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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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Climate Change Would Affect Health Of Indian Children: Lancet

Climate change would hit health of Indian children hard, says study by Lancet

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Children in India will be particularly vulnerable to the ill effects of climate change. Pixabay

Children in India will be particularly vulnerable to the ill effects of climate change such as worsening air quality, higher food prices and rise in infectious diseases, warns a new study published in the journal The Lancet.

Climatic suitability for the Vibrio bacteria that cause cholera is rising three per cent a year in India since the early 1980s, said the report.

“With its huge population and high rates of healthcare inequality, poverty, and malnutrition, few countries are likely to suffer from the health effects of climate change as much as India,” said study co-author Poornima Prabhakaran from the Public Health Foundation of India.

“Diarrhoeal infections, a major cause of child mortality, will spread into new areas, whilst deadly heatwaves, similar to the one in 2015 that killed thousands of people in India, could soon become the norm,” Prabhakaran said.

Through adolescence and into adulthood, a child born today will be breathing more toxic air, driven by the fossil fuels and made worse by rising temperatures.

This is especially damaging to young people as their lungs are still developing, so polluted air takes a great toll, contributing to reduced lung function, worsening asthma, and increasing the risk of heart attacks and stroke.

Later in life, a child born today will face increased risk from severe floods, prolonged droughts, and wildfires.

 

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Children in India breathe toxic air and may develop lung diseases. Pixabay

Most countries have experienced an increase in people exposed to wildfires since 2001-2004 with a financial toll per person 48 times larger than flooding.

India alone saw an increase of more than 21 million exposures, and China around 17 million, resulting in direct deaths and respiratory illness as well as loss of homes, said the report.

“Over the past two decades, the Government of India has launched many initiatives and programmes to address a variety of diseases and risk factors. But this report shows that the public health gains achieved over the past 50 years could soon be reversed by the changing climate,” Prabhakaran said.

The “Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change” is a yearly analysis tracking progress across 41 key indicators, demonstrating what action to meet Paris Agreement targets — or business as usual — means for human health.

The project is a collaboration between 120 experts from 35 institutions including the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Bank, University College London, and Tsinghua University.

For the world to meet its UN climate goals and protect the health of the next generation, the energy landscape will have to change drastically, the report warns.

Also Read- Prince Charles Talks Climate Change in India

Nothing short of a 7.4 per cent year-on-year cut in fossil CO2 emissions from 2019 to 2050 will limit global warming to the more ambitious goal of 1.5 degree Celsius, said the report. If the world follows a business-as-usual pathway, with high carbon emissions and climate change continuing at the current rate, a child born today will face a world on average over 4 degree Celsius warmer by their 71st birthday, threatening their health at every stage of their lives. (IANS)