NEW DELHI: With the crucial UN climate change conference slated for later this year, India today said that it will walk the energy efficiency path aggressively in reducing its carbon emission intensity and urged developed nations to do the same "vigorously".
Making a statement at the informal ministerial consultations at Paris, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said that his government is working "overtime" and taking its own climate action with "conviction".
Noting that India's target was to eradicate poverty first, Javadekar said that the country's Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) will indicate the action on this. It can be noted that ahead of Paris negotiations every country is submitting its climate action plan or carbon emission cuts based on its own capabilities.
"What India is doing under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a laudable job. Our target is to eradicate poverty first and our Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) will indicate the action on this. Still in this backdrop Narendra Modi government is working overtime and taking its own climate action with conviction...
"...on our own volition. With our own resources. We are walking energy efficiency path aggressively and we will reduce our emission intensity. But that is what India is doing on its own. Developed countries need to do it vigorously," Javadekar said.
He said that as the world itself has decided to take action (climate change) voluntarily, this voluntarism should be respected and appreciated and taken to its logical end. "We must welcome that all countries are taking action and we should limit Paris to that," he said.
Javadekar asserted that the concept of differentiation is cardinal to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) mandate and there should be no attempt to dilute differentiation.
"It should be reflected across all elements of the new agreement. The annexes are an important part and basic structure of differentiation and we should not play with the basic concepts and the pillars on which UNFCCC edifice of climate action is based," he said.
Noting that the present per capita emissions and cumulative per capita emissions upto 2012 are extremely important indicators, Javadekar said that "Agenda 21" states that developed countries accept responsibility for finance and technology support.
"We should not go back to pre-1992 days where there was no differentiation. Even Montreal Protocol has the concept of incremental cost. The UNEP and IPCC reports point to the emission gaps. By diluting differentiation, the world will be destroying the principle of additionally, UNFCCC, Agenda 21 and it will impact Biodiversity agreement, global environment facility and many other international treaties," he said.
Javadekar noted that despite being a major economy and being on a development trajectory, India is a poor country as it has 17 per cent of the world's population, 17 per cent of the cattle population and both require land, water and food.
He said that India have only 2.5 per cent of the world's landmass and only 4 per cent of water and therefore India too has challenges which are being addressed in its own way "successfully".
Noting that poverty eradication is India's main aim, Javadekar said that India has 50 per cent rural households - 90 million houses are not 'pucca' houses, 90 million households are deprived as they lack in one of the basic development indicators, 90 million households depend on manual casual labour while 130 million families have a main earning member who earns less than 3 dollars a day.
He also said that 60 million households in India have no toilets while 300 million people don't have access to power. 80 per cent people do not have motorised vehicles and 90 per cent people don't have refrigeration, he said.
Noting that India has launched one of the largest renewable energy programmes of 175 GW, Javadekar said that his government is giving weightage to afforestation at 8.5 per cent for the first time and 9 billion dollars have been reserved for that in the 14th Finance Commission while 6 billion dollars will be unlocked through Compensatory Afforestation Fund bill for afforestation.
He said that his government has also launched schemes like urban forestry, school nursery, afforestation on banks of Ganga, PPP for afforestation on degraded land among others.
"India has also launched the clean Air Quality Index and is monitoring highly polluting industries on 24/7 basis," the Minister said.