Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan at the 4th World Conference of Parliament Speakers at UN (Press Trust of India)
Calling on developed countries to take responsibility for protecting the global environment, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has cited the example of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to the well-off to voluntarily give up their cooking gas subsidies to help the poor.
Addressing the Fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament in United Nations Monday, Ms Mahajan said that developing countries alone cannot be made to bear the brunt of efforts to ensure global sustainability.
"A global common approach to sustainability demands that developed countries, which bear the historical responsibility for climate change and have better financial and technological resources, must lead by example," she said.
For the rich to contribute to the betterment of the poor, she cited the effort in India which could be replicated on an international scale. "The finest example of inclusive growth has been witnessed in India when at the call of our Prime Minister millions of well to do people have voluntarily surrendered subsidy on LPG to help the poor," she said.
Ms Mahajan rejected the imposition of goals or standards from outside on developing countries for sustainable development or dealing with climate change. "No sovereign country should be subjected to external oversight mechanism or benchmark with regard to progress on these goals," she said.
As the November UN Climate Change Conference approaches, developing countries - and in particular, India - have come under intense pressure from developed nations to cut their carbon emissions to counteract global warming.
These demands do not take into account the fact that historically western nations achieved their level of development and standards of living through highly polluting industrialisation. Morever, on a per capita basis, the greenhouse emissions of developed nations are far greater than developing countries: According to the World Bank data, an American's share of greenhouse gas emissions is ten times that of an Indian.