New Delhi: India on Wednesday said the Paris climate agreement was "non-negotiable" and there could be no compromise on the basic principles such as equity and Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC) —  a principle within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that acknowledges that different countries have different capabilities and responsibilities in addressing climate change.

India at the ministerial session of the UN Climate Conference in Katowice, Poland, said: "We all agree that the Paris Agreement is non-negotiable. Therefore, the delicate balance reached between developed and developing countries must be retained, and the principles such as equity and Common but Differentiated Responsibility and Respective Capabilities must be given its due.”

What does this mean?

Developing countries like India cannot afford climate change in a way. This is because they need fossil fuel, which is seen as one of the main sources of carbon dioxide which, in turn, leads to the greenhouse effect. 

Poor countries turn to fossil fuel when they try to develop. For instance, it is not possible for India to provide for its citizen and fight for climate change. 

“Poor and middle-income countries already account for just over half of total carbon emissions,” said a World Bank report.

The BJP-led NDA government has always stood by this approach and have raised voice against developed countries trying to arm-twist developing countries in cutting down their carbon emission time and again. 

Here are some instances

1. On December 12, India during the ongoing 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) in the Polish city of Katowice said, "Most importantly, we must stand with the poor, marginalised and vulnerable communities who would be most impacted by climate change to show that 'WE CARE'.”

 National co-convener of Swadeshi Jagaran Manch Ashwini Mahajan told MyNation, “What is expected from the developed world is to reduce emission, provide technology and provide finances to deal will the situation. Modi government is not just giving to the developed countries’ demand but also created pressure on them.”

India stressed the fact that it is time we focus on finding common grounds and supporting each other, based on the principles of equity and climate justice.
"It is important to ensure equitable access to global commons for all. The Paris Agreement signifies progress towards enhanced implementation of the Convention. While we do so, we have to maintain continuity in action by fulfilling pre-2020 commitments…While we continue to take stock of pre-2020 action and ambition next year as well, we expect that developed countries shall honour their pre-2020 commitments so that no undue burden is shifted to the post-2020 period. We also look forward to see the Doha Amendment coming into force as soon as possible," India said. 

2. India has been lauded at different forums for taking up ambitious plans to increase renewable energy. India under Prime Minister Modi started focusing on solar energy. The government pledged to spend $21 million in the venture from 2016 to 2021. 

3. PM Modi in his book Convenient Action rightly pointed out that sustainability is a moral issue since it involves protection of interests of our future generations. When the landmark Paris Agreement was formed in 2015 with the leadership of India, the Prime Minister was clear about how to safeguard the interest of the poor and vulnerable

Mahajan told MyNation, “India’s current stand on climate change is very humane, in spite of the fact that the Kyoto Protocol gave us some exceptions. The government has shown flexibility for the betterment of the world.” 

4. The executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Erik Solheim in 2018 lauded the role of India in fighting problems of climate change and environmental degradation.

Taking about Modi he said, “He is a global leader in tackling climate change.” Modi was  

5. In his address during the award ceremony, Modi said climate and calamity are linked to culture. “From agriculture and industrial policies to building houses and construction of toilets, the need for a clean environment has been driving his government’s programmes,” Modi added.