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India to assert its 'right to grow' in future climate talks

18 June 2014

New Delhi on Tuesday said the developing countries, including India, have a "right to grow" and in the process their "net emission (of greenhouse gases) may increase" even as it reiterated its commitment to reduce emissions.

However, it made its stance in future climate change negotiations clear, saying that the country cannot address the challenges of climate change unless it eradicates poverty through economic growth.

New Delhi's stance is a further confirmation of the recent IB report on how global NGOs are being used by vested interests to undermine growth in developing countries by raising environmental issues.

The new thinking is that the problem of emission has not been created by the developing nations and hence responsibility for addressing it should not be solely put on them.

"We have to reduce our carbon emissions. But, I (India) have not created the carbon emission problem, which has been done by others. But I am not into any blame game. The issue is that I have a right to grow…These are the emerging economies," environment minister Prakash Javadekar said.

His statement, which comes as a strong signal to rich nations on the issue of climate change, assumes significance in the light of a meeting of 'governments, leaders from finance, business, local government and civil society' in New York in September this year to "bring bold and new announcements and action" to keep the earth below the globally agreed two degree temperature rise.

Noting that poverty is an "environmental disaster", Javadekar said "unless we tackle poverty, unless we eradicate poverty, we cannot really address climate change."

"To that end, we need to grow. Our net emission may increase," he said while speaking at a function on the occasion of the "World Day to Combat Desertification".

The remark is meant to strengthen the stance of the BASIC group of nations on the issue of climate change. This bloc of four biggest emerging economies - Brazil, South Africa, India and China - has consistently been articulating developing countries' point of view while seeking bigger actions from rich nation to cut down emissions as part of their historical responsibility.

A hardening of stance in global fora, however, is unlikely to deter India from its  'bigger' responsibility to not only cut down emissions but also help out poor nations in taking various mitigation and adaptation measures.

The ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) is now the ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEFCC) under the new government and Javadekar had shown the same seriousness while speaking at a function to mark the 'World Environment Day' on 5 June when he said India would provide a "new vocabulary to the world in environment conservation" as New Delhi was more conscious to its role.

India had voluntarily pledged to reduce its carbon emission by 20 to 25 per cent, over the 2005 levels, by the year 2020. But, it has been blamed for not doing enough to deal with the issue of greenhouse gas emission.

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