Paris: In a call coinciding with the start of the UN climate change conference in Paris, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday reminded developed nations that they still have a moral imperative to lead the fight against global warming.
“The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities should be the bedrock of our collective enterprise. Anything else would be morally wrong,” Modi wrote in an article in Britain’s Financial Times.
“Justice demands that, with what little carbon we can still safely burn, developing countries are allowed to grow. The lifestyles of a few must not crowd out opportunities for the many still on the first steps of the development ladder,” he said.Advanced countries that “powered their way to prosperity on fossil fuel” must continue to shoulder the greatest burden, Modi added.
He said he would, along with French President Francois Hollande, launch an international alliance among 121 solar-rich countries in the tropics.
“We expect the same from the world with respect to responding to climate change. The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities should be the bedrock of our collective enterprise,” the prime minister wrote.
Modi said there are some who argue the development of cleaner energy alternatives means poor countries should be just as responsible for lowering emissions as rich nations, which were unaware of the harm fossil fuels caused when they industrialised.
“Since science has moved on and alternative energy sources are available, they argue that those just beginning their development journey bear no less responsibility than those who have reached the zenith of their progress,” he said.
“New awareness, however, should lead advanced countries to assume more responsibility. Just because technology exists does not mean it is affordable and accessible.”
Over 130 world leaders will be at the opening of the climate meet, where billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates is expected to join several countries in unveiling plans for new renewable energy technologies to help poorer countries to reduce carbon emissions.