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30 November 2015,

PM Modi at the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference

Rajni Bakshi, Senior Gandhi Peace Fellow, Gateway House, comments on the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) being held from 30 November to 11 December 2015 in Paris, France

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“COP21, which opened today in Paris, is rife with equal measures of promise and danger.

Assessments of the Intended Nationally Determined Commitments (INDCs), made by nations of the world, have already revealed that these promises are insufficient to keep global temperature rise within 2 degrees. Hope is now pinned on a wide variety of clean energy initiatives which may bring about greater emission cuts than what has been promised by governments. The most notable among these is the Global Solar Alliance being unveiled by Prime Minister Modi and French President Francois Hollande in Paris on 30 November.

India’s INDCs have given new hope for a green global economy because of India’s plans to shift 40% of its energy sources to non-fossil alternatives by 2030. India is also working on the creation of a 2.5 to 3 billion tonne carbon sink through afforestation. These positive initiatives allow India to act from a position of strength.

India can and should aim to set the tone for the onward process under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This includes ensuring greater emission cuts by the U.S., China and the EU which are much larger polluters on a per capita basis.

Regardless of the outcome of the official COP21, this summit signifies a vital momentum across governments, businesses and civil society to address the climate crisis. The key factor in this process is not so much governments but rather attempts to alter market behaviour in favour of low carbon and eco-friendly technologies.”