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‘When greed exploits nature, it explodes’: Sushma Swaraj on challenges posed by climate change

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the challenge posed by climate change requires more “serious action than talk” and asked the leaders of the developed world to help the less fortunate ones through technology transfer and Green Climate Financing. 

Arguing that countries like China and India are benefiting the most from the Paris Accord, President Donald Trump had said that the agreement on climate change was unfair to the US, as it badly hit its businesses and jobs. 

Addressing the UN General Assembly (UNGA), Swaraj said that it was not just mere coincidence that the world has witnessed hurricanes, earthquakes, rains that inundate storms which terrify. 

“Nature sent its warning to the world even before the world’s leadership gathered in New York at the United Nations through Harvey,” she said, adding that once the gathering of world leaders at the UNGA began, an earthquake struck Mexico and a hurricane landed in Dominica. 

“We must understand, this requires more serious action than talk. The developed world must listen more carefully than others, because it has more capacities than others. 

“It must help the less fortunate through technology transfer and Green Climate Financing – that is the only way to save future generations,” Swaraj said. 

The central aim of the Paris Accord is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping the global temperature rise in this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

The landmark agreement, which entered into force last November, calls on countries to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future, and to adapt to the increasing impacts of climate change. 

Referring to her last year’s address to the UNGA, Swaraj said she had identified climate change as “one of the significant dangers to our” existence. 

“India has already said that it is deeply committed to the Paris Accord. This is not because we are afraid of any power, influenced by friend or foe, or tempted by some imagined greed,” the External Affairs Minister said. 

“This is an outcome of a philosophy that is at least 5,000 years old. Our Prime Minister has, on his personal initiative, launched the International Solar Alliance as witness to our abiding commitment to a cause,” said the top Indian diplomat. 

“When we talk of world peace, we mean peace not only among human beings but also peace with nature. We understand that human nature is sometimes inimical to nature, but we would like to amend human nature when it tends in the wrong directions. 

“When we inflict our greed upon nature, nature sometimes explodes. We must learn to live with the imperatives, cycles and creative urges of nature; in that lies, our own salvation,” she observed.