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Rich nations must pay back their debt on climate change: Javadekar


Paris: India is here to ensure that rich countries pay back their debt for the overdraft they have drawn on the carbon space, Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar said on Sunday.

He said the developing countries could not let the ongoing UN conference, attended by over 195 countries, fail to reach its objectives.

Javadekar, who came to Paris on Saturday for a second time after having attended the opening plenary when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was here with over 150 heads of state or government on November 30, said that for India it was a “question of present and future lives of our 1.27 billion people with aspiration to develop”.

The climate change meeting, or 21st Conference of Parties (CoP21) as it is called, goes into its crucial second week, after the heads of state and governments aimed to give it a push in the first week to arrive at a consensus on limiting the global climate temperature remain under 2 degrees centigrade, which otherwise, the UN says, will lead to several catastrophic events.

The larger issue being grappled is how to make the rich countries pay $100 billion every year starting with 2020, to help the developing countries cope with and plan ahead for the global warming.

So far, only around $10 billion has been pledged since 2009 in CoP15 when the green fund was launched with much fanfare.

Javadekar said ahead of the high-level segment of the conference when bureaucrats and ministers from the attending countries will jostle to arrive at common ground that India was also determined “not to make Paris Summit like pass summits where we all returned home with false optimism and fictitious hopes”.

A draft agreement of sorts on climate change is being circulated here, taking into account India’s concerns, but it’s by no means certain that this would be acceptable to all the countries, including the developed countries.

Javadekar praised the French presidency “which has done a monumental job in the last one year to build political momentum”, saying India was ready and committed to work with it to achieve the desired goals.

He also said that India was here to ensure that the seminal principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR)’ was respected.

The CBDR principle reiterated at several climate change conferences says that developed and developing countries have different responsibilities in rectifying the wrongs of the past. The West is called upon to contribute with money and technology to cope with the rising temperatures.

This is said to be based on “polluter pays” principle since the developed countries had emitted large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in their search of growth, leading to the heating up of the planet. CO2 is a byproduct of fossil fuels which, allowed most countries to develop rapidly.

The minister also reiterated that all the agreements should be under the aegis of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. “The UNFCCC is a global climate constitution. It’s fundamental. Any attempt to rewrite or to overwrite will not be acceptable to anyone.”

Javadekar said the collective decision “should be based on science, CBDR and collective conscience”.

(Inputs from IANS)

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EU Countries Consume Earth’s Resources Faster than they can be Renewed: Report

Some 100 Greenpeace activists and students from several European countries marched through Sibiu carrying a huge banner saying "Broken Climate Broken Future"

earth's resources
France's President Emmanuel Macron, right, and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker speak during the informal meeting of European Union leaders in Sibiu, Romania, May 9, 2019. VOA

The European Union’s 28 countries consume the Earth’s resources faster than they can be renewed and none of them has sustainable consumption policies, a report released Thursday said, as EU leaders met to discuss priorities for the next five years.

“All EU countries are living beyond the means of our planet. The EU and its citizens are currently using twice more than the EU ecosystems can renew,” the report by the World Wide Fund (WWF) and Global Footprint Network said. It was issued as leaders met in the Romanian city of Sibiu to set the course for the bloc after Britain’s planned departure from the EU.

Climate change key priority

French President Emmanuel Macron said before the summit that climate change was among his key priorities and it was included in the bloc’s 10 “commitments” for the future until 2024, agreed by all the 27 leaders meeting in Sibiu.

earth's resources
The European Union’s 28 countries consume the Earth’s resources faster than they can be renewed and none of them has sustainable consumption policies. Pixabay

But the bloc is divided on how to achieve any ambitious climate goals and it remains far from clear how the Sibiu declaration would be implemented. Some 100 Greenpeace activists and students from several European countries marched through Sibiu carrying a huge banner saying “Broken Climate Broken Future.”

“We cannot talk about a prosperous future without a healthy climate,” Greenpeace climate activist Alin Tanase told Reuters. Views on concrete action to be taken to combat climate change differ between EU countries, influenced greatly by their dominant industries, such as carmakers in Germany or the coal industry in Poland.

Tusk sensitive to climate change

The chairman of the summit, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, said there was no future for politicians who were not sensitive to climate change and environment protection issues.

“The young generation is much more united on this than the member states. The truth is that nothing has changed when it comes to this divide and different opinions about this. What is new is this very fresh and energetic pressure,” he told a news conference after the summit.

climate change, earth's resources
Some 100 Greenpeace activists and students from several European countries marched through Sibiu carrying a huge banner saying “Broken Climate Broken Future.” VOA

Climate protection and sustainable development is also an important topic in the election campaign for the May 23-26 European Parliament elections, which will influence the leadership of European institutions and their programs.

The European Commission has been pushing for the EU to become climate neutral by 2050 through reducing carbon emissions that will otherwise boost the Earth’s average temperatures with devastating consequences.

“The EU uses up almost 20 percent of the Earth’s bio-capacity although it comprises only 7 percent of the world population,” the WWF report said. “In other words, 2.8 planets would be needed if everyone consumed at the rate of the average EU resident,” it said.

climate change, earth's resources
FILE – Climate change demonstrators hold banners in front of the Winston Churchill Statue during a protest near Parliament in London, April 12, 2019. VOA

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Luxembourg smallest but fastest

It said the EU’s smallest and richest country, Luxembourg, was also the one which used up renewable resources the fastest last year. Just 46 days into the year, it had consumed its full share of the Earth’s resources, it said.

The EU’s poorest nation, Romania, took the longest to arrive at that point, on July 12th. But that was still earlier than the world’s average of Aug. 1, called Earth overshoot day. (VOA)