Partnership will decide fate of the planet, says Modi

Developed nations with larger carbon footprint, should take the lead in addressing the climate change issues

GN Bureau | December 1, 2015




Prime minister Narendra Modi was a busy person on Monday at the COP 21 summit in Paris. He addressed the conference, launched the International Solar Alliance with French president Francois Hollande, spoke at the Innovation Summit with other world leaders and held bilateral talks with several leaders including US president Barack Obama and Japan's Shinzo Abe.

Paris Climate Conference will for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally binding universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.

Addressing the COP 21 summit, he cautioned against any unilateral steps that will lead to an economic barrier in the battle against climate change as he hoped that the developed countries would mobilise $100 billion annually by 2020 for mitigation and adaptation.

"The principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities must remain the bedrock of our collective enterprise," Modi said, adding that there should be aggressive mitigative action by developed countries by 2020.

Modi also underlined the need for a national will and genuine global partnership while taking steps to hammer out a climate change deal.

"We look to the developed countries to mobilise 100 billion US Dollars annually by 2020 for mitigation and adaptation," he said.

Noting that conventional energy was still needed, he said it should be made clean and an end to its use should not be imposed. "And, there should be no place for unilateral steps that become economic barriers for others." Modi called on the developed nations to fulfil their commitment in a credible, transparent and meaningful manner.

As negotiators from over 190 countries sit down over the next few days to hammer out an agreement, Modi said developed nations, which have a larger carbon footprint, should take the lead in addressing the climate change issues.

"It is not just a question of historical responsibility. We hope advanced nations will assume ambitious targets and pursue them as they have the most room for impact," Modi said at COP 21 plenary.

At the start of his address, Modi refereed to the horrific Paris attacks earlier this month that claimed over 120 lives.

"The pain of Paris is yet to heal. So, I speak in admiration for your resilience and resolve. And, I salute the world for standing, in full strength, with France and Paris," Modi said.

The Prime Minister also told the audience that democratic India must grow rapidly to meet the aspirations of 1.25 billion people, 300 million of whom are without access to energy.

"The prosperous still have a strong carbon footprint but the world's billions at the bottom of the development ladder are seeking space to grow," Modi said.

"We will succeed if we have the wisdom to craft a collective partnership that balances responsibilities and capabilities," he said.

Modi asserted that conventional energy was needed but it should be made clean.

He noted that over next few days, nations will decide the fate of this planet.

Asserting that the choices are "not easy", Modi said, "we have awareness and technology. We need now national will and a genuine global partnership." Modi also listed India's ambitious targets to tackle climate change. By 2030, India will reduce emissions by 35 per cent of 2005 levels, and 40 per cent of its installed capacity will be from non-fossil fuels, he highlighted.

He said there was a need for a strong agreement on adaptation and loss and damage.

"Developed countries must fulfil their responsibility to make clean energy available, affordable and accessible to all in the developing world. This is in our collective interest," Modi said.

"Energy is a basic human need. So, we need an ambitious technology initiative, driven by a public purpose, not just market incentives. For this, we need to scale up Green Climate Fund that will improve access to technology and intellectual property," he said.

Modi highlighted that the presence of 196 countries gives a message that there is a chance to unite behind a common purpose. "We will succeed if we have the wisdom and courage to craft a genuinely collective partnership that balances responsibilities and capabilities with aspirations and needs. I am confident that we will," he concluded.

Innovation Summit

Developed nations must leave enough room for developing countries to grow, PM Modi also said, asserting that the life of a "few" should not crowd out the opportunities for the many still on the initial steps of the development ladder.

Noting that innovation is vital for combating climate change and ensuring climate justice, Modi also urged the world to come together in a partnership to bring clean energy within the reach of all.

"We have to ensure, in the spirit of climate justice, that the life of a few does not crowd out the opportunities for the many still on the initial steps of the development ladder. The advanced countries must leave enough room for developing countries to grow. We must strive for a lighter carbon footprint on our growth path," Modi said at the Innovation Summit on the sidelines of the Conference of Parties (COP 21).

"For that we must come together in a partnership to bring clean energy within the reach of all. Innovation is vital for combating climate change and ensuring climate justice. We need research and innovation to make renewable energy much cheaper, more reliable and easier to connect to transmission grids," he said.

Noting that there is a need to make conventional energy cleaner while developing newer sources of renewable energy, Modi said this is a global responsibility for the collective future.

"Our innovation initiative should be driven by public purpose, not just market incentives, including on intellectual property. That also means strong public commitment by suppliers to developing countries," Modi said.

"That will make clean energy technology available, accessible and affordable for all. This partnership will combine the responsibility of governments with the innovative capacity of the private sector. We will double our investments in research and innovation and deepen collaboration among ourselves," he said.

Modi observed that there should be an international network of 30-40 universities and labs focusing for next ten years on renewable energy and said innovation must be backed by means to make it affordable and ensure adoption.

Earlier, Modi and Obama met as part of "Mission Innovation" which was announced by the US earlier.

It is an initiative to dramatically accelerate public and private global clean energy innovation to address global climate change, provide affordable clean energy to consumers, including in the developing world, and create additional commercial opportunities in clean energy.

Later, Modi left for New Delhi on Monday night after wrapping up his two-day Paris visit.

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