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Home to 17% of people but accounts for 5% of global carbon emissions: Modi at G7 Summit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said India, which is home to 17% of the world population, accounts for only 5% of global carbon emissions, pushing back against the misconception that developing countries cause greater damage to the environment.

Addressing a special session on “Investing in a better future: Climate, energy, health” at the G7 Summit in Germany, Modi said it is important to remember that access to energy shouldn’t be the privilege of the rich only against the backdrop of energy costs increasing due to geopolitical tensions.

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Besides India, countries such as Indonesia, South Africa, Argentina and Senegal have been invited to the summit of seven of the world’s largest economies in an effort to strengthen international collaboration on key issues such as climate action, health and energy security.

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“Unfortunately, it is believed that there is a fundamental collision between the developmental goals of the world and environmental protection. There is also another misconception that poor countries and poor people cause more damage to the environment,” Modi said, speaking in Hindi.

“Seventeen per cent of the world’s population resides in India. But our contribution of global carbon emissions is only 5%. The main reason behind this is our lifestyle, which is based on the theory of co-existence with nature,” he added.

India has shown over thousands of years, including in times of immense prosperity in the past and as the fastest growing large economy, that its commitment to the environment has not been “diluted even a single bit”, he said.

“All of you will also agree…that energy access should not be the privilege of the rich only – a poor family has the same rights on energy. And today when energy costs are sky-high due to geopolitical tensions, it is more important to remember this,” Modi said.

India has delivered LED bulbs and clean cooking gas door-to-door and showed millions of tons of carbon emissions can be prevented while ensuring energy for the poor.

India’s Commitment to Global Warming

The country’s dedication to climate commitments is reflected in its performance, as it achieved the target of generating 40% of energy from non-fossil sources nine years ahead of the target of 2030, while the target of blending 10% ethanol in petrol was achieved five months ahead of the target. India has the world’s first fully solar-powered airport and its railway system will become net zero in this decade, Modi said.

He hoped the rich countries of G7 will support the efforts of India, a huge market for clean energy technologies. “G7 countries can invest in research, innovation, and manufacturing in this field. The scale that India can provide for every new technology can make it affordable for the whole world,” he added.

He noted that he had called for a movement known as LiFE, or Lifestyle For Environment, at the COP26 meet in Glasgow last year. India launched the Global Initiative for LiFE campaign on the World Environment Day this year.

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