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Carbon emissions: PM hits out at developed nations

June 22, 2012 09:32 IST

Carbon emissionPrime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday hit out at industrialised countries over the issue of making available additional finance and technology to help developing world reduce carbon emissions, saying there is 'little evidence' of support for them.

Singh also made a strong plea for finding new pathways for sustainable living since the current consumption patterns in the industrialised world are unsustainable.

The Prime Minister's remarks came even as a draft statement finalised at the Summit showed developing countries' failure to get any figures in paragraphs about financing sustainable growth for poorer economies.

The Group of 77 and China bloc had demanded $30 billion a year.

The prime minister enunciated India's stand in his address during the plenary session of the Rio+20 summit, which is officially known as the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

"Many countries could do more if additional finance and technology were available.

"Unfortunately, there is little evidence of support from the industrialised countries in these areas(reducing emissions intensity). The ongoing economic crisis has made matters worse," he said.

Describing economic development, social inclusion and environmental sustainability as all equally critical as components of sustainable development, Prime Minister Singh said that the task before the world community is to give practical shape and content to this architecture in a manner that allows each country to develop according to its own national priorities and circumstances.

Observing that the Rio+20 Summit was meeting at a time of serious economic crisis and political ferment in the world, the prime minister said it is timely because it focuses the world community's minds on 'the future we want' and how to realise it.

"Difficult though it may seem, we have to summon the imagination to balance the costs that we will incur in the present with the benefits that will accrue to future generations," said Prime Minister Singh, who was among the 125 world leaders who participated in the deliberations.

The Prime Minister made it clear to the summit that for developing countries, inclusive growth and a rapid increase in per capita income levels are development imperatives.

"Those living at the subsistence level cannot bear the costs of adjustment and their livelihood considerations are important in determining how scarce natural resources such as land, water and forests are used.

"The severe deterioration of land and water resources is already affecting the well- being of millions of people living on the edges of subsistence, particularly women and children," he said.

Noting that sustainable development also mandated the efficient use of available natural resources, Singh said the world community has to be much more frugal in the way it uses natural resources.

"A key area of focus is energy. We have to promote universal access to energy, while at the same time, promoting energy efficiency and a shift to cleaner energy sources by addressing various technological, financial and institutional constraints.

"In India, we are implementing an ambitious National Solar Mission as a critical option for our energy security," he said.

Observing that environmental sustainability is the third leg of the sustainable development architecture, the prime minister said that economic activity invariably results in negative spinoffs, either by way of local pollution, or by way of global effects such as Greenhouse Gas emissions.

"We need to tackle both," said the prime minister.

Singh also spoke about issues relating to local pollution and how it can be regulated and how such regulation may impose costs on various economic actors.

"To ensure equity, there may be a case for targeted assistance to small producers to meet part of these costs and this should be built into policy," he said.

At the global level, Singh said that the approach to the problem should be guided by equitable burden sharing.

"It is for this reason that the first Rio Summit enshrined the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. I am happy we have reaffirmed this principle as well as the principle of equity during this Summit," he said.

This does not, however, mean that countries should not take proactive actions to promote sustainable development, Singh said.

"In India, our efforts over the last two decades have yielded positive results.

"Over the period 1994-2007, our emissions-GDP intensity, excluding agriculture, has declined nearly 25 per cent. Looking ahead, we have set a target to further reduce the emissions intensity of GDP by 20-25 per cent between 2005 and 2020, the prime minster said.

Stating that one of the key challenges that demanded urgent global action is the worrying depletion of bio-diversity across our planet, Singh said the Eleventh Conference of Parties on Convention on Biodiversity is being hosted by India in October this year at Hyderabad.

"We look forward to working with the global community to make it a success," he said.

"The future we want should be a future in which there is ecological and economic space for sustainable growth for all.

Let us work together to attain the future that we all desire. . ," Singh added.

G Sudhakar Nair in Rio De Janeiro
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