Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar on Friday said that even though India is historically not responsible for climate change, the country was taking steps to reduce its emissions as a responsible member of the global community, reported ANI.

“Climate change isn’t an overnight phenomenon,” Javdekar told a press briefing. “It has taken the last 100 years.”

The environment minister’s remarks came on the eve of the signing of the fifth Paris Agreement. Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries have committed to a long-term goal of limiting average temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to make efforts to limit it even further to 1.5 Celsius.

He said that historically, the United States contributed 25% of all global emissions, Europe 22%, China 13% and India only 3%. “We are in no way responsible for this climate change,” Javadekar added. “But as a responsible participant in world affairs, India chose to take part in combating climate change.”

As per the Paris Agreement, India’s emission intensity was to be reduced by 33% to 35%, the environment minister said. “We achieved 21% of this and we aim to achieve the remainder in 10 years.”

Five years ago, world leaders of 195 countries had come together and signed the Paris Accord. It was done to prevent extremities like higher sea levels, changes in weather patterns, food and water crises and other adverse effects. Under the agreement, countries are required to submit updated climate targets by the end of this year.

Javadekar said that India was one of the few countries, which have complied to the Paris Accord. “Our Nationally Determined Contribution will lead to less than 2 degree rise in temperature,” he added.

“According to the Climate Transparency Report 2020, India is the only Group of 20 country to meet its commitments,” the minister claimed. “The recent report by the United Nations Environment Plan also says that India’s emissions grew 1.4% in 2019, much lower than average of 3.3% per year over last decade.”

Javadekar added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the global climate summit on December 12, on the fifth anniversary of the landmark Paris Climate Agreement.

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