India will raise climate ambitions but 'not under pressure': Javadekar

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New Delhi, Apr 14 (PTI) Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday said India will raise its climate ambitions but 'not under pressure', and that it will not allow anybody to forget their historical responsibility.

However, the environment ministry later issued a clarification stating Javadekar 'had only said that India will 'over achieve' its commitment made in Paris and not said that India will 'raise its ambitions''.

India is suffering because of the mistakes of others and 'is not responsible for climate change that is happening', he said at a climate conference at the French Embassy after meeting French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. Javadekar's remarks come ahead of US President Joe Biden's summit on climate.

President Biden has invited 40 world leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to the virtual summit, scheduled between April 22 and April 23, to underscore the urgency and the economic benefits of stronger climate action.

United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry had also met Javadekar and Prime Minister Modi last week in this regard.

le Drian said the consequences will be disastrous if the world is not able to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, or even 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

That's why it is absolutely indispensable that all countries increase their climate commitments by the time the COP26 takes place in Glasgow, as required by the Paris Agreement, he said.

'This increase in ambition must include setting new nationally determined contributions by 2030 and also long-term strategies to achieve carbon neutrality. We must stop building new coal-based power plants and it is essential that we progressively stop this mode of electricity production at a global level,' le Drian said.

Javadekar said,'We will complete our commitments, raise our ambitions but...not at the behest of or under pressure. We will also ask countries to provide finance and technological support and we will also ask them of their (climate) actions.' He said India is the only G-20 country to walk the talk on the Paris climate agreement and 'we have done more than we promised'.

The minister said that the frequency of abnormal (weather) events has increased but 'let us not forget that this is not a new phenomenon'.

'What we are suffering today was caused 100 years ago. European and American countries and China, in the last 30 years, emitted (greenhouse gases) and therefore, the world is suffering…India is suffering because of the actions of others,' he said, adding that historical responsibility is a very important aspect in climate debate.

'We cannot just forget it (historical responsibility), and we will not allow anybody to forget it,' Javadekar said.

Everyone is facing common threats, but those who have polluted will have to act more, he said.

'They committed in Copenhagen, 100 billion dollars per year…but where is the money. There is no money in sight,' he said.

Under the Copenhagen Accord, developed countries committed to a goal of mobilising 100 billion dollar a year by 2020 to help developing countries mitigate climate change.

Javadekar said many countries have forgotten their pre-2020 commitments.

'Follow your Paris ambitions first…Everybody is talking of 2050 and not of 2025 or 2030,' he said.

'Now we are saying don't use coal but the alternative has to be much cheaper than coal, only then people will do away with coal,' he said, adding that India is not a major emitter.

The minister mentioned that China's coal consumption is 4 billion tonnes this year as compared to India's 850 million tonnes.

'How are we comparing apples with oranges? So, the principle of equity is also important…The poor of this world have the right to grow. They need power,' he said.

The minister said Europe's power consumption per capita per year is 10,000 is kilowatts, ours is 1,200 kilowatts.

India has increased its tree cover by 15,000 square kilometers, aims to restore 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030, and reduced its emission intensity by 26 percent, he said.

India has levied 40 per cent carbon tax on fossil fuel, state and Centre put together.

'France also tried this but they had to roll it back. With 36 parties, such diversity, such a huge country which is not so developed, we are doing this. This is the level of our commitment,' Javadekar said.

Countries responsible for climate change should finance what they committed to and make technology available at an affordable cost, the minister said, adding that fighting climate change is not a business but a duty.

The world has agreed to supply anti-AIDS drugs at cost price, because the disease is considered a disaster. 'If climate change is a disaster, we should not profit from this as well,' he said. PTI GVS KJ