West can’t be spared for past ‘climate sins’, says India

In this December 1, 2014 photo, Greenpeace activists from seven countries project a pro-solar message in Hindi at the Temple of the Sun in Machu Pichu, Peru as Climate talks began in Lima. India on Thursday demanded that they should compensate developing nations for the effects their greenhouse gas emissions have had on climate.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Telling rich nations that they cannot be absolved of their past “sins”, India on Thursday demanded that they should compensate developing nations for the effects their greenhouse gas emissions have had on climate.

On the third day of the climate summit here in the Peruvian capital, India said it is “not equitable to talk about what a country is emitting now” because that country could be currently reducing their emissions.

“This fact does not absolve them [rich nations] of all [past] sins,” Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Environment Susheel Kumar, who is the interim head of the Indian delegation, said.

He said India believes that developed countries should be held responsible for their high levels of emissions which have caused harm to developing countries, like itself. That responsibility should come in the form of compensation and a fair 2015 Paris agreement.

Mr. Kumar said India’s goal on adaptation during the 12-day U.N. climate change summit talks is for it “to be there in the entire text”.

“We would also like a long-term global goal for adaptation to be clearly articulated in qualitative and quantitative terms.” Mr. Kumar said, adding that “for a developing country, adaptation becomes a more immediate need [than mitigation].”

Ministerial-level talks will begin next week which will be attended by Environment Minister Prakash Javedkar on December 7.

“India has always been a strong champion for equity,” Mr. Kumar said.

India would like developed countries to compensate developing nations for the effects their emissions have had on climate.

He also referred to the Germanwatch’s Global Climate Risk Index 2015, a study measuring which countries suffer from the most extreme weather-related events based on data from 1994-2013, as a way to quantify adaptation.

India ranks third behind the Philippines and Cambodia in vulnerability but the index does not take into account India’s much larger population compared to the other two countries.

Along with State climate action plans submitted by 29 States to the Parliament, Mr. Kumar also mentioned the efforts of the government through the National Adaptation Fund, the goal of which is to provide capacity building, technology and financial support to domestic adaptation projects.

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