Need to Ensure Climate Justice, Says PM Modi at United Nations

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the United Nations General Assembly.


New York:  The focus on environment needs a recalibration -- from climate change to climate justice -- Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, signalling that India will not give in to pressure at the global climate pact in Paris in December.

"When we speak only of climate change, there is a perception of our desire to secure the comforts of our lifestyle," PM Modi said. "When we speak of climate justice, we demonstrate our sensitivity and resolve to secure the future of the poor from the perils of natural disasters."

Climate justice, he indicated, is a "question on equity", its central principle is common but the responsibility is "differentiated".

India has always maintained that the responsibility of containing climate change - the fallout of a medley of causes including carbon-dioxide emissions and greenhouse gases - is of the developed world and not of the developing countries.

Indicating that developed countries need to change, PM Modi said to address climate change, people not only need to generate clean energy, but also effect a change in lifestyle that makes people "less dependent on energy".

Talking to the media later, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said India's per capita emission is 1.7, America's is 16 or 17.

"So the issue is of equity and justice... You cannot condemn the developing world which is still at a very low carbon stage," he said. "The Prime Minister has consistently said we want development but we want sustainable development."

In the UN climate package passed in Doha in 2012, a commitment was made to scale up funding to help developing countries deal with global warming and convert to planet-friendlier energy sources by 2020.

"I hope that the Developed World will fulfil its financing commitments for development and climate change, without in any way putting both under the same head," PM Modi said. "International partnership must be at the centre of our efforts... and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities is the bedrock of our collective enterprise."


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