Modi: India can offer “natural leadership” on climate change

PM offers grand vision of green India but no clues on country’s possible contribution to global climate pact

(Pic: France in India/Flickr)

(Pic: France in India/Flickr)

By Ed King

India’s prime minister has stressed his commitment to finding a global solution to climate change, but declined to reveal if his government was willing to specify an emissions peak year.

Speaking to Time magazine Modi said he was “acutely conscious and aware” of his responsibility to help guide the world towards a deal on curbing greenhouse gases in Paris this December.

“If there is one part of the world which can provide natural leadership on this particular cause, it is this part of the world,” he said.

But he steered clear of answering whether his administration would consider placing a cap on the country’s emissions ahead of this year’s UN summit.

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India is the world’s fourth largest source of climate warming gases after China the US and EU.

Its emissions are predicted to triple by 2030 if it maintains current levels of economic growth, and continues to rely heavily on coal-generated electricity.

Modi stressed the country’s ambition in setting a goal of 175 gigawatts from renewable sources, 75GW from wind and the rest from solar. As of 2014 the country’s electricity generating capacity was 249GW, largely from coal power plants.

“It is really an immense and huge initiative of my government,” he said.

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Mass transportation plans, the use of LP gas over firewood, LED lighting and his desire to clean up 2,500 kilometres of the River Ganges were all evidence of his respect for the environment, Modi said.

He also returned to a familiar theme – the need for the international community to change its consumer-based lifestyle that was placing huge demand on raw materials and waste management.

“I think the throw-away culture, the culture of disposables, causes a huge burden on the environment,” he said.

“I think recycling, or the re-usage of the resources of the earth, is an important aspect which should be ingrained in our daily lifestyle.”

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