Committed to a cleaner Earth: PM

Emphasising that India won't backtrack from its commitment to a clean energy future, PM Narendra Modi said, “Paris or no Paris, it is our conviction that we have no right to snatch from our future generation their right to have a clean and beautiful Earth.“

He was responding to a question at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. Asked by the moderator on which side of the climate change debate he stood, and whether he disagreed with US President Donald Trump's stand to withdraw from the Paris agreement, Modi said, “I don't think I should go this side or that.This subject is of future generations and I would go towards future generations.

“...We do not believe in exploitation of nature. We people do not have the right to take more than necessary from nature,“ he added. He told the gathering in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin, “I have in a simple way stated the dream of `new India'. I quoted from 5,000-year old Vedas to say humans have a right to milk nature but have no right to exploit it.“

Adding that the Atharvaveda--encapsulated dedication to nature five millenniums ago, the PM said India's growth was based on the use and preservation of nature.He said India was targeting 175 gw of renewable energy by 2022, adding that a higher power generation capacity was being built in the renewable energy sector than in thermal.

He said India would be a responsible nation with regard to climate and work towards “zero-defect, zero-effect manufacturing“, which entailed no detrimental effects on the environment.

As per its promised action under the Paris agreement, India is committed to install 175 gw of solar, wind and biomass electricity by 2022, reduce its emission intensity (emission per unit of GDP) by 33-35% from its 2005 levels by 2030, create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030 through additional forest and tree cover and produce 40% of electricity from non-fossil fuel based resources by 2030. However, India has said it would be in a position to meet its non-fossil fuel-based energy target if it got adequate financial and technological aid, a point which perhaps prompted Trump to flag that India had made its participation in the Paris accord contingent on billions and billions of foreign aid. But Trump was wrong on this point. India has so far not got any aid for pushing its clean energy goal.

“Our government is committed irrespective of the stand of anyone, anywhere in the world. It has been the stand of PM Modi,“ environment minister Harsh Vardhan said.

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