Blair makes a strong pitch for greenhouse gas reduction

March 20th, 2008 - 11:45 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, March 20 (IANS) Former British prime minister Tony Blair Thursday said if the developed world was ready to take a “really strong and definitive action” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, then it was “fair to ask India and China” to do it. “If the developed world is prepared to take a really strong and definitive action for a substantial cut in emissions, then it is fair to ask India and China to do the same,” Blair said at the launch of the climate initiative in India, Breaking The Climate Deadlock, here.

Seeking a global consensus on the issue, Blair agreed that it was absolutely true that the problem was created by the developed world and that the situation needed the involvement of the developing world.

“India has to play a great role. There is a need for substantial and concerted efforts. India and China cannot have the same obligation as the developed world,” he said at the event organised by the Nand and Jeet Khemka Foundation.

India is sticking to its position that it cannot make any binding commitments on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently said India would ensure that its per capita emission of greenhouse gases never exceed those of developed countries.

India is the world’s fifth largest emitter of greenhouse gases, which many scientists think contribute to global warming. India has repeatedly rejected demands for specific reduction targets, saying that would hurt its economy. Along with China, India wants Western countries to bear the burden of reducing emissions since they are bigger emitters.

Blair said they are not asking the developing countries not to grow economically. “We can’t say that we grow and you don’t. That is not going to happen. It is not fair. The US, Europe, Japan are prepared to take strong definitive action.”

“The Western world is chiefly responsible. But it is also true to say that the production of emissions in the future would be worse off.”

On how the developing world could strike a balance between growth as well as cutting down emissions, Blair said technology and financial support from the Western world would help.

He said it was also unfair to ask developed nations to curb emissions when countries like the US had 10 times higher emissions than the global average and hoped for a “global consensus”.

“The debate has not moved beyond who is victim and who is villain.”

Praising India’s efforts, he said, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has formed the Climate Change Council and was leading it and has asked for an action plan.

“India has to play a great role on the issue. It is such a progressive and developed nation. India and China have to do their bit,” he emphasised.

“There is a need for substantive transformative efforts and it has to start with the developing world,” he said.

Highlighting realistic and practical solutions, Blair said everyone has to come together to do away with the problem.

In India, he said, climate change has been strongly linked to food security, water and energy security. “It is a matter of fairness and equality how we deal with this problem as we keep adding to it.”

Noting that the situation was getting worse, he said: “The impact would be of catastrophic dimensions. We have to take notice.”

He said there is a need to think how to put the deal together and break the deadlock. “We need a global deal and there should be no half means.”

Naming R.K. Pachauri, who heads the UN-body Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which received the Nobel Peace Prize, he said the Indian environmentalist was among the scientists who brought to his notice the catastrophic impact of climate change.

Emphasising that the situation is of “stark nature”, he said, “there will be irreparable damages and need for unilateral measures by each country”.

Greenhouse gas emissions come from burning fuels such as oil and coal, and from deforestation.

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