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

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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)

(Picture Courtesy: www.climatechangenews.com)

 

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Mourners Gather in Iceland to Commemorate the Loss of the Glacier Okjokull

Iceland glacier commemorated with plaque

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Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as glacier. Pixabay

Mourners will gather in Iceland on Sunday to commemorate the loss of the glacier Okjokull, which was officially declared dead in 2014 at the age of 700. The glacier was officially declared dead when it was no longer thick enough to move. What once was glacier has been reduced to a small patch of ice atop a volcano, the BBC reported.

Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, Environment Minister Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson and former Irish President Mary Robinson will all take part in a commemoration ceremony later in the day. After opening remarks by Jakobsdottir at the ceremony, mourners will walk up the volcano northeast of the capital Reykjavik to lay a plaque which carries a letter to the future.

“Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as glacier,” it reads. “In the next 200 years all our main glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. “Only you know if we did it.”

The dedication, written by Icelandic author Andri Snaer Magnason, ends with the date of the ceremony and the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air globally – 415 parts per million (ppm). “This is a big symbolic moment,” Magnason told the BBC on Saturday.

“Climate change doesn’t have a beginning or end and I think the philosophy behind this plaque is to place this warning sign to remind ourselves that historical events are happening, and we should not normalise them. We should put our feet down and say, okay, this is gone, this is significant.”

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Irish President Mary Robinson will all take part in a commemoration ceremony later in the day. Pixabay

Oddur Sigurdsson, the glaciologist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office who pronounced Okjokull’s death in 2014, has been taking photographs of the country’s glaciers for the past 50 years, and noticed in 2003 that snow was melting before it could accumulate on Okjokull. Glaciers have great cultural significance in Iceland and beyond.

Also Read: Can Huawei’s HarmonyOS be Successful Outside China?

Snaefellsjokull, a glacier-capped volcano in the west of the country, is where characters in Jules Verne’s science fiction novel “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” found a passage to the core of the planet. That glacier is now also receding. (IANS)