India hits out at West over climate change

Kolkata, Aug 28 (IANS) Ahead of the Paris meet on climate change, Power Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday said coal-based thermal power will remain the staple power source for India and denounced Western concerns over climate and environmental hazards.

“Most Western developed countries have enjoyed the fruits of low cost affordable thermal power for the last 150 years,” the minister said at the BCCI Environment and Energy Conclave here.

“They have built their roads and ports, railways, airports, created large infrastructure and given jobs to their people. Today, we are being told about climate change … without taking into account the concerns of the poor of India,” the minister said.

He said since the West had reached a stage of development, it was able to explore renewable and clean alternate means of power but the poor in India have constraints on this front.

“For the last 150 years, the West had coal – they reached a stage of development with $40,000-70,000 per capita income and want poor Indians with $2,000 per capita income to reduce use of coal…”

He said that “even today you (Western countries) are polluting”.

Referring to the various dictates and environmental protocols, he said: “It is very easy to sermonize but unless one practices what one preaches, it makes no sense to sermonize.”

Goyal said India’s contribution to climate change was only 1/10th or 1/11th of what the US does and the country’s per capita carbon emission was one of the lowest in the world.

However, the minister said the government was concerned about the pollution and effects on the future generation and was promoting the use of clean energy.

“We stand committed to clean power with or without support from the West.”

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