Aid against climate change may not reach India: Prabhu

Financial resources to combat climate change may not reach developing nations amid coronavirus crisis, says Suresh Prabhu

 With COVID-19 wreaking havoc on the world economy, financial resources to combat climate change may not reach developing countries like India from the developed nations responsible for high emissions, former Union minister Suresh Prabhu said on Wednesday. 

Speaking at a webinar with World Wide Fund (WWF) India CEO Ravi Singh on the topic 'Can COVID-19 lead us to re-imagine a climate resilient and sustainable future', Prabhu said climate change is a bigger phenomenon which can destroy everything if no timely action is taken. 

"Climate change is a far bigger phenomenon. It can destroy everything if not taken care of. It is dangerous and we need financial resources to act upon it. But due to the economical catastrophe now, no country would be willing to contribute or reach out to developing countries. 

"Financial resources may not come to us at all. I feel today there is an opportunity to act but monetary resources may not be available," he said.

Last year, Union Environment minister Prakash Javadekar had held the developed world responsible for much of the effects of climate change, asserting that India will not bow down to any international pressure on the issue and safeguard its own interest first.

Javadekar had blamed the developed countries for not keeping up to their commitment of providing USD 100 billion and technology transfer collectively to developing countries like India for dealing with climate change.

Prabhu, who was also the environment minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, said human action have led to climate change which has been proved during the lockdown but India was not the cause but victim of climate change.

"According to science, climate change is a human action. GreenHouse Gas emissions (GHG) are human made. The pandemic and the lockdown proved it as all human actions stopped and emissions went down." he said.

He said India has done a lot and is doing a lot to combat climate change and is not the cause of the phenomenon.

"India has done a lot and is doing a lot for combating climate change but we are not the cause of climate change but the victims of it. High emissions have been done by developed countries who are responsible for climate change. Such countries have to pay compensation for it and provide financial assistance to developing countries. It has been decided by the United Nations.

"India is doing its bit already but global efforts are the need of the hour. Local action alone cannot help," he said.

Speaking about the locust outbreak in the country and its impact on crops, Prabhu said agriculture has to be adaptive and prepared for climate change.

"Climate change is a certainty, adaptation is a necessity. Adaptation is important especially for agricultural activities. Locust or no locust, crops like wheat cannot stand temperature above two degree celsius. Agriculture needs to adapt to climate change and may bring a variety of crops adaptive to climate change. 

"Due to climate change, water will be a challenge. We need to store water naturally in ponds, lakes, rivers. According to scientists, there may be times when at one stretch there is a lot of water, and for another, no water at all. We need to restore water bodies," he added.

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