Developing countries committed to sustainable development: Pranab

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New York, Oct 1 (UNI) External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has defended the commitment of developing nations to sustainable development.

The minister said this while delivering a lecture yesterday on ''India and Global Challenges: Climate Change and Energy Security'' at the Asia Society, arranged as part of his visit to New York and the United Nations.

''Developing countries are committed to sustainable development, to be supported by transfer from developed countries of new and additional financial resources and technology on preferential and concessional terms,'' he said.

''Emission reductions would follow as a result of sustainable development and not be the vehicle for sustainable development.

This is an important distinction, which is largely being ignored.'' Pointing out that New Delhi's record on this front is impressive, he said despite the continental size of its economy, India's total emission of carbon dioxide--the most important of the greenhouse gases -- is only 4 per cent of the global total. Though the nation's economy has grown more than 8 per cent over the past several years, the energy growth is a modest 3.7 per cent.

The comparative figure for the US is 20 per cent and that of Europe is 15 per cent. India's per capita emission level is only 1.1 tonnes against 20 tonnes in the US and about 10 tonnes in Europe.

India is projected to have the power generation capacity of 800,000 megawatts by 2030 from the current level of 160,000 megawatts.

Nuclear power generation capacity is estimated to be 63,000 by that time. The minister also cited about the government's efforts to promote solar energy, especially in rural areas where electricity is still largely inadequate.

The country has been in the forefront in the field of environmental protection. Prime minister Indira Gandhi was the only head of state or government, apart from the host country, to attend the first international conference on environment protection in Sweden in 1972. India was among the first countries to set up a separate Environment Ministry. Prime minister Rajiv Gandhi spoke of the need to balance development and conservation in his address to the UN in 1987.


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