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| Last Updated:04/12/2018

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Clean air must be a birthright for all, Javadekar says

NEW DELHI: A day after Delhi high court expressed its anguish over Delhi's dirty air, Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday admitted that the government needs to work to make the air clean and said, "Clean air must be a birthright for all and that's the way India wants to walk".
The minister's remark came in the context of global carbon emissions that has triggered climate change and at a time when many countries look at India to take the lead in moving to a low-carbon economic growth model.
Jointly inaugurating the annual Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) with French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, railway minister Suresh Prabhu and Hollywood actor and ex-governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, Javadekar said, "We have the responsibility to improve lives of future generations. We have already taken the clean energy path and enhanced our renewable energy commitments".
All the participants at the summit made a strong pitch for environmental protection by adopting renewable energy and sustainable development goals. France, chair of this year's UN climate conference, is represented by its official delegation - led by its foreign affairs minister Fabius - to the summit. Fabius later called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi who will visit France in April.
Arguing for an economy that generates more jobs and less carbon, Prabhu said, "Climate change is a scientific reality. If we delay action, the repercussions will be disastrous. We need to find a unified solution to tackle climate change innovatively. We need to create a new economy which tackles climate change and creates jobs".
The DSDS, organized by TERI, this year is significant as it is happening when the nations are gearing up for a global climate deal in Paris in December. A number of experts from across the globe are participating in the summit.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor-turned-climate change activist, chose the occasion to praise Prime Minister Narendra Modi's action to deal with climate change while citing his work in promoting solar and wind energy during his tenure as Gujarat chief minister.
Arnold said he would be a "terminator" for climate change and asked state governments to follow Narendra Modi's "actions" to achieve sustainable development goals. He said "Gujarat is California of India" and Modi had certainly created "good action".
The Hollywood actor, who founded a think tank 'R20 Regions of Climate Action', had earlier attended the annual DSDS in 2007 and 2012. "This is a challenge of our time and that is why I am on a crusade for a sustainable future and terminate climate change once and for all," Schwarzenegger said.
France made an impassioned plea to the world to "agree on major issues" before assembling in Paris later this year for inking a "universal and meaningful agreement" to limit global warming to below 2 degrees celsius.
Articulating his country's point of view, the French foreign minister asked the political leadership across the world to act in "collective spirit" to cut carbon emissions and said that "taking action against climate disruption and for poverty reduction should not be regarded as two separate and contradictory goals".
Fabius said, "As Prime Minister Modi recently said, global awareness of climate change is an opportunity to improve the quality of life of our citizens and to fight poverty.
"The world needs growth, in both developed and developing countries. The way forward, indeed, is to ensure sustainable growth that creates wealth, jobs, and social progress. Just as yesterday fossil fuels enabled our economies to develop, tomorrow clean technologies and the right policy framework can ensure a new cycle of sustainable growth and development. Action against climate disruption is and will be a source of opportunities".