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India committed to emission cuts: PM

Posted on Jan 31, 04:13PM | IBNS

New Delhi, Jan 31 : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said India is committed to meeting its domestic mitigation goal of reducing the carbon emissions intensity of GDP by 20-25pc by year 2020 compared with 2005 levels, but the developed countries should also follow suit and honour their commitments to meet the climate change challenges.

Speaking at the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit here, the PM said: "We have already taken several major steps on the path of low carbon growth. Now is the time for the richer industrialized countries to show that they too are willing to move decisively along this path."

"If they fail to do that in the commitments they will make under the Kyoto Protocol and other agreements, then it will be difficult to persuade governments, industry and the general public in India and other developing countries to step up the pace at which they are moving on this path," he said at the inaugural session of the summit.

"Climate change has become the face of many challenges in our pursuit of sustainable development. This problem can only be tackled through coordinated global action. It is therefore crucial to look at sustainable development from a global rather than a purely national perspective," he said.

"Nevertheless, given the varying levels of development across the world, it is important that our responses be predicated on the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities. I am happy that the recent Doha climate conference reaffirmed these principles. They should form the bedrock of future arrangements post-2020 and we should ensure that the development aspirations and poverty reduction efforts of the developing countries are not constrained," he said.

"The adoption of a second commitment period till 2020 under the Kyoto Protocol for emissions reductions by the industrialized world is also a welcome development. But, real progress cannot be achieved if developed countries are not willing to enhance their ambition levels," he said.

He said if rich countries fail to do their bit in their commitments they will make under the Kyoto Protocol and other agreements, then it will be difficult to persuade governments, industry and the general public in India and other developing countries to step up the pace at which they are moving on this path.

"When we talk about efficient use of resources, we have to also focus on many other areas which are crucial in ensuring the sustainability of the earth's ecosystems. Biological diversity is an important environmental resource for developing countries, which touches the lives of common people. We have to ensure that this is preserved and used carefully, gainfully and sustainably," he said.

"Last year, India hosted the 11th Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biodiversity in Hyderabad. An important outcome was the recognition of biodiversity as a driver of sustainable development and environmental protection and an agreement to create institutional mechanisms that would facilitate financial and technological flows to developing countries for protecting biodiversity. We hope that the decisions taken will be fully implemented," he said.

The PM said India is fully conscious of the need to conserve its resources through their utilization in a truly sustainable manner.

"We believe that efficient use of resources has to begin with ensuring the efficiency of use of human resources, and this requires building skills, capabilities and systems by which countries can ensure higher efficiency in every human endeavour. In Hyderabad last year, I announced an allocation of USD 50 million as part of the Hyderabad pledge to strengthen the institutional mechanisms for biodiversity conservation in India," he said.

"In the field of climate change, our National Action Plan on Climate Change is now an important part of our development strategy, both nationally and at the level of states. One of its eight missions mandates the establishment of 20,000 MW of power generating potential using solar energy within the next 10 years," he said.

"I also recall launching from this very platform in 2008 the TERI programme on 'Lighting a Billion Lives'. I am informed that this programme has now benefitted around 2000 villages in the country where families and households are using lanterns charged by solar energy to provide them with clean, reliable and pollution-free lighting. This programme has also been extended to countries in Africa and other parts of Asia," he said.

The PM said one resource of particular concern to India and in many other developing countries is that of fresh water.

"The depletion of groundwater has already become a major problem in many districts in our country. Meeting the rising urban demand for fresh water implies rising costs as supplies have to come from great and greater distances. Projections of water demand and availability give an alarming picture of rising scarcities. We need, therefore, to focus attention on water conservation and water efficiency with the sort of zeal that today drives energy conservation and efficiency in the use of energy," he said