PM calls for review of energy pricing policies

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New Delhi, Feb 7: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today called for a review of energy pricing policies and 'misdirected subsidies'' to correct the ''distortions' that had become environmentally unaffordable.

''What are the long-term costs of the short-term benefits we seek from such policies? Are we contributing to environmental degradation through some of our energy pricing policies. Are we hurting our future energy security by shirking the responsibility to grapple with the political challenges at hand. We need a much wider national detate on such issues,'' said Dr Singh.

His remarks came while inaugurating the 8th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit in which a large number of foreign heads of government and high-level representaives from across the world are participating.

Dr Singh hoped that leaders and experts participating in the Summit will encourage such debate.

While assuring the world that India will be in the fore front of the fight against global warming and its per capita emissions would never exceed those of the developed nations, the Prime Minister said efforts at international collaboration to address the issue should be based on ''climate justice''.

''By climate justice we mean a fair, equitable and transparent global regime for technology transfer, and it is in the interest of developed countries to facilitate such transfer,'' Dr Singh told the Summit.

''We in developing countries desperately need environment friendly technologies, especially in energy, transportation, manufacturing and agriculture,'' he said.

Such technology transfer provides new opportunities for resource transfer to countries for taking measures to adapat to climate change, and nations of the world will have to engage in the next two years to a consensus on a new architecture for cooperation that invloves finance and techonology support to developing countries, Dr Singh said.

On the occasion, he announced that the National Plan of Action for Climate Change will be released in June and the government has asked the Planning Commission to come out with a comprehensive policy on transport.

Besides, the Government was also mooting setting up a venture capital fund to promote green technologies, he informed.

The Prime Minister said that at the international level, India would continue to engage with all nations to find and implement ways to fight climate change, but he sought to reiterate the country's stand that its per capita emissions would not exceed the average per capita emissions of industrially developed states. ''Moreover, as developed countries take measures to bring down their per capita carbon emissions, our threshold would come down too. This is our solemn commitment,'' he said.

''We cannot continue with global development model in which some countries continue to maintain high level of emissions, while the development options available for developing countries get constrained,'' he stressed.

Underlining that the country needed technology innovations for reduction of energy use by the industry, massive action for forestation, drought proofing and flood protection besides protection for coastal areas and glaciers, and in short a whole gamut of development action, which needs to be planned and funded, he said the 11th five year plan had articulated strategies in many of these areas.

He said more of these concerns would be incorporated in the National Action Plan being prepared by the Prime Minister's Committee on Climate Change.

The Prime Minister said the impact of climate change fell differently on people and the poor were the worst hit, so action on climate change could become an action for poverty reduction to reduce the vulnerabilities of the poor.

On this occasion, the Prime Minister presented the 8th Delhi Sustainable Development Leadership Award to President of Maldives Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Presenting the theme for the inaugural discussion of the Summit 'The Scientifc Evidence: A Call for Action', TERI Dirctor Gneral RK Pachauri said the projections for the 21st century predict a rise in global temperature between 1.8 to four degrees celsius and a sea-level rise between 18 to 29 cm, besides a GDP loss of less than three per cent due to climate change impact by 2030.

He, however, said the scenario was not so bleak as mitigation actions taken urgently and implemented effectively could make the difference. And one things that gave hope was that means of mitigation were available, and they only need to be used.

Dr Pachauri is also head of the UN body IPCC which along with former US president Al Gore shared this year's Nobel Peace prize. The Summit has been organised by TERI.

UNI

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