Climate Change and Calamities... Sharing Of Experiences and Strategies

Climate Change and Calamities... Sharing Of Experiences and Strategies
ASSOCHAM - 17 September, 2014 New Delhi
Remarks by H.E. Ambassador François Richier

Ladies and Gentlemen, Hon’ble speakers on the dais, I will not recall the challenges of climate change that is well-known today. Very few continue to challenge its existence. The conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report deliver a clear diagnosis. One cannot be sure whether JK floods is a result of climate change or not, but efforts should be made to stop climate change and help prevent future destruction. A recent and well established report, which was made under the auspices of the Jammu and Kashmir government and sent to the central government, said that some destruction of the environment has been made and that is causing risk for the near future.

As the future presidency of the climate change conference to be held in Paris in December 2015, our goal is to achieve a global agreement. That means that it would be applicable to all countries. It also means that this agreement would encompass all aspects of the negotiation and all stakeholders: finance will be an important part of it, as well as the contribution of the private sector, regional entities and civil society. We do not have any predetermined mindset. It is not only coagulating diverging views. Our role will be of an impartial facilitator, during the course of negotiations and we will reach out to all countries and all segments (civil society and business community) and maintain global bonding.

This consensus must aim at maintaining global warming below 2°C, a target based on the excellent work done by the IPCC which will released its final report in Paris in November. I would like to congratulate Dr Pachauri and his commitment to this important task that provides the scientific evidence on which governments have to take decisions and to find solutions.

The idea is not to teach lessons but to create common understanding. We want the conference to bring about concrete solutions rather than end in ideological controversies. Our first duty therefore is to listen. We have to understand India’s concerns and challenges, as well as glean her ideas and learn of her initiatives.

India is key for the success of the Paris 2015 conference

India has already made tremendous efforts to adapt to and mitigate climate change. This must be acknowledged, bolstered and actively supported. The development of renewable energy, especially wind, hydro and solar energy, has been remarkable. In India you have a strong movement that is emerging on which we can bet. Solar energy, wind, hydro are being utilised and it would be a pity not to use the sun, which you have in plenty. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched a saffron revolution in the solar energy domain which is essential.

Nuclear energy has not yet followed the same trend. For a fast-growing industrial country, nuclear is and will remain a valid option. This focus on nuclear and other renewable energies is the most appropriate mix to address energy requirements in a low-carbon economy. It also contributes to the goals of energy security and autonomy.

The fight against climate change does not mean at all that somebody wants to impose upon India, obligations that were against poverty eradication. That would be absolutely absurd. India faces tremendous challenges in terms of development and poverty eradication. No one can deny India her right to growth. It is at the very core of the Indian people’s aspiration. India is one of the leading actors of the emerging and developing world. India has a clear consciousness of the challenges of developing countries. She can contribute to finding solutions to making the concepts of equity and equitable access to sustainable development a reality.

For her part, France has embarked on a large-scale environmental and energy transition. France is today among the industrial economies with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions, both per inhabitant and per unit of GDP. In order to continue along this path, we’ve set ourselves the target of reducing our emissions by 30% by 2030. This outcome has been achieved sourcing a high proportion of electricity – the cheapest in Europe – from nuclear energy and hydraulic power. We will continue to increase the share of renewable and reduce dependency vis-à-vis imported fuel.

France is committed to enhance its cooperation with India. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced in July that France has decided to propose a credit line of up to 1 billion euros over the next 3 years for sustainable infrastructure and urban development in India through the French Development Agency. We are ready to enhance our cooperation in the fields of water, carbon-free energy, civilian nuclear energy and space. On water, France praises Prime Minister Modi’s commitment to clean up the Ganges and other rivers of India.

The 2015 agreement will also be about mobilizing the private sector

Climate change must not be a subject exclusively discussed among governments. It is also a matter for businesses. The global agreement that we aim at reaching in 2015 will also aim at sending a positive signal sent to the private sector. It will underline the commitments of governments to promote clean and renewable energy and energy efficiency in the long term. We also aim at gathering corporates’ initiatives and to encourage them in the global agreement. India’s corporates have a key contribution to make in this regard.

The way forward, indeed, is to ensure a sustainable growth which creates wealth, jobs, social progress. Climate disruption is not only a threat and a burden. It is a source of opportunities as well. Fighting climate change delivers many co-benefits, in terms of growth, health or quality of life. This in itself can produce other co-benefits: for example, enhancing quality of life may encourage tourism. This is what happened in France. Technology will tomorrow ensure a new cycle of sustainable growth and development. India is in a position to put itself at the edge of innovation leading to a fast growing economy that produces more with a lesser carbon footprint and pollution.

Private companies and businesses have a central role to play in this endeavour. They own an important part of the capital and the technologies required to make growth sustainable. They are central to creating wealth and jobs. At the global level, governments need to send a clear signal to private businesses on their commitment to provide a positive and stable business environment.

To conclude, I would like to congratulate Assocham for taking this initiative to gather representatives of the private sector to discuss the issue of climate change. Companies and businesses do have their part in the debate that will lead to the Paris Climate 2015 Conference. We are eager to work with you in the next few months for the follow-up of this seminar. I wish this conference all success.

Last modified on 28/01/2015

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