, equitable and durable agreement to limit global warming.
In a forthright address on the margins of the UN climate change summit that got underway, PM Modi also wanted developed countries to make "adjustments" to sharply reduce their carbon emissions, as he called for a change in lifestyles so that the burden on the planet is reduced, observing the lifestyles of a few must not crowd out opportunities for developing countries.
"Climate change is a major global challenge. But it is not of our making," PM Modi said, as he inaugurated a unique India Pavilion at the summit venue, showcasing the country's commitment to combat green-house gas emission.
Noting that the outcome of the summit is very important, the Prime Minister said, "We want the world to work with urgency. We want a comprehensive, equitable and durable agreement which must lead us to restore the balance between humanity and Nature and between what we have inherited and what we will leave behind."
The Prime Minister referred to the need for change in lifestyles both in his address and in an article in the Opinion section of today's edition of 'Financial Times'.
"And, I will also call for a change in lifestyles, so that we reduce the burden on our planet. For, the enduring success of our efforts will depend on the way we live and think," he told his audience at the pavilion.
In his article, PM Modi said, "the lifestyles of a few must not crowd out opportunities for the many still on the first steps of the development ladder."
He also warned developed nations that it would be "morally wrong" if they shift the burden of reducing emissions on developing countries like India, observing that poor nations had a right to burn carbon to grow their economies.
He said India's progress is "our destiny and right of our people. But we must also lead in combating climate change." PM Modi, accompanied by Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, went to various stalls at the Pavilion and later released a book on environment protection.
"Our Pavilion reflected our commitment towards combating climate change," said Mr Javadekar.
The pavilion will also showcase films on adaptation measures taken up by India.
Officials said that around 40 films which will have around 21GB of information on adaptations will continuously run on the screen.
There are touch screens to provide information to visitors on how India has taken adaptation measures in four regions, including conservation of coral reefs in Gulf of Mannar, glacier protection in Ladakh, heat action plans in Ahmedabad and Gujarat amongst others.