India committed to climate change, irrespective of stand taken by any other country: Harsh Vardhan

New Delhi: India is committed to climate change, irrespective of the stand taken by any other country, Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Friday, hours after the United States announced its withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.

"Our government is committed irrespective of the stand of anyone, anywhere in the world. It has been the stand of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," he said, stressing that Modi had provided "leadership" at the Paris climate summit.

"We are committed to ensuring that we will do our best to address the issue related to climate change and global warming," Vardhan told reporters.

President Donald Trump today declared the US would withdraw from the 2015 Paris Agreement, saying the "draconian" deal unfairly punished America but benefited countries such as India and China.

File image of Harsh Vardhan. Image courtesy: Naresh Sharma

File image of Harsh Vardhan. Image courtesy: Naresh Sharma

The stand drew strong condemnation from leaders and environmentalists from across the world.

"India makes its participation contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries. There are many other examples. But the bottom line is that the Paris accord is very unfair, at the highest level, to the United States," Trump said.

The Paris agreement commits the US and other countries to keep rising global temperatures "well below" 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and "endeavour to limit" them to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

India, under its climate action plans, has pledged to curb its greenhouse gas emissions by up to 35 percent from its 2005 level.

In the plans submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), India had also vowed that 40 percent of its total electricity needs would be obtained from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.

New Delhi also pledged to create an additional carbon sink — which sucks up and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere — of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree covers by 2030.

The Paris Agreement, considered a landmark move, was adopted on 12 December 2015, by 195 Parties to the UNFCCC, replacing its predecessor, the Kyoto Protocol.

Only Syria and Nicaragua did not sign the deal, ratified on 4 November 2016.

The Centre for Science and Environment in Delhi said Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris deal was a "death knell" for the climate agreement. But the US move was an opportunity for India to provide global leadership on the issue, it said.

This was not the first time that the US was opting out of an international climate agreement, environmentalists pointed out.

It had pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol, saying emerging economies did not have quantified emission targets.

Updated Date: Jun 02, 2017 21:35 PM

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