Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with climate change negotiators from 12 ‘Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDC)’ cemented relations within the group and placed India as a key member of the block, ahead of the final round of negotiations for the Paris agreement.
The meeting, held on Tuesday and scheduled to last about 20 minutes, stretched to nearly an hour, as the PM presented the details of his views on climate change and left the visiting experts impressed. The LMDC block operates as a powerful collective at climate change negotiations and includes more than a dozen countries, including China, Argentina, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. While these are also members of the G77+China bloc, LMDC members say their interests at the climate talks are very similar.
First, two representatives from the delegation briefed the PM on the discussions held during the two-day closed-door meeting. They also highlighted how India’s action on climate change under the PM showed he wasn’t only talking about climate change, but also acting on it. They urged him to take the lead for the group at the political level.
Multiple negotiators Business Standard spoke to said the PM impressed them with his knowledge and clear enunciation of the issues central to the climate change debate. The PM said the negotiations ahead had to be seen as an issue of climate justice, not only climate change — a reference to the demand of developing countries that developed nations account for their historical responsibilities and obligations.
Officials present at the meeting said the PM said as far as goals were concerned, India was on the same page as other LMDC countries — all were fighting for climate justice. He added while developing countries wanted growth, they didn’t want to cause harm to the environment. “While we know of climate change and global warming, climate justice must take centre stage,” he said, a negotiator present at the meeting told Business Standard.
“We need such leadership from developing countries such as India. It makes all the difference when our leaders have an understanding and a grip on the state of play,” said a negotiator.
At the meeting, also attended by Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, the PM said a major problem was countries that had advanced and preach the developing world were actually interested in market-driven technology. He equated the reluctance of rich countries to transfer technologies to a “social crime”.
Giving the example of the period following World War II, when there was an anti-war movement, the PM said now, too, a common syllabus was required to teach children across the world how to deal with climate change. Some LMDC delegates later discussed whether the group could initiate this as a collective. Modi told the delegation the lifestyle choices of the developed world in the past had led to the current situation.
He also distinguished between the responsibility of the developed and developing countries — developed countries had to reduce emissions and developing countries could take environment-friendly steps, the PM said. India, he added, was moving towards greater solar, wind, renewable energies and building a green building stock.
So far, the developed world hadn’t fulfilled the commitments on its pledges, the PM said. While developing countries could take an extra step and do more, the problem couldn’t be resolved by them alone, he added.